Quickstep has officially opened a new testing and manufacturing facility in Germany, which will be used to conduct manufacturing trials and development work for European aerospace groups including Eurocopter and Airbus.
The centre was officially opened on Tuesday 9 October, by Australia’s Ambassador to Germany, Mr Ian Kemish AM, at a function held on site at the EADS group facilities in Munich. A Quickstep QS20 composites production machine was successfully commissioned at the site in August.
Quickstep Managing Director, Mr Nick Noble, said the Centre represented an integral component of the Company’s strategy to qualify the Quickstep Process for use in aerospace parts manufacturing.
“Gaining access to the global aerospace industry represents Quickstep’s most important long term growth objective,” Mr Noble said. “This new facility, located inside the EADS premises in Ottobrunn, Munich, will enable Quickstep to conduct vital development work with a number of key aerospace groups that we anticipate may lead to our first large-scale aerospace manufacturing contracts in 2008.”
The first projects to be conducted at the site will involve development work carried out under the landmark Cooperation & Development Agreement (CDA) with Eurocopter, the world’s largest helicopter supplier, announced in May; as well as the manufacture of prototype parts for Airbus Deutschland GmbH – Site Laupheim, a wholly owned subsidiary of the global aerospace company, Airbus, announced in August. Both Eurocopter and Airbus are part of the EADS group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services, which in 2006 generated revenues of over €39 billion.
The CDA signed with Eurocopter in May establishes the framework for a long-term collaboration to investigate, optimise and qualify the manufacture of composites parts for the helicopter giant. Subject to success with the initial optimisation phase, the agreement lays the foundations for an industrialisation process leading to the commencement of commercial production of aerospace components using the Quickstep Process for a number of helicopter programs during 2008.
Dr Christian Weimer, Head of Production Technologies and Projects at Eurocopter, said the new German facility would enable Quickstep and Eurocopter to work closely together to further develop Quickstep’s technology, and position Eurocopter to be ‘first to market’ with its application within the global aerospace industry.
“Our initial research has underlined the significant potential for the Quickstep Process to improve performance in our products, as well as providing increased production efficiency and improved performance,” he said. “Our target is to be ready to apply the Process on future aircraft and helicopter programs as soon as possible, and this Centre will enable us to do that.”
Australia’s Ambassador to Germany, Mr Ian Kemish AM, who officiated at the opening, congratulated Quickstep on the establishment of the Centre. “This is an example of the world class technology that Australia can bring to the international community,” he said.
Quickstep’s German facility is the Company’s fourth international showcase site, with similar sites also operating at the University of Manchester in the UK, at the National Composite Center in Dayton in the US, and at the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM) in Geelong, Australia.
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