Vector Composites and Quickstep Composites have signed a strategic teaming agreement to jointly promote the Quickstep Process for system applications and customers in the aerospace and defence industries of North America.
The Quickstep Process is an Out-Of-Autoclave polymer composite curing process using low cost material technologies for the high speed manufacture of advanced composite, bonded metal, and fibre metal laminated structural components.
Vector and Quickstep will collaborate to create business opportunities in funded research and development (R&D), prototype development and demonstration of advanced composite structural components, and aerospace production programs. The activities will include joint presentations to potential customers and participation at industry trade shows, plus development of comparative material properties via the Quickstep Process for comparison to other processes, leading to prototype and commercial production contracts.
The teaming agreement resulted from Vector and Quicksteps success in winning a major United States Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II program, expected to total about US$4 million in funding over a 27-month period. Vector is the lead contractor and Quickstep is the principal subcontractor to conduct the joint research program, which will focus on process qualification of bismaleimide and epoxy resin carbon fiber reinforced composite materials using the Quickstep Process for application to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Industrial partners supporting the research program include Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and ITT Integrated Structures.
Vector has also recently been granted a license to use the Quickstep Process in North America for aerospace and defense production applications, which will ultimately result in the purchase of a Quickstep production machine and associated services.
Commenting on the teaming agreement, Dale Brosius, President of Quickstep Composites and a Director of its Australian parent company Quickstep Holdings Ltd, said:
Based on our close working relationship with Vector, and the increasing range of opportunities to demonstrate and commercialize the Quickstep Process in the U.S. and Canada, we are excited to formalize our collaboration. Not only will the two companies work together on curing of traditional autoclave qualified and new out-of-autoclave prepregs, we will also advance the pairing of the Quickstep Process with infusion technologies brought forward by Vector.
Vector CEO Lyle Dunbar further commented: We are very pleased to be the first licensee of the Quickstep Process in North America, and now have several years of experience and understanding of how it fits within our manufacturing portfolio. We have the capability to offer customers interested in Quickstep a complete solution, from part and tooling design through to serial production in our AS9100-certified Dayton facility.
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