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Quickstep brings Germany to Geelong
Carbon-fibre specialist relocates German operations to Deakin University campus
14 Aug 2015
By IAN PORTER
CARBON-fibre specialist Quickstep Holdings has centralised its research and development at the Geelong campus of Deakin University, where it is building its first automotive parts factory.
The move will increase the mass of Deakin’s “carbon cluster” on its Waurn Ponds campus, which includes wheel maker Carbon Revolution, fibre specialist Carbon Nexus and a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) polymer development lab.
Quickstep will relocate its aerospace research operations from Sydney and the automotive research effort that had previously been located in Munich, Germany.
The Munich operation had been used to support Quickstep’s participation in a German government-funded program that included close cooperation with Audi.
The recently released results of the program showed that Quickstep’s technology could produce paintable Class A surfaces at a lower cost than the autoclave process in volumes of up to 10,000 a year.
The program developed a one-piece roof panel for the Audi A1 hatch that required no additional strengthening.
Quickstep relocated the Munich research operation to Geelong with assistance from the Victorian government.
“Establishment of our global R&D centre is a strategic step which expedites development of Quickstep’s technology and intellectual property in Australia,” said Quickstep managing director David Marino.
“Quickstep will benefit from access to Deakin’s 'carbon cluster' with its skilled researchers, laboratories and industry networks, close working relationships with partnered research institutions and potential customers.”
Quickstep has developed its patented Qure process for moulding and curing carbon-fibre composite parts in niche volumes.
The Munich research helped develop the RapidQure process, a fully automated, high-volume manufacturing system for automotive products.
Both processes are suitable for the production of flat parts such as ailerons for planes and door skins or bonnets for cars.
“These are disruptive technologies which can significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing carbon-fibre components,” Mr Marino said.
The new Quickstep factory already under construction will be used to fulfil the company’s first automotive contract, the supply of up to 1000 under-bonnet parts starting in the first quarter of 2016.
The factory received a $1.76 million grant from the Geelong Regional Innovation and Investment Fund, which was created with money from Ford Australia and the federal and state governments.
Speaking about the new R&D centre, Deakin vice-chancellor Jane den Hollander said it would enhance Deakin’s regional capacity and capability by bringing another carbon-based technology company into the precinct.
“Deakin is proud of its growing global reputation in working with industry and actively supporting industry growth and this move is a critical boost for job creation, industry engagement and development in the Geelong region.”
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