Australian carbon-fibre parts maker Quickstep has announced two key milestones this month, confirming its first supply deal with a global carmaker, while also achieving a landmark efficiency result in a major German manufacturing project.
Quickstep made headlines in 2013 when it revealed plans for the commercialisation of its resin spray transfer (RST) technology, which it claimed at the time would “revolutionise the global automotive industry”.
The company later announced plans to set up a new automotive facility in Geelong, Victoria, as an addition to its existing aerospace facility in Bankstown, Sydney. The new facility is partly funded by a $1.76 grant through the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund, formed by Ford together with the Victorian and Federal governments.
The company is keeping mum on the specifics of its supply deal, although it has confirmed that production for a niche volume order of up to 1000 carbon-fibre engine compartment parts will commence in early 2016.
Quickstep managing director, David Marino, said that the contract is a first step in a plan to target small volume automotive projects over the next 18 months, producing between 500 to 2000 parts each.
The company has previously signed a deal to produce carbon-fibre composite components for Thales Australia’s Hawkei, a protected mobility vehicle that is set to replace a number of Land Rover vehicles used by the Australian Defence Force.
He added that the company expects to build on this niche production plan as it grows, to “increase our volume capability to secure larger projects”.
Quickstep will undoubtedly be looking to another recent achievement in drawing the interest of potential clients, with news this week that it has outperformed current industry methods for the manufacturing of niche-volume carbon-fibre vehicle parts.
Participating in a project funded by the German government, with the involvement of Audi and a consortium of industry partners, Quickstep proved that its resin spray transfer and Qure technologies can produce paintable ‘Class A’ surface composite parts more affordably than traditional autoclave processes, in volumes of up to 10,000 parts per year.
As part of the project, Quickstep produced a demonstrator roof for an Audi A1 hatch.
“The project highlighted the capability and benefits of our industry‐disruptive technologies, validating our Phase 1 automotive strategy to focus initially on lower volume opportunities,” Quickstep managing director David Marino said.
“This has assisted in securing Quickstep’s first two automotive contracts, with manufacturing expected to commence in early 2016.”