A new contract will see one of Australia’s largest rail freight businesses explore the feasibility of upgrading its transport system using lightweight composite material.
Advanced material technology company, Matrix Composites & Engineering (Matrix), has announced on ASX that it will be developing and manufacturing four prototype advanced composite bulk transport systems for Pacific National, with the possibility of extending the order to 110 units if the prototypes are successful.
The contract, valued at $2.4 million, will see Matrix leverage its advanced material technologies to design a lightweight composite structure for Pacific National.
Matrix will manufacture the prototypes at its Henderson facility, with initial stage expected to be completed in the second half of 2019. A second stage to manufacture 110 units is planned, subject to successful commercialisation assessment of the prototypes.
Matrix CEO Aaron Begley said the contract was a major step towards what could become a large scale manufacturing project for the company.
“The contract is perfectly in line with our strategy to combine Matrix’s proven capabilities in advanced materials with out state of the art composite manufacturing facility to develop lightweight composite structures for the large and growing transportation market here in Australia and overseas,” Begley said.
“The composite material being used to manufacture the product are lightweight, rigid, and have fabrication advantages compared to traditional materials such as steel, resulting in structures that significantly increase freight load capacity of bulk transportation,” he said.
He said his company is in discussion with other major bulk transport and freight transport companies to upgrade their fleet to lightweight alternatives.
Under the contract, Matrix has been awarded a 20-year licence to market the product to other potential Australian customers and the potential to extend this internationally.