Quickstep earns $1.76m grant, will create automotive division, 30 Geelong jobs

Carbon
composites technology company Quickstep has received a $1.76 million grant, which it will
use to create an automotive division headquartered at Geelong.

The listed
company Quickstep Holdings Ltd received the grant under the Geelong Region
Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF), an initiative of the federal and
Victorian governments and Ford Australia.

According to the company, 30 new jobs will be created through the
project, which is budgeted at $5.6 million up to June 2017.

Quickstep
aims to make auto manufacturing cells that use its Quickstep and Resin Spray Transfer processes. The facility will also perform prototyping and short-run,
initial production for clients.

“This grant will make an
important contribution to enable us to build a strong automotive culture and propel
Quickstep further into the global automotive market,” said the company’s executive
chairman, Tony Quick.

The
automotive division will be co-located with Deakin University and associated with the university’s Carbon Nexus facility, officially opened in May this year
and located at the Waurn Ponds campus. Quickstep has partnered with Deakin for
R&D for over a decade.

“Deakin has established Carbon
Nexus, our open access pilot carbon fibre manufacturing line and research
facility, with the aim of developing exactly this kind of working relationship
with companies like Quickstep to help create the jobs of the future, for
Geelong and Australia,” said Deakin University Deputy Vice‐Chancellor
(Research) Professor Lee Astheimer.

Quickstep’s core business is in aerospace. It has  developed a RST method which has
been used to create automotive panels, offering a significant weight reduction compared to steel.

Quickstep’s robotised RST process offers
quick turnovers, parts half the weight of their steel equivalents, and a
high-quality surface finish, according to the company.

Waurn Ponds is also home to Carbon Revolutionwhich manufactures high-end one-piece carbon fibre car wheels. Carbon
Revolution was the first recipient of a GRIIF grant, worth $5 million.

The $29.5
GRIIF program was announced in the wake of Ford’s announcement last year that
it will cease its Australian manufacturing operations. It is aimed at lessening
the impact of the car-maker’s departure in 2016.

There are hopes that carbon fibre-based manufacturing will help assist Geelong’s transition.

Image: http://www.caradvice.com.au/