Quickstep Holdings Limited (Perth, Western Australia) has announced that its patent application No. 10/204938 in the United States covering the "melding"aspect of the Quickstep Process for composites manufacture has been awarded.
The company says this represents a significant development in securing international protection for Quickstep's technology, with North America representing a core target market for the commercialisation of the Quickstep Process as the world's largest composites manufacturing industry.
"Melding"is one of the most important features of Quickstep's technology, allowing multiple composite components to be effectively 'melted and welded' together without the use of adhesives, bolts or rivets. The resultant structure has no physical difference or separating surface between the two joined parts and is homogeneous with the surrounding composite creating a new integrated part. As a result, the process confers greater flexibility of design and potentially greatly reduced processing costs for the manufacturer. No other high temperature curing process has the ability to cure and leave sections of the part uncured for later curing/melding.
Melding, developed by Neil Graham for Quickstep, has attracted international interest from some of the world's leading aircraft and aerospace companies.
Quickstep's CEO, Nick Noble, said patent protection for the melding aspect of the Quickstep Process in the U.S. represented an important expansion of the Company's intellectual property portfolio.
"If melding can be developed to its fullest potential there could be opportunities for Quickstep's Melding process to create integrated structures such as aircraft wings, bridges or cars with no secondary bonding or additional fasteners.â€
"North America has the world's largest aerospace manufacturing sector, as well as being the largest global producer of composite materials,"he said. "This patent will ensure we have commercially effective patent protection in place.â€
Quickstep has been working with a number of key North American companies through its 'North American Quickstep Center of Excellence' located at Dayton, Ohio, including development work for a number of aerospace groups.
The patent application covering the "melding"production process was formally granted by the Australian Patent Office in 2006 and is now in force in Australia, and the equivalent patent has also been issued in China. Corresponding patent applications have been made and are currently undergoing examination in Europe, South Korea, Brazil and Israel, while a patent application has also been made in Japan and is awaiting examination.