Quickstep wins grant for composites use in vehicle application

The $2.6 million (AUS) will be used to fund application of Quickstep's Resin Spray Technology to aircraft and automotive structures.

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Advanced materials company Quickstep Holdings Ltd. (North Coogee, Queensland, Australia) announced on June 17 that it has secured a $2.6 million (AUS) grant under the Australian Federal Government's $75 million (AUS) AusIndustry Climate Ready Program as part of a new program designed to achieve the mass production of a new generation of lightweight, low-emission vehicles — primarily aircraft and land-based vehicles.

The funds, provided over a three year period, will be used for the development and commercialization of one of Quickstep's leading-edge composite manufacturing technologies known as Resin Spray Transmission (RST). RST is focused on reducing part costs and manufacturing times by the semi and full automation of composite component production and the reduction of material and labor costs.

Targeted at the mass production of light-weight parts for the aerospace and automotive sectors, RST could expand the Quickstep curing process to higher volume, low-cost fields not normally associated with premier quality parts.

The Climate Ready Program, which is part of the Australian Federal Government's Clean Business Australia initiative, is a competitive program providing grants ranging from $50,000 to $5 million (AUS) on a matched funding basis. This, combined with tax rebates, could see up to 80 percent of the $5.2 million project being supported by the Australian federal government.

The initiative should see Quickstep participate in the global push to achieve reductions in CO2 emissions from both the aerospace and automotive sectors through light-weighting and component cost reductions needed to see the comprehensive uptake of advanced composites in vehicles.

"The benefits of using advanced composites have been known for many years, however, the traditional barriers to a more widespread adoption of these materials have been low production rates and high costs. Our RST manufacturing technology has the potential to break these barriers, which would create a paradigm shift in how all types of vehicles are designed, manufactured and ultimately perform," said Quickstep's CEO Philippe Odouard.

"In the automotive industry this could facilitate the widespread manufacture and adoption of automotive components which could be up to 70 percent lighter than conventional steel parts by removing traditional prohibitive barriers such as the high labor cost and slow cycle times needed to create composite parts," Odouard continued. "RST is the only composite technology that can be mass produced and which could deliver an A Class finish necessary in the car industry."