Deakin’s ‘carbon cluster’ will gain a major boost with Quickstep’s high tech centre.

Australia’s largest independent manufacturer of carbon fibre composites, Quickstep Holdings, has announced the establishment of an Automotive Division and global research and development centre at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus.

Deakin is providing space to accommodate the Automotive Division and R&D centre under lease arrangements and is now Quickstep’s principal research provider.

The move will consolidate Deakin’s position as Australia’s carbon fibre R&D hub and provide Quickstep with access to Deakin’s ‘carbon cluster,’ with its skilled researchers, laboratories and industry networks. It will also enable Quickstep and Deakin to jointly pursue a broader range of funding opportunities.

In making the announcement at Waurn Ponds, the Minister for Regional Development, the Hon Jaala Pulford, said that Quickstep was relocating its automotive R&D activities from Munich, Germany.

“This is a huge boost for Geelong,” Minister Pulford said.

“It will result in at least 20 new jobs for Geelong, and they are the jobs we are chasing – high skill, high wage and sustainable.”

Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, said the university was delighted to be strengthening its collaboration with Quickstep.

“The establishment of the Quickstep Automotive division and the global R&D centre at our Waurn Ponds campus further enhances our regional capacity and capability by introducing another carbon-based technology company into the precinct,” said Professor den Hollander.

“Deakin is proud of its growing global reputation in working with industry and actively supporting industry growth and this move is a critical boost for job creation, industry engagement and development in the Geelong region.”

The new R&D centre will manage development of all Quickstep technologies and intellectual property, supporting the company’s automotive facilities in Australia and Germany.

The company is producing disruptive technologies that are set to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing carbon-fibre components for its growing number of global customers.

Technology that will be fast tracked through the centre includes Quickstep’s patented Qure process for moulding and curing carbon fibre composite parts in niche volumes, and RapidQure, a fully automated high-volume manufacturing system for the automotive industry.

Quickstep Holdings Chairman, Mr Tony Quick, said that when the company decided to separate its automotive and aerospace activities, which are based at Bankstown Airport in NSW, Geelong was “the logical place” – given that the relationship with Deakin extended to Quickstep’s genesis 15 years ago.

“The Quickstep process has Deakin genes in it,” he said.

“Without Deakin, we wouldn’t be here. Geelong and Deakin have the technical capability and the people with automotive skills that we can build on.”

Quickstep’s Managing Director, David Marino, added that Quickstep was “grateful for the support of Invest Victoria, which joins the Australian government and Ford Australia in helping to progress the establishment of our high-tech automotive and research centre at Waurn Ponds.”

Invest Victoria is the Victorian Government’s investment promotion arm and is providing a grant totalling up to $310,000 over a four-year period.

This funding is in addition to the $1.76 million grant provided by the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF), an initiative funded by the Federal and Victorian Governments and Ford Australia, announced in November 2014.