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Quickstep steps up the pressure as giant new autoclaves roll into Fremantle

International advanced composites group Quickstep Holdings Limited (ASX: QHL – "Quickstep") is set to make Western Australia a new hub for advanced aerospace manufacturing, with preparations at the Company's North Coogee headquarters gathering momentum with the installation of three massive new autoclaves recently delivered from the US.  

The autoclaves – large pressurised chambers which are used to cure advanced 'composite' components including aircraft parts – will form an integral part of Quickstep's manufacturing facility, which is expected to be ready for full scale aerospace manufacturing by early March this year.  

Quickstep is installing two 8 by 3 metre and one 5 by 2.5 metre autoclaves along with a Breton 5 axis NC milling machine as part of its $10 million production preparation plan. The Breton milling machine is one of the most precise 5-Axis milling machine in Australia and can mill very large aerospace parts. It is the only one of its kind in the West.  

Managing Director of Quickstep, Mr Philippe Odouard, said the North Coogee facility will be one of the most advanced aerospace manufacturing sites in the Southern Hemisphere and the second biggest in Australia.  

"Our aim is to offer a fully integrated aerospace-grade composites manufacturing facility, which provides customers with access to both traditional manufacturing technologies – such as autoclaves – alongside Quickstep's unique patented composites manufacturing technology," he said.  

The patented 'Quickstep Process' for composites manufacture offers a fast and cheaper alternative to traditional technologies for the manufacture of certain types of composite components.  The technology was developed by local Perth residents, Deryck and Neil Graham, and uses heated fluids to cure composite parts.  

"The Quickstep Process has the potential to revolutionise composites manufacturing and make advanced composites more accessible to a wider variety of industries," Mr Odouard said.  "Our new manufacturing facility in North Coogee will allow us to implement the efficiencies of the Quickstep Process for our customers, while also providing them with access to traditional manufacturing technologies."  

In preparation for the move to full scale aerospace manufacturing, Quickstep has assembled a world-class team of aerospace engineers, many of whom have relocated to Western Australia from overseas to work with and develop Quickstep's technology.  

"We have been very fortunate to have attracted some outstanding international aerospace employees, many of whom have joined us from the global aerospace group, Airbus," Mr Odouard commented.  "Our ability to attract employees of this calibre is I think testament to the significant excitement surrounding the Quickstep Process."  

The facility is in the last stages of accreditation to the AS9100 quality standard. The audit allowing production of sophisticated aerospace part will be finalised early March 2009.

In preparation for the completion of the manufacturing facility, Quickstep is already targeting manufacturing contracts and has recently gained accreditation as an approved tenderer from two major aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM's).  The Company will also be focusing on manufacturing opportunities identified through contract offset liabilities – contracts which specify that some manufacturing be completed in Australia.

Press release issued by Quickstep Holdings Ltd. on January 12, 2009


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Quickstep Holdings Ltd. Aircraft Doors, Fuselage Sections, Subcontracted Composite Parts, Composite Design Consultants, Composite Manufacturing Services, Empennages, Wing Flaps, Carbon-reinforced Composites, Foam Core Composites, Laminates, Ultrasonic Testing


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