German carbon fibre and advanced composites manufacturer, Quickstep Holdings have announced they will invest A$13.9 million in their research and development and process functions, based in Geelong.
The company will create 20 new jobs through the establishment of its Global Technology and R&D centre at Deakin University in Waurn Ponds, approximate one hour south-west of Melbourne. It will operate alongside its new Automotive division at the University's Geelong Technology Precinct .
The new R&D facility will leverage equipment and expertise from other Geelong Technology Precinct tenants including Carbon Nexus, the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR), the Institute for Frontier Materials and the Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre.
The Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said, "Securing Quickstep's R&D operations confirms our reputation as a global leader and as a state ready to attract and accept investment from across our region."
Quickstep aims to make Geelong its automotive composites solutions centre and is also developing capability to be part of the defence industry supply chain, working with a range of businesses. Quickstep has recently secured a niche volume order to produce a series of up to 1000 lightweight carbon fibre engine compartment parts for a global vehicle manufacturer, with production expected to begin in early 2016.
The investment was facilitated by the Victorian government through its investment promotion agency, Invest Victoria, which helped build the business case regarding the on shoring of Quickstep's R&D processes in Victoria.
Quickstep's managing director, David Marino, said, "Establishment of our global R&D centre is a strategic step which expedites development of Quickstep's technology and intellectual property in Australia. We are 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."
"Quickstep will benefit from access to Deakin University's 'carbon cluster' with its skilled researchers, laboratories and industry networks, close working relationships with partnered research institutions and potential customers."
The move reinforces Victoria's reputation and a growing centre for carbon fibre and advanced manufacturing. The growth of Australia's advanced manufacturing sector is developing innovative more cost-effective ways than traditional manufacturing methods and advanced manufacturing will be critical to the nation's future economic success.