The new company is called Quickstep Composites LLC. It will operate from Quickstep’s existing North American showcase site in Dayton.

US-based director Dale Brosius has been appointed President of the US company and Australia-based CEO Philippe Odouard has been appointed as the second director.

Aerospace and defence contracts

Odouard says the establishment of a subsidiary in the USA will enable Quickstep to deal directly with the composites industry in USA, including the aerospace and defence sectors.

“With a formal US subsidiary, we are able to directly contract with prime defence contractors based in the US, including on projects subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) that restrict access to foreign nationals,” he explains. “All of the employees of Quickstep Composites LLC are US citizens, and in certain cases it will be necessary for our US operations to maintain secrecy on particular projects or obtain clearances and licenses before sharing data with Australia.”

Brosius adds that Quickstep Composites LLC company will be permitted to apply as a prime contractor for certain State of Ohio and US Federal Government funded programmes aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the US composites industry and other industries that employ advanced composites in their products, such as aerospace and automotive. It will also qualify for specific American State and local incentive programmes related to job creation.

“The objective is to successfully qualify Quickstep’s patented composites manufacturing technology – the Quickstep Process – with North American advanced composites manufacturers, and subsequently license the technology and provide equipment to meet the demand of this fast growing and important geographic market,” he says.

Quickstep specialises in the production of aerospace-grade composite components using both conventional autoclave-based manufacturing and out-of-autoclave production technologies, including its proprietary Quickstep Process.

Market potential

The formation of a US subsidiary follows the completion of an initial 3-year collaboration agreement with the National Composite Center (NCC) in Dayton, which enabled Quickstep to demonstrate its composites manufacturing process to potential customers.

“When we signed the original collaboration agreement with the National Composite Center in 2006, it was a good way to showcase the Quickstep Process within an organisation dedicated to moving technologies from the laboratory to practical demonstration," notes Odouard. "Via this partnership, we were provided floor space and support resources, as well as a mechanism for US-based companies to evaluate our technology.”

“Following the completion of this initial 3 year term, we now have ample confidence in the potential of the US market to establish a formal subsidiary and deal directly with the various tiers of the composites industry. This allows us to contract directly, either as Quickstep, or in conjunction with manufacturing partners to move the process towards full production. We are already working closely with Vector Composites Inc, a US composite component manufacturer with a focus on defence contracts. We bring the technology, and they bring the complementary manufacturing resources.”

Quickstep and Vector were recently awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the US Air Force funded up to US$4 million, aimed at qualifying the use of Quickstep’s patented out-of-autoclave curing technology to manufacture composite materials used in the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme.