Quickstep is undertaking the move to secure a large scale manufacturing facility to support its contract for international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, as well as to access the skilled aerospace workforce in New South Wales.

The new facility at Bankstown Airport was previously operated by Boeing, which retains facilities surrounding the Quickstep building. The current Bankstown Quickstep facilities comprise two buildings – a 1250 m2 office building and a 3500 m2 main hangar, which will be extended to 4000 m2.

Quickstep's relocation will occur in two phases – the composite curing phase and the precision machining phase. This is designed to ensure that the timeframe for the JSF component delivery is met.

Construction for the composite curing plant is scheduled for completion in October 2011. Quickstep already has permanent staff at the Bankstown facility.

The precision machining phase will run from November 2011 to first quarter 2012. The main proportion of the equipment required for this phase is on site.

Qualification of the facility will start in mid-October and continue until the end of 2012.

Quickstep’s relocation programme has also been strengthened by the recent appointment of Michael Schramko as Operations Manager. Schramko has 20 years’ experience in aeronautical engineering and composite manufacturing and previously worked as Operations Manager for Boeing Aerostructures Australia in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Schramko will oversee current operations in North Coogee, as well as managing the transfer of manufacturing operations to Bankstown prior to relocating to NSW permanently.

Aerospace network

“The Bankstown premise is much larger than our existing facility in Western Australia, has considerable scope for expansion and offers the added benefit of a long term lease – which is an absolute requirement in our securing JSF contracts as well as new work we are continuing to pursue," says Quickstep Managing Director Philippe Odouard

“By moving to New South Wales, Quickstep gains access to an existing workforce of highly skilled aerospace technicians that would simply not be available to us at our existing facility,” he adds. “This ready-made team, together with the extensive network of suppliers located in NSW and on the east coast of Australia, provides Quickstep with the foundations required to deliver large-scale aerospace and defence programmes.”

The company intends to maintain operations at its existing facility in North Coogee, Western Australia, until the Bankstown facility is fully operational.

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.