Vector is the first licensee of the Quickstep Process, an out-of-autoclave polymer composite curing process, in North America.

The licensing agreement will allow Vector to develop and produce composite structural parts using the Quickstep Process for aerospace and defence customers in the North American market from its Dayton, Ohio, facility.

Initially, Vector will lease time on a Quickstep machine from Australian company Quickstep's US subsidiary Quickstep Composites LLC, located adjacent to the Vector facilities in Dayton. However the non-exclusive license agreement includes thresholds which would trigger the purchase of a Quickstep manufacturing machine by Vector, together with the payment of associated royalties and service fees consistent with Quickstep’s business model.

Vector and Quickstep were recently awarded a United States Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II programme, expected to total about US$4 million in funding over a 27-month period. Vector is the lead contractor and Quickstep is the principal subcontractor to conduct the joint research programme, which will focus on process qualification of bismaleimide and epoxy resin carbon fibre reinforced composite materials using the Quickstep Process for application to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

“Becoming a formal licensee of the Quickstep Process is an important addition to our portfolio of out-of-autoclave technologies,” says Vector Composites CEO Lyle Dunbar. “Over the past several years working closely with Quickstep, we have identified a number of advantages in the process that we can capitalise on to bring value to our current and future customers.”

Quickstep CEO and Managing Director Philippe Odouard adds: “This signing of this license agreement with Vector marks a hugely significant milestone in bringing our innovative Quickstep Process to commercial reality, especially in the strategic North American market. Our previous and current work with Vector has demonstrated the value of our technology, and we are now looking forward to contributing to Vector’s growth as they offer our technical solution to the aerospace and defence marketplace.”