The Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong has celebrated a rise in members and $2.7 million generated in collaborative project value and research funding applications at this year’s annual meeting.
At the Royal Geelong Yacht Club on Wednesday 17 March, AFCG Chair Derek Buckmaster gave a welcome address to the AGM and looked back on a busy year of site visits and events in 2019 and 2020, prior to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Cluster, which lifts the recognition of members and promotes and develops innovation and skills, generated $1.5 million in collaborative project value and more than $1.2 million in new funding applications.
Mr Buckmaster outlined the Cluster’s objectives, including coordination and leadership, promoting the sustainability and health of the region’s advanced fibre and composite industries and their supply chains, and supporting innovation and skills growth.
He thanked AFCG directors Carl De Koning (Quickstep), Lyn George (Austeng), Jeff Lawrence (Sykes), and David Peart (Geelong Manufacturing Council) for their significant contributions to the establishment of the organisation over the 2019-2020 financial year. Two new Directors, Quickstep’s Krishna Oruganti (replacing retiring Director, Carl de Koning) and Andritz Managing Director, Mikel Dean, were unanimously elected.
Chief Executive Jennifer Conley noted the Cluster has now grown to include 23 highly motivated and capable members.
“This is an innovative group of companies showing significant growth – and huge potential – despite the impact of the past year of challenges.”Jennifer Conley | Chief Executive, Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong
“The AFCG founding member companies, including Andritz, Austeng, Carbon Revolution, Quickstep and Sykes, have each grown in employee numbers and financial sustainability in the period. Our newer members are also expanding through research and business collaboration activities,” she said.
The Cluster, which aims to grow its membership to 28, shared many business opportunities during the year and teamed up with Quickstep, Deakin and Carbon Revolution to produce an Advanced Composites Centre of Excellence Opportunity study for the Victorian Government.
New and ongoing Cluster research projects included:
- Artificial Intelligence Project with DSI Grant (Carbon Revolution, Deakin and AFCG)
- Geopolymer Bridges Project (Austeng, Deakin)
- Resin Shrinkage Project (Sykes, Carbon Revolution, Deakin)
- Recycling Fibre Waste (Andritz, Godfrey Hirst, FormFlow)
- DMTC Study into carbon fibre demand and capability for Defence
The Cluster also signed an MoU with a carbon fibre cluster in Germany, MAI Carbon, to work together on business sharing and to help solve industry challenges. Two major AFCG reports were developed in the period: “Developing A World-Class Workforce: Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong: Towards 2025”, and a submission to the Federal Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap.