Cluster Promotes Shift to Local, New Member Fibre-Tech Solutions

Avalon-based Fibre-Tech Solutions has just joined the Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong and says collaborating with other members will help advance a trend toward sourcing materials and manufacturing locally.

Fibre-Tech, which supplies the Department of Defence with high-quality fittings for aircraft made from lightweight, gel spun fibre, aims to use 95% Australian content. The firm works with scores of suppliers of metal, textile solutions and chemicals and has seen a growing trend to source more components and talent within in Australia.

“There is a massive shift to do this locally. There still needs to be plenty of work done but for me, the idea of becoming a part of this Cluster is helping with that,” Director Tristan Cross tells the AFCG.

“We are highly interested in the Advanced Fibre Cluster as a collaboration venture for us,” Mr Cross says. “The Geelong region is obviously growing in the advanced textiles and composites space, and we think it is doing a great job in getting all of these businesses to collaborate.”

Fibre-Tech uses lightweight fibres and textiles to solve complex problems for industry. Its lightweight equipment – quality tested in the Avalon facility – are used by Australian military platforms to solve a variety of engineering and occupational health and safety challenges.

Founded in early 2016, Mr Cross says his background is in the Grand Prix yacht racing industry in Europe.

“We brought some technology out of that industry back to Australia to make things a bit easier for aviation, aerospace, mining, civil engineering,” he explains. “We direct supply to the Department of Defence.”

He says the products are needs-driven, problem solve on a case-by-case basis and provide a turnkey package to clients.

“That is how we get our work. We will look at a problem for the client and we look at the complete package. This is not just about supplying a lightweight composite, this is about cradle to grave solutions, from concept to life cycle support to sustainment.”

Fibre-Tech sells in the UK, has projects in the US and is looking to expand more in the space industry.  The company meets strict ISO quality management system requirements of key export customers and can support local suppliers into export projects.

“We have found a bit of a niche but you must always have multiple campfires burning. It is tough but you have to have five projects in the funnel at all times,” Mr Cross says.

Being a member of AFCG will help with these ambitions by allowing expert collaboration on key projects and influencing the future of Australian manufacturing, he says.

“Advanced manufacturing is the future of jobs. Every time I spend a dollar in my supply chain I see the benefits. That is where I am going to fit in to the Cluster — I see my membership as being supportive of the Cluster and building influence for the sector,” Mr Cross says.

“I can see some of the members of this Cluster bringing their subject-matter expertise to some of our projects and I am hoping that is the same for them,” he adds.