Sykes to adopt new technology, expand markets

Congratulations to Composites Australia members Jeff Sykes and Associates for their success in gaining funding to establish an advanced engineering laboratory at their Geelong manufacturing facility.

World-renown for their highly competitive Sykes Racing rowing boats, the company will use the $135,000 funding towards a $375,578 project adopting new technology that will expand its capabilities and commercial opportunities .

The funding is from the $29.5 million Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF) was set up in 2013, in the wake of new of job losses at Ford, and includes contributions from Ford, Alcoa, and the federal and Victorian governments.

Jeff Lawrence from Sykes told ABC News: “We believe we’ll be able to create up to 11 new jobs – a lot of engineering staff and obviously some production staff for that to occur – and we believe we’re going to have some great opportunities, as well as some upskilling of existing people that will come as a result of that.”

The company’s Director of Innovation, Matt Dingle, said: “We are building the Sykes composites engineering capability to expand our services to companies looking to develop composite products and components.

“We have seen increasing demand for our engineering design and advanced engineering design technology from both local composites companies and people looking to produce composite parts.”

Recipients in previous rounds of the GRIIF include

  • Quickstep ($1.76 m) towards a $5 m project to establish a carbon fibre composites centre for the global automotive industry at Waurn Ponds
  • Carbon Revolution ($5 m) towards a $23.8 m project to establish a manufacturing facility for the commercial-scale production of their carbon fibre wheels, also at Waun Ponds.

“These projects are excellent examples of Australian manufacturers seeing a global future through innovation with advanced composite materials and technologies,” said Composites Australia Executive Officer, Kerryn Caulfield. “The GRIFF is certainly helping grow Geelong as a hub for advanced composite manufacturing innovation and with it creating much needed jobs for the region. It is wonderful to see manufacturers getting support to drive innovation and the adoption of new technologies.”