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Boeing and CSIRO use science to drive innovation

A five-year $25 million strategic research program between CSIRO and Boeing will see new innovation in space sciences, advanced materials, energy and direct manufacturing which will drive improvements and productivity in the Australian economy.

This partnership with Boeing helps CSIRO get its science from the laboratory into industry. During the 23-year partnership, CSIRO and Boeing have jointly invested about $110 million across a range of projects, including technology innovations in sustainable aviation fuels, aircraft assembly processes, fire retardants and aircraft maintenance management software.

One such example is the development of a simple and effective ‘spray on and leave on’ paint technology for aircraft which has replaced a time-consuming and laborious aircraft repainting process.

The CSIRO-Boeing technology involves applying a metal alkoxide-based surface treatment that modifies and activates an ‘aged’ paint surface, forming a strong chemical bond with the fresh paint layer.

Since June 2008, this technology has been applied to over 800 commercial aircraft including recent deliveries to both Qantas and Virgin Australia, resulting in multi-million dollar cost savings.

"This new $25 million agreement represents the next stage in what has been an extremely successful relationship between CSIRO and Boeing that has delivered real technological breakthroughs for the industry," Ian Thomas, President of Boeing Australia & South Pacific said.

"In CSIRO we see one of our most enduring and fulfilling technology partnerships. With this agreement we have the opportunity to direct the best resources and brightest talent in both organisations toward more complex challenges that will benefit the Australian aerospace industry," Thomas said.

Direct manufacturing offers dramatic savings in labour, time, materials, energy and other costs. It has the potential to deliver a ‘quantum leap’ in the manufacturing process and enable manufacturers in developed countries like Australia to compete with countries where labour costs are low.

The strong relationship with Boeing has also played a key role in the development of Boeing’s operations in Australia-most notably the decision to establish research and development laboratories in Brisbane and Melbourne.

There are now 37 scientists employed within these facilities, many of whom collaborate with CSIRO on joint projects.

[Image courtesy Boeing.]

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