More than 90 per cent of the world’s high-speed aluminium ferries are fitted with CBG passive fire protection systems. CBG’s Rapid Access Composite (RAC) system helps maintain the structural integrity of ships and enables emergency evacuation in an on-board fire.
With a continuous innovation strategy, CBG wanted to expand its market by being able to insulate steel hulled ships.
CBG identified CSIRO’s Hybrid Inorganic Polymer System (HIPS) technology as an opportunity to improve RAC and commenced discussions with CSIRO about adapting HIPS for use in RAC.
The engagement was facilitated by CSIRO’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme Innovation Connections team which supported CBG to access two research project grants under the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme.
The collaborative projects with CSIRO assisted in developing a multifunctional composite material, evaluating product design compliance, and assessing commercial viability.
They also saw a CSIRO researcher spend four months at CBG, upskilling employees and assisting with the commercialisation process.
The collaboration resulted in a new fire-resistant cladding, RAC Plus, which can withstand temperatures of over 1000°C and remain structurally stronger than conventional fire protection coatings, while being 50% lighter than traditional metal cladding.
CBG received further support under the Entrepreneurs’ Programme to bring RAC Plus to market. An Accelerating Commercialisation grant assisted CBG in establishing a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Hobart, and an international launch of RAC Plus.
CBG were filling orders within two years of the first meeting and now employ six more people at the new facility.
Working with Innovation Connections and CSIRO researchers helped CBG become an advanced manufacturer of globally-competitive marine insulation products and services, and an exporter.
CBG lodged a patent application on RAC Plus and testing indicates the new and improved panels can be used on steel ships and aluminium high-speed craft. There are also potential applications in aerospace for battery enclosures, and the civil construction industry, enabling CBG to expand into new markets.