New housing forms using iconic corrugated steel in bushfire zones

  • Practical solutions to the housing needs of bushfire-affected communities
  • Accelerating the translation of brilliant ideas into new applications for an established product
  • University-industry partnership creates new manufacturing jobs

An innovative new production technology applied to Bluescope corrugated steel will provide attractive, affordable, fire-rated housing solutions in bushfire zones. FormFlow was founded in 2016 by Deakin academics, Dr Matthew Dingle and Dr Matthias Weiss, with the owners of Geelong’s award-winning engineering firm Austeng, Ross and Lyn George. FormFlow is now a technology development partner of Bluescope Steel.

Hosted within Deakin University’s ManuFutures advanced manufacturing innovation and acceleration hub, the FormFlow team accessed technology and business scale up support to commercialise their idea. Together they developed an industrial-scale machine that bends corrugated steel sheets at sharp angles, while preserving structure, coating and strength. Applying the mathematical principles of origami, the result is a seamless, airtight structure, eliminating seams and capping, with six-star energy efficiency and enhanced fire resistance.

Students and academics from Deakin University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment have designed attractive, affordable modular homes using FormFlow. The company has a contract to supply transitional accommodation for homeless people and is now fielding many inquiries from bushfre ravaged communities, where individuals needing to rebuild are desperately seeking affordable homes that comply with new fire ratings.

With staff numbers expected to double to cope with demand, FormFlow’s team of 12 has outgrown its location at ManuFutures and will move into new premises in North Geelong later in 2020.