DaimlerChrysler racks it up in Australia

DaimlerChrysler has acquired 30% of the shares in Australian-based Bishop Technology Group, the outfit that invented the variable ratio steering rack.

DaimlerChrysler has acquired 30% of the shares in Australian-based Bishop Technology Group. The shares were purchased from the company’s founder Dr Arthur Bishop, inventor of the variable ratio steering rack.

The Bishop Technology Group, comprising three unlisted public companies, last year had revenue of $A45million from 350 patents held in 17 countries.

The new relationship with DaimlerChrysler will provide not only an injection of funds into the Bishop business, but the opportunity to work jointly on developing other projects related to the automotive industry, including Bishop’s Warm Forging and Torque and Angle Sensor technology.

In September 2000, Bishop Steering Technology signed a multi-million dollar licensing agreement with Germany’s Robert Bosch to manufacture elements of the patented Bishop Torque and Angle Sensor (BTAS). The technology will play a key role in the introduction of electric steering for passenger vehicles, which is set to replace the more traditional hydraulic steering over the next decade. The technology should debut on European-produced vehicles in 2004.

By 2006 around two million BTAS units are expected to be in production annually, with production continuing to rise.

This new relationship with DaimlerChrysler has evolved from a joint venture between Bishop Steering Technology and Mercedes-Benz Steering for manufacture of warm forged steering racks for automotive steering gears.

‘The joint venture agreement signed with Mercedes-Benz Lenkungen in July 1998, offered significant opportunity for Australian designed and owned steering technology to increase its presence in world vehicle manufacture,’ said Bishop Technology Group managing director Bruce Grey.

Twenty percent of passenger cars produced around the world each year incorporate some element of Bishop steering technology. Bishop aims to increase its penetration to 50% over the next ten years.

BMB Steering Innovation GmbH (the joint venture company) commenced production in October 1999 at a rate of 840,000 racks per year and will rise to 2.4 million by 2005.