A Garden Grove, Calif., supplier of material databases has struck a distribution deal with Autodesk Inc., introduced an Internet version of its CD-ROM product and changed the company's name. ``We have doubled sales every year for the past four years,'' said Chris Nunez, chairman and chief technical officer of CenTor Corp., known until March as Information Indexing Inc.
The databases cover polymers, ceramics, metals, resin-preimpregnated-fibers and standards data. In the future, they will include mechanical components such as bearings, fasteners, fittings and valves.
Software provider Autodesk of San Rafael, Calif., agreed in March to bundle the CenBase materials CD-ROM with each copy of its new Autodesk mechanical desktop computer-assisted-development software package.
``Our Web site has a searchable database of 30,000 materials including 20,000 polymer resin grades,'' Nunez said.
The http://www.centor.com site uses the CenWare Web search engine running on the WebForce system of Mountain View, Calif.-based Silicon Graphics Inc.
CenTor formats the data in its own hypermedia-optimized re-trieval format. HMorf is CenTor's proposed extension to today's Internet standard known as hypertext mark-up language.
``We suggest extending HTML to include more capabilities and have submitted [HMorf] to the Internet community,'' Nunez said.
Silicon Graphics, a leading Unix workstation manufacturer, and CenTor launched the site in November as a part of the SiliconWorks site at http://www.-sgi.com/works.
CenTor launched its Internet version on a no-charge basis in January.
``We went from zero to 60,000 hits a month in four months,'' Nunez said.
In April, the company began charging $99 for a one-year subscription offering full Internet access to any user with a Web browser such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Explorer. The CD-ROM version costs $395.
An outside telemarketing firm sells the products in the United States, and CenTor has established a partnership with CJP Technology in Tokyo to market products in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.
In addition to the Autodesk arrangement, CenTor has formed strategic partnerships with computer-aided design and engineering software companies such as Structural Dynamics Research Corp. of Milford, Ohio, and MacNeal-Schwendler Corp. and Structural Research and Analysis Corp., both of Los Angeles.
``We are a small company with big companies selling our products,'' Nunez said.
Engineers need access to current information the same as lawyers, Nunez explained.
``We are bridging the gap and integrating materials and product selection into the design process. CAD software companies don't want to be in a position of publishing information.''
The company issues quarterly CD-ROM updates to subscribers and, for a fee, has begun building Internet sites for manufacturers' product catalogs and designing software. CenTor is talking with Dow Chemical Co. and Ford Motor Co. about adopting CenWare and HMorf as standard tools for their internal intranets, Nunez said.
CenTor is a competitor in a niche with Integrated Design Engineering Systems Inc. of Laramie, Wyo., and the international plastics selector product group of Information Handling Services Inc.'s Data Business Publishing unit of Englewood, Colo.
Nunez founded Information Indexing Inc. in 1988 and, more recently, established a board of outside directors with financial and software experience. A major task: help locate private sources for additional funding to support CenTor's projected growth.
CenTor employs 15, up from five a year earlier, and occupies 5,000 square feet of office space. The founder's brother, Robert Nunez, oversees the editorial team that manages the database.