WELLESLEY, MASS. - Moldflow International Pty. Ltd. is relocating from Connecticut to the high-tech corridor circling Boston called Route 128, said Marc Dulude, new president and chief executive officer. Moldflow itself stands at a crossroads as it tries to move beyond computer-aided engineering software to become a full-service supplier of machine controls, starting with the Intelligent Process Control introduced at the K'95 show in Germany last year. Moldflow also wants to get into computer-aided design, Dulude revealed in an Aug. 6 interview in the Wellesley offices of one of its owners, Ampersand Ventures.
Two days later, Moldflow's status as a force in CAE was validated when it announced Moldflow CAE software for injection molding will be embedded in the I-Deas Master Series of CAD/CAM/ CAE software made by Structural Dynamics Research Corp., replacing a system made by SDRC. The initial Moldflow/SDRC product will consist of Moldflow flow and cooling analysis.
``What we see are two growth vehicles, one going down to the manufacturing shop floor, the other one going up to the designer's work space,'' Dulude said. ``If we can extend into those two spaces as aggressively as our plans call for, growth will not be the problem. It will be managing the growth that will be the problem.''
Dulude, a 36-year-old Canadian, joined Moldflow in May, leaving Parametric Technology Corp. - best known to plastics companies as the maker of Pro/Engineer CAD software. He is counting on the new control and CAD areas, combined with further penetration of CAE in the plastics industry worldwide, to ratchet up growth before Moldflow goes public through a Nasdaq listing.
Expertise in taking Moldflow public will come from Ampersand Ventures, a venture capital firm that bought into Moldflow last November. But Dulude said there is no rush.
``A few years is what we're thinking about - two to three years,'' he said.
Right now, Dulude is focusing on strategy, compiling market data and finding a location in Boston. The move of Moldflow's U.S. offices from Shelton, Conn., to Boston should happen by year's end. An executive search firm recruited Dulude from Parametric, another Route 128 company in Waltham, Mass.
CAE enables a computer to predict how plastic behaves - how it will flow through a mold, how the mold will cool or how the part will warp. With expected 1996 sales of $20 million, Moldflow claims to be, by far, the plastics industry's largest supplier of CAE software.
Even so, Moldflow and its main competitor, AC Technology North America Inc., are little-known outside of plastics circles. CAD and machinery process controls get lots of coverage from analysts because they are larger and have publicly owned players.
That is not the case for the small world of plastics CAE suppliers. One of the first tasks Dulude faces is simply defining the industry.
Asked how big the plastics CAE market is, Dulude said: ``Frankly, I'm in the midst of trying to assemble that myself. There isn't an independent, third-party group'' that studies CAE in plastics.
For several years, Moldflow has been claiming an 80 percent share of the market - a boast that makes AC Technologies' executives chafe.
``I myself don't even believe the 80 percent number,'' Dulude admitted.
Although the market share number is less than that, Dulude said that Moldflow, which pioneered CAE software for injection molding in 1978, remains well ahead of AC Technology. A group of Cornell University professors in Ithaca, N.Y., founded AT Technology's parent, Advanced CAE Technology Inc., in 1986.
Peter Medina, president of AC Technology in Louisville, Ky., declined to comment.
Moldflow was founded in Melbourne, Australia, by Colin Austin, an Australian plastics consultant. In the past 18 years, the company has developed flow-analysis software and three-dimensional graphics that show flow analysis, shrinkage and warpage, cavity-sizing analysis and fiber-orientation prediction. Moldflow also can predict gas-assisted injection molding results. An automatic midplane mesh generator creates meshed solid models. The company claims more than 1,200 customers in 46 countries.
Austin sold the company to an Australian investment syndicate led by J.T. Campbell & Co. Ltd., an Australian bank.
Today, the Australian group owns 50 percent of Moldflow. Ampersand Ventures owns 25 percent. Senior Moldflow executives own 15 percent. The remaining 10 percent is owned by Nomura/ Jafco Investments (Asia) Pty. Ltd. of Japan.
Moldflow had considered selling stock in exchanges in Australia and other countries, before deciding on a U.S. listing with Nasdaq. It brought in Ampersand, which, in turn, helped find Dulude.
In May, Moldflow named David Austin as Melbourne-based chief operating officer, a newly created position. Dulude's predecessor as CEO, Hugh Henderson, also worked in Australia.
Dulude and Austin both own shares in the company.
Keeping Dulude in the United States means Moldflow is running headquarters in both countries. While it poses some operational problems - executives are forced to endure brutal flights across 15 time zones - Dulude said there is really no alternative. ``We have a very significant critical mass of resources already established in our Australia office,'' he said.