CHICAGO — C-Mold has launched a major growth strategy that has led to the opening of a $1.6 million computer-aided engineering learning center and entree on a global stage in India, China and Belgium. The privately held company, based in Louisville, Ky., also introduced a new, quick-working CAE software package June 17 at NPE in Chicago (Booth E9050). The desktop simulation software, called C-Mold 3D QuickFill, can display plastic injection molding simulation results in less than 15 minutes, said C-Mold chief operating officer Peter Medina.
The software producer, which is owned by Louisville-based AC Technology North America Inc., was given a mandate by its parent company to pursue expansion opportunities, Medina said. C-Mold, which does not disclose sales figures, increased revenues by more than 30 percent in 1996, he said.
``We have a growth charter to develop new products and new markets simultaneously,'' Medina said. ``It has led to major penetration in Asia and Europe and increased exposure in this country. We expect that to be a major driver for our future growth.''
Tapping new markets for the software developer's products is a key to that growth. Later this year, C-Mold plans to open engineering, sales and customer-support offices in Shanghai, China, and at an undetermined site in India. Each office will be operated by a team of two to three people.
The 2,000-square-foot offices will allow the manufacturer to distribute its software packages in those countries and work with plastics engineers on new applications.
In March, C-Mold also opened an office in Diest, Belgium, to help penetrate the European market. Last fall, the company opened its first European office in London.
The international ventures were partly driven by company requests by telephone and over its Web site for information, Medina said. In addition, many of its current customers have sites in those regions.
``What surprised me at first were the number of engineers at local companies in India and China with personal computers,'' Medina said. ``We realized that our products fit their applications extremely well. If we only made software for workstations, we wouldn't have had the same response.''
The company also is rolling out satellite branches in the United States. In the third quarter, the firm plans to open a sales and engineering office in Chicago. In October, another sales office was started in Sterling Heights, Mich., to serve the automotive industry.
In January, C-Mold also opened its software learning center on the University of Massachusetts campus in Lowell, Mass. The center is part of the school's Institute of Polymer Innovation, which includes several injection molding presses and equipment to test rapid prototyping and tooling techniques.
The center features eight personal computers outfitted with a variety of C-Mold's CAE software and molding simulation packages. The company is using the center as a teaching tool for University of Massachusetts students and as a showcase for potential customers.
At NPE, C-Mold announced the introduction of a time-saving simulation package that can be used for the injection molding of thermoplastics. The QuickFill system eliminates the need to use finite element analysis to mesh the software to a computerized molding program. Instead, the program works with a standard stereolithography, or STL, format.
The software automatically provides answers to such concerns as suitable mold pressure, temperature and press clamping force needed to make an injection molded part.
In addition, the company introduced new animation graphics technology to simulate gas-assist molding and other software systems offering improved calculations for juncture loss and mold cooling channels.