CHICAGO — To enter the global market, Madison Group Polymer Processing Group in Madison, Wis., has formed a strategic alliance with a German company to develop simulation software for the plastics composites industry.
The agreement with M-Base Engineering + Software GmbH of Aachen, Germany, allows each company to market the other's software products in Europe and North America. The two mold-simulation software providers also will collaborate to create new products.
The agreement creates one of the first global alliances among molding simulation providers, said Madison Group co-owner Paul Gramann. The two companies had worked together on an unofficial basis for four years since Madison Group was founded.
``In this industry, you have to be a global player to be successful,'' Gramann said at NPE 1997 in Chicago. ``We decided to put our skills together so we could work in both Europe and the United States.''
The alliance, called the Composites PowerHouse, also includes two academic institutions that will share their plastics simulation resources: the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., where Gramann and Madison Group co-owner Bruce Davis attended, and the Aachen-based Institut Fur Kunstoffverabeitung, a plastics processing school.
As part of the alliance, Madison Group will develop thermoset-based simulation systems and M-Base will focus on thermoplastics. The companies will primarily focus on simulation packages for compression molding and work with such materials as sheet molding compounds, bulk molding compounds and glass-mat thermoplastics.
The agreement started in January but is just getting under way.
As part of the work, Madison Group has sent three engineers to Germany, while M-Base has dispatched 10 of its employees to work with employees at the Wisconsin company.
``This can lead to growth in software packages and new applications,'' said Erwin Baur of M-Base. ``That will continue the growth path we're already on.''
M-Base, a 10-year-old company, recently expanded its offices by about 1,000 square feet, Baur said. The company is known for its material database packages that can be integrated with computer-aided-engineering systems. Madison Group will market that software in North America.
Madison Group recently introduced a new, three-dimensional software program that can simulate mold flow. The start-up company was founded by Gramann and Davis upon their graduation from the University of Wisconsin. The company now has 10 employees. M-Base has 25 employees.