Parametric Technology Corp., known for its Pro/Engineer design software, announced Feb. 5 that its 1,000-member global sales force will sell Moldflow Corp.'s plastic design software, Part Adviser.
For Moldflow, the deal represents important progress in marketing and distribution, according to industry observers.
Moldflow of Lexington, Mass., introduced Part Adviser in June at NPE 1997. Part Adviser, which determines manufacturability by telling if the mold for a proposed part will fill properly, is intended for use early in the part-design process.
Parametric Technology of Waltham, Mass., picked Moldflow after a competitive review, but both companies have a personal link in Marc Dulude. Dulude became Moldflow's president and chief executive officer in 1996, coming from a management position at Parametric.
Dulude called having Parametric sell Part Adviser ``obviously very significant.''
The deal pairs publicly held Parametric Technology, which reported 1997 sales of $809 million, with the much-smaller Moldflow. Dulude said privately held Moldflow does not disclose sales, although a Plastics News story in 1996 said the company expected sales that year to be $20 million.
As an easy-to-use, computer-aided-design tool, Part Adviser has helped Moldflow broaden its product line to include design simulation software used by part designers. Moldflow's other products, such as MF/Shrink and MS/Warp, are computer-aided engineering aimed at plastics specialists.
Moldflow claims to have more than 1,500 customers in 40 countries.
C. Richard Harrison, Parametric's president and chief operating officer, said, ``There is a significant need for plastics simulation in mainstream design. We recognize Moldflow's long-standing position as a provider of proven plastics simulation technology and its ability to help meet this need.''
Software from Moldflow's chief rival, AC Technology North America Inc., also is compatible with Parametric's Pro/E. A spokesman from AC Technologies in Louisville, Ky., said AC is using the Internet to market its products, which can be downloaded, throughout the world. AC also has a direct sales force and uses product resellers.
But the Parametric/Moldflow announcement goes beyond compatibility, said David Weisberg, publisher of the newsletter ``Engineering Automation Report'' in Englewood, Colo. He called the deal ``a marketing coup'' that should ``provide a tremendous boost to Part Adviser's adoption within mainstream design.''
``Compatibility is not the issue. It's when things fall through the cracks,'' Weisberg said.
For example, he said, when a Part Adviser user — a designer who may not be that well-versed in computers — has a problem, he can get answers from his Pro/E representative.
``By selling Part Adviser, PTC is clearly telling customers, `Not only do we endorse Moldflow's technology and approach, we will make sure the integration is tight,''' Weisberg said.
Parametric Technology is growing quickly. Its 1997 sales of $809 million were 35 percent over 1996 sales of $600.1 million. Sales for 1995 were $394.3 million. More than half the company's sales come from outside the United States. Its fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
The company reported that sales for the first quarter of fiscal 1998, ended Jan. 3, increased 22 percent, to $223 million, from the year-earlier period. In the first quarter, the company shipped 7,838 new sets of Pro/E.
On Jan. 12, Parametric completed its merger with Computervision Corp., a software firm in Bedford, Mass.
Parametric Technology said it has sold software products to 16,500 companies.
Moldflow announced Feb. 13 that another company, Unigraphics Solutions Inc. of St. Louis, will begin reselling its Part Adviser later in the first quarter of 1998. Unigraphics was the leading reseller of the predecessor to Part Adviser, FlowCheck.