STERLING HEIGHTS, MICH. — Michael Ladney, a pivotal figure in gas-assist injection molding, is stepping down from the operations of Gain Technologies Inc.
Gain, based in Sterling Heights, has turned over day-to-day functions to General Manager Dennis Paul and Chief Financial Officer James Teasdale. The company is one of the world's largest makers of gas-assist molding equipment.
Ladney, 81, said he will continue to work as a sales agent for Melea Ltd., a Gibraltar, Mich-based company that holds the rights to many gas-assist patents.
Ladney helped launch Gain, a forerunner of gas-assist technology, in 1985. He also owned injection molder Detroit Plastic Molding Co. for 45 years before selling the company in 1989.
Ladney has been in numerous court battles over patent rights with other equipment manufacturers. In an April 21 interview, he said molders must continue to pay licensing fees for the technology, and that he will watch for patent abuses on behalf of Melea.
Melea holds more than 150 patents worldwide, he said.
Gain will focus future efforts on developing new gas-assist applications and supporting the technology with customers, Paul said.
``Mike Ladney was instrumental in instituting gas-assist technology into the market,'' Paul said. ``We want to continue commercializing the process by taking a full-service approach.''