The inventor of the IntelliMold closed-loop injection molding monitoring system has bought back his business.
Milko Guergov, who sold IntelliMold to Textron Automotive Co. Inc. in 2000, bought it back from Collins & Aikman Corp. - which purchased Textron's trim division in 2001 - late last year.
Now under his Ann Arbor, Mich.-based MGV Enterprises LLC, Guergov is offering IntelliMold to a variety of customers again.
``It's available to everybody, automotive and nonautomotive,'' Guergov said during a March 22 interview at the Society of the Plastics Industry's Structural Plastics Division conference in Lake Buena Vista.
Guergov has re-established a polymer laboratory at MGV, installed new equipment including an Engel injection molding press for testing and is hiring new staff. He even has tweaked IntelliMold with more sensors that can boost performance in the press, he said.
IntelliMold monitors and controls melt pressure and temperatures inside the mold to present optimal operating conditions for any resin. The system can be retrofit onto existing machines, but MGV also has new agreements with machinery makers Husky, Engel, Demag and Milacron to offer it as an option integrated directly on new presses.
Guergov's purchase - for an undisclosed price - returns everything related to IntelliMold to him, including patents, promotional material and even the Society of Plastics Engineers award given to the process in 2000 when it was Textron's.
Operations specialists within Textron had touted the system's abilities to improve injection molding, cutting scrap and overall costs, allowing the company to get more out of existing equipment. IntelliMold expanded into Collins & Aikman operations following that firm's acquisition of the Textron unit, but interest has fallen off in the past few years.
David Stockman, C&A's chairman, noted soon after taking over as chief executive officer in 2003 that he saw a more-limited use for the system than his predecessors had.
Guergov maintains the controls are more important than ever. With material costs increasing, molders cannot afford to make any bad parts. Molders trying new material formulations to cut expenses also must bear with minor changes in additives that can change the way the plastics will flow and respond in the mold.
``Fifty milliseconds is too long to go without monitoring what is going on,'' he said.