Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. will pay $7 million to buy Moldflow Corp.'s Manufacturing Solutions Division, which includes hot-runner temperature controllers and software for production and process monitoring, in a deal announced June 25.
Husky, the Bolton, Ontario-based maker of injection molding machines, robots and hot runners, expected the deal to close June 30.
Husky will continue to offer the Moldflow products to all plastics processors, not just owners of Husky machinery, said Keith Carlton, Husky's vice president of hot runners and PET molds. ``We're open to anybody's machine. Just as our hot runners go into any competitive machine out there, we hold the same for those products,'' he said.
Husky will offer customers Altanium hot-runner temperature controls, Celltrack production-monitoring software and Shotscope process-monitoring software.
Husky also will offer MPX, Moldflow's Plastics Xpert, under a license from Moldflow. The license is nonexclusive, meaning others also can take out an MPX license, and Moldflow will retain the software and continue to improve MPX, officials from both companies said.
MPX links data from Moldflow's original mold filling simulation software to the controller of an injection molding machine to create an automated process setup and optimization tool.
During a transition period, Husky also will continue to sell its current line of LEC and TTC hot-runner controllers.
The sale means Moldflow is pulling back from its move into shop-floor products and returning to its roots in computer-aided-engineering software that simulates how plastic flows into an injection mold. Moldflow officials had announced the change in strategy on May 10, when the Framingham, Mass., company said it wanted to sell the division.
``It's a little bit of back to the future for us,'' said Roland Thomas, Moldflow's president and chief executive officer.
With products such as Part Adviser and Plastics Insight, Moldflow played a key role in promoting CAE software to design plastic parts and molds - an idea that gained traction as personal computers became more powerful. Then Moldflow adopted an ambitious plan to create a companywide manufacturing platform.
Moldflow went public in 2000 on Nasdaq, using the proceeds to buy a competitor, C-Mold, and to fund expansion and future acquisitions. Moldflow steadily expanded into other products based on data generated by its CAE software. In 2004, the company picked up hot-runner temperature controls by acquiring American MSI Corp. Before that, Moldflow had expanded into plantwide monitoring by purchasing Branden Technologies Inc., and production monitoring by buying a French firm, Controle Processus Industriels.
But Thomas said it turned out to be difficult for a software company to move downstream onto the shop floor. While it's fairly simple to connect up electronic devices in an office setting, he said this is much harder in the factory, and requires more customization.
``What we ran into is, not that the technology wasn't valuable on the shop floor, but our ability to create a platform in the factory to take advantage of these products was ultimately more than we were willing to invest in,'' Thomas said.
Moldflow did want to retain Moldflow Plastics Xpert. ``We look at MPX as our bridge between design and manufacturing,'' Thomas said. ``It's tightly integrated with our computer-aided-engineering products.''
Moldflow will continue to be a major software developer, Thomas said. He added Husky is a good home for the Manufacturing Solutions Division.
``I believe that Husky is a strategic owner with the global infrastructure, expertise and focus needed to take our Altanium and shop-floor products to the next level,'' he said.
Carlton, of Husky, said the Moldflow offerings will beef up his company's service operations. They fit with Husky's factory monitoring and scheduling system for injection molding, SmartLink, and the Predictive Maintenance program, he said.
Carlton said the deal brings Husky ``an experienced team, a wealth of technology expertise and a highly complementary set of innovative products.''