New Owner to Help Synventive Reach Goals in Its Five-Year Growth Plan

Synventive Molding Solutions,a world-leading designer, manufacturer, and supplier of custom process-improvement systems and related components for the injection moulding industry, has been acquired by Advent International, a global private equity investment company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Purchasing the company from Madison Capital Partners, Advent International will support Synventive in its five-year growth plan by providing financial and strategic resources to enable it to grow both organically and through possible acquisitions.

Synventive has multinational headquarters and factories in the United States and the Netherlands, with additional manufacturing facilities in China and Germany. The company employs more than 550 people worldwide and has a global network of sales offices that provide sales and service to customers in more than 50 countries.

The acquisition by Advent International is expected to enhance Synventive’s long-term value by allowing it to continue to focus intensely on customer needs and product innovation in its core specialty of hot runner control technology.

“Synventive will continue with its current strategy, which is to become the supplier of first choice to the plastic injection molding industry,” said Synventive president and CEO Dale Barnhart. Efforts to develop new products, shorten delivery cycles, improve product quality, and seek ways to increase the value of its systems to plastic-injection moulders will be paramount, Barnhart added. “Just as important, we will also continue to enhance our sales, application engineering, and postsales service support.”

Synventive will continue to expand its geographic reach. The latest example of this intention is the new facility the company opened in China, which began production in August.

Enterprise Planning Software Firm IQMS Launches Full-Scale European Enterprise

The globalization of manufacturing is driving business opportunities for California-based IQMS, the developer of EnterpriseIQ enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for repetitive, process, and discrete manufacturing environments. In 2004, 25% of the company’s growth came from elsewhere than the United States. Consequently, the company has officially launched IQMS Europe, which folds its exclusive distribution partnership with Plasticsgrid into the IQMS global organization.

IQMS and Plasticsgrid teamed up in 2002 to deliver the EnterpriseIQ system to manufacturers throughout Europe. A third party provided implementation services. Now, with IQMS Europe, one company will provide sales, marketing, implementation, and service to European customers. The consolidation strengthens the ERP provider’s overall position in Europe.

“IQMS Europe enables us to offer our customers a complete service with enhanced support and implementation services,” said Ola Gejde, managing director of IQMS Europe. “Our knowledge of the precise needs of manufacturers helps customers achieve faster implementation time and higher return on investment with EnterpriseIQ. EnterpriseIQ gives manufacturers the ability to manage their operations across multiple plants, multiple languages, and even multiple currencies with one comprehensive system.”

Plasticgrid has offices in Stockholm, London, and Kapellen, Belgium, and its managers in those locations have a combined 75 years of manufacturing, plastics and chemicals, and information technology experience. Their expertise gives IQMS Europe a strong understanding of the specific needs of manufacturers in the plastics, automotive, medical, and other industries.

One in four new IQMS customers last year were outside the United States. Earlier in 2005, the company formed IQMS Asia and opened its first office in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. A second IQMS Asia office recently opened in Shanghai. EnterpriseIQ software is now available in Simplified and Traditional Chinese, as well as English, German, Dutch, Swedish, and Spanish.

IQMS was named one of Start magazine’s “Hottest Companies” in 2004 and in 2005 was on the magazine’s list of companies to “Keep an Eye On” this year.

Strong MCAD Growth Is Seen

The worldwide mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) and product life-cycle management (PLM) market grew to nearly $4 billion in 2004, according to research undertaken by Wohlers Associates Inc. in conjunction with Cyon Research. Wohlers and Cyon found that the top four firms in the field—Autodesk, Dassault, UGS, and PTC—had $3.871 billion in sales in 2004 as against $3.38 billion the preceding year, for an increase of 14.5%.

According to Wohlers Report 2005, net income for those four companies collectively grew by 79.7% during the period, from $271 million in 2003 to $487 million in 2004.

In terms of commercial seats, the leading MCAD product in 2004 was, according to the study, Autodesk Inventor. Following in order were CATIA, UGS NX, SolidWorks, Pro/Engineer, and Solid Edge. MCAD products not counted by the investigators included Alibre, KeyCreator, OneSpace Designer, IronCAD, thinkdesign, VX CAD/CAM, and Cobalt.

Cyon Research, which provides design, engineering, construction, and manufacturing firms with a strategic outlook regarding the software tools and processes on which those companies rely, worked closely with Wohlers, an independent business consulting firm, to determine CADsolid-modelling growth trends. This information has enabled Wohlers to forecast the expansion and acceptance of additive fabrication technology for applications such as rapid prototyping, which is the primary focus of Wohlers Report 2005. Wohlers’ worldwide study is a 256-page softcover publication that presents the state of the rapid prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing industry.

EMO Encore for Yamazaki Mazak U.K.

Anyone who missed the biggest-ever Yamazaki Mazak U.K. EMO display at this year’s machine tool exhibition in Hannover will have a second opportunity to catch up with the latest Yamazaki Mazak technology at the company’s “EMO Encore” event, which takes place at its Worcester Technology Centre November 22–25. The open house will feature 12 products from the thought-provoking EMO display.

Highlights will be the new Angulax 900 high-productivity machining centre (pictured), which introduces a new approach to multisurface machining, and the new Multiplex 8200Y multitasking turning machine that, with its combination of two spindles and three turrets, is ideally suited to single-setup applications. These post-EMO exhibits will be joined by other products from the Yamazaki Mazak portfolio, ranging from the relatively simple 2-axis lathes and 3-axis machining centres of the Nexus series to such advanced-technology machines as the Mark IV Integrex-300 ST multitasking machine equipped with the new Mazatrol Matrix CNC.

Matrix, which had its global launch at EMO 2005, is a sixth-generation control system capable of controlling up to 9 axes, including 5-axis simultaneous machining. Its calculation capability delivers high-speed, high-accuracy machining, even with submicron programme commands. Also, innovatively designed pulse encoders on each linear axis enhance surface finish quality by generating 16 million pulses per revolution.

For motor-sport enthusiasts, EMO Encore offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to check out Kimi Raikkonen’s Team McLaren Mercedes Grand Prix car.

New West Coast Alliance Gives Methods Machine Tools a Higher Profile

Methods Machine Toolshas moved to a new office in Buena Park, California, office to better coordinate service for its customers on the US West Coast. The facility in Buena Park, 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Los Angeles, is part of a new marketing alliance between the Massachusetts-based supplier of precision machine tools and Selway Machine Tool Company, a major West Coast distributor and representative headquartered in Union City, California.

According to Method Machine Tools president Bryon Deysher, the alliance will be better for prospective buyers of machine tools as well as for longstanding Methods customers.

“Joining forces with Selway means we will have more engineers and service technicians to provide better response times, expert advice, training, and technical support,” says Deysher. “In addition to a larger sales force, this alliance also means larger inventories of machine tools and spare parts. With a larger showroom capacity, we’ll have even more machines on display.”

Notes Scott McIver, chairman of Methods, “This new arrangement makes both Methods and Selway stronger for the future.” And Bill Selway, president and CEO of Selway, says that “with the synergy of our combined operations, we are looking forward to a successful sales and support organization for southern California.”

Methods Machine Tools Inc., has been a supplier of precision machine tools and accessories for over 40 years. Methods is the exclusive North American source for Matsuura CNC machining centers, Nakamura-Tome CNC turning centers, and Fanuc RoboDrill CNC milling,drilling and tapping Centers. The Methods EDM division is the exclusive North American source for Fanuc Wire EDM machines, Exeron die sinker EDM machines, and HoleMaster high-speed hole driller EDM systems. The company provides installation, parts, service, and training through a nationwide network of dealers.

Surfware, Faro Team Up to Provide ‘Design-to-Reality’ Interface Solutions

Surfware Inc., developer of CAD/CAM systems under the SURFCAM brand, has announced an extensive collaboration with Faro Technologies, a leading provider of dimensional quality control products, to provide cutting-edge solutions in computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).

Among many new features in its latest service pack, the SURFCAM CAM software program now supports USB-enabled Faro portable measurement arms, marketed under the FaroARM name. Surfware actively pursued developing this specific enhancement to further augment what SURFCAM calls “design-to-reality” solutions.

“The SURFCAM and Faro alliance provides a seamless part digitizing to machining solution,” said Shaun Mymudes, Faro’s director of product management. “Using SURFCAM to capture dimensional data, Faro portable measurement arms provide our customers with a direct interface to a very high-end CAM program.”

The FaroARM interface for SURFCAM allows use of any Faro 6- or 7-axis portable digitizer as an auxiliary pointing device to input 3D coordinate data into an active SURFCAM session. It also allows SURFCAM users to freely intermix digitized input with all other input modes. This facilitates model creation, toolpath generation, and material removal simulation in a single environment, continuously displaying the FaroARM probe tip for graphical verification.

“Users can create, edit, generate and simulate toolpaths, then machine complex surface models all in a single setup without any file transfers,” said Don McKillop, president of CAM/CAD Technologies and the author of the FaroARM USB interface. “The SURFCAM FaroARM interface is uniquely suited for reverse engineering of complex 3D objects.”

This interface now supports both serial and USB connectivity, enabling the system to work with legacy and current Faro equipment. It includes a variety of convenient coordinate alignment techniques, probe calibration, probe changing within a session, system diagnostics, and a series of convenient digitizing modes. Digitizing modes include discrete point input, lock-plane input, streaming-coordinate mode input, and project-onto-plane input.

“We are proud to work with Faro Technologies to provide state-of-the-art ‘design-to-reality’ solutions,” commented Joe McChesney, product manager at Surfware. “We will strive to continue offering enhancements to SURFCAM that deliver the latest cutting-edge technologies to our customers.”

Granta Design Software to Include Portion of Moldflow Database

The recent 2003 International Moldflow User Conference was the occasion for Moldflow Corp. to announce a strategic partnership with Granta Design Ltd., known for its expertise in materials information technology. According to the agreement, portions of Moldflow’s proprietary plastics material database will be included in Granta’s CES4 Optimal Polymer Selector (OPS) product. OPS provides a systematic method for the selection of the most appropriate plastics material for a given application.

Granta customers will now be able to filter materials based on the availability of Moldflow material data, an important capability for customers using Moldflow analysis products in their product development processes.

“Granta customers will now have the ability to quickly eliminate materials that have not been characterized for use with Moldflow software tools in the earliest stages of determining material candidates for a given application,” says Peter Rucinski, Moldflow’s director of product marketing. “This further underscores the importance of having the necessary data to use Moldflow software products to perform analyses in those early stages of product development, when the cost of change is minimal yet the impact is greatest.”

Pathtrace Sees Growth and Potential in East Asian Sales

Two new Pathtrace Engineering Systems sales operations in China and Japan are predicted to contribute more than £1 million (about $1.6 million) in sales of the company’s EdgeCAM off-line programming software this year. Pathtrace Engineering Systems is a division of Pathtrace plc.

According to managing director Brian Steatham: “With the massive global investment in manufacturing in China by existing users of EdgeCAM, the market potential even without adding new customers is enormous. When we add our business potential from our operations in Japan where we are scoring high levels of success due to our solids-based, high level programming interface to any CAD system, the future looks very positive.”

Pathtrace operations in China are largely focusing on mold and die applications, where the solid and surface machining capability of EdgeCAM is drawing considerable attention. EdgeCAM has already been translated into Chinese and six people have been recruited to focus sales initially in the Beijing area.

The Japanese operation, based in Nagoya, is described as a center of excellence for Asia and is focusing on production machining of more complex components.

Both sites are currently partnerships but will become fully owned by Pathtrace later this year.

Automation technology

Reko Automation & Machine Tool has signed a systems integrator agreement with ABB Inc. ABB is a market leader in automation technology, with over 100,000 robots placed in industry. Reko Automation & Machine Tool is one of five operating divisions of The Reko International Group, a global organization offering advanced manufacturing solutions, including injection/compression and foam molds, hydroforming robotic material handling, laser cutting systems and dies, assembly and test systems, robotic/machine vision systems, stamping dies, robotic press automation, machine tending, and fixtures and gages.

manufacture plastic molds for the robot project can save cost,

“As a robotic systems integrator, many of our existing and potential customers request that we quote on a specific robot that they have standardized on,” says Roger Awad, president of Reko Automation & Machine Tool. “Since ABB is requested over and over, it only makes sense that we partner with a robot manufacturer that wants to work with integrators and also has end users that are satisfied with their products and service. ABB will greatly enhance our robotic efforts.”

Says ABB vice president Stefan Nilsson: “We look forward to working with Reko Automation, because they provide robotic manufacturing solutions that help their customers automate a variety of processes. These automation solutions, including machine tending, material handling, inspection and RTV dispensing that Reko Automation has successfully installed, work well with the broad range of robots that ABB has developed.”

Motorcycle Mold and Part Design

Buell Chairman Outlines Industrial Design Vision
CAD Capabilities Enhance Quality of Motorcycle Designs
Cincinnati,OH—(PRNewswire)—Erik Buell, chairman and chief technical officer of Buell Motorcycle Company, recently described the unique challenges of designing motorcycles, and how he is implementing new design and technology applications. Buell delivered his remarks at a breakfast event hosted by think3 at the annual Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) National Conference, held in Washington, D.C., in August.

“At Buell Motorcycles, we’re dedicated to making the riding experience fun, and in unique ways, too,” said Buell. “We have dedicated teams focused on every component of what we refer to as ‘customer-driven design.’ We get into the customer’s head and focus on intangibles to ensure the customer/product identification early on in the design process.”

Buell’s design philosophy—“simplicity through invention”—is built on a design foundation he calls the “Trilogy of Tech.” This involves incorporating three fundamentals of design into every Buell motorcycle. These principles, as described by Buell, are:

Mass Centralization: Keeping everything in the motorcycle centralized as much as possible to maximize the rider’s control over the bike. It’s a matter of “taking the weight off the ends and making it compact right underneath you.”

Frame Rigidity: Making the wheels stay in line with each other, “so when the rider is tossing the bike around, it doesn’t flex. You want to flick the bike into the corners and have it stay exactly where you planted it.”

Low Unsprung Weight: Keeping the weight not supported by springs as light as possible. The front wheels on the Ulysses™ XB12X, Buell’s newest sportbike, are a perfect example. “With the inside-out rotor, they’re incredibly light. The wheels follow the bumps in the road and won’t come off when you’re riding on the bumpy streets. It really clings to the road and acts predictably.”

think3’s industrial design tools were used in developing the Buell Ulysses XB12X, which was unveiled in July. The Ulysses is designed to perform off- and on-road. To achieve this versatility, design requirements included long-travel suspension, specialized tires, an upright seating position, and Triple Tail luggage and passenger accommodations. The bike weighs just 425 pounds, and the design centralizes mass and lowers the center of gravity to help the Ulysses be more responsive on paved/unpaved roads.

think3 facilitated the design process by enabling work to be done in a multi-CAD environment. Key parts of the Ulysses were designed and engineered from start to finish using think3 CAD capabilities, and every new component of the bike was solid-modelled using think3 technology. According to Buell, the key benefits of using think3 technology included the ability to read any legacy data; hybrid surface and solid modeling capabilities, and improved design for manufacturability. Buell had the flexibility of doing iterative designs without losing data, time, or design intent through manufacturing.

“We’re pleased that our partnership with Buell has paid off not only in enabling Erik and his company to improve the quality of their bike designs and bottom line, but also in a fun and exciting riding experience for their customers,” said Craig Lewis, vice president of worldwide sales, think3. “Buell has been using think3 technology since the late 1990s, and all the bikes designed and manufactured since that time have used think3 technology in some fashion to improve design and performance.”

think3 supplies product development solutions to mid-sized manufacturers worldwide. Customers include BMW, Audi, Maytag, Alessi and GE Medical Devices.

Redesigned Archery Display Reduces Injection molding Cost
St. Cloud, MN—A major sporting goods retailer recently partnered with Northern Wire Products to redesign a simpler and more cost cost-effective bow hook display. Utilizing the latest design software, Northern Wire worked with the company’s design team to produce prototype renderings that gave the retailer realistic-looking options to evaluate and modify. Prior to manufacturing, changes were made quickly and inexpensively to achieve the “desired look.”

Designed with permanent fixed-position hooks, the new display is efficiently constructed with a high-quality tube, sheet metal brackets, wire-formed hook, and slip-on protective hook covers. It is clear powder-coat painted to match the design scheme of other fixtures in the archery product line. According to Northern Wire Products, the redesign eliminated product positioning problems experienced with previous displays, allowing for greatly improved showcasing of the new bows while generating increased attention. Equally important, the in-store setup is fast and trouble-free because the new display design requires no complicated and time-consuming assembly.

A culture that is built around lean Motorcycle Mold manufacturing principles allows Northern Wire Products to take costs out of customers’ displays through product/component redesign, streamlined manufacturing, and efficient assembly and distribution. The total per unit cost of the new bow hook display is reported to be 51% less than previous bow hook display designs. It is said to meet the sporting goods retailer’s criteria for increasing sales velocity and turn rates while reducing display costs.