Autodesk sells Moldflow’s US lab to Beaumont

Feb 24, 2017 | Hot Topics

Unless you’re a plastics guy, you may not know this, but one of Moldflow’s key differentiators is its material testing laboratories. Plastics are tricky, with fibers and layers and temperatures and shrinkage rates … designing a mold that can fill and cool to create the correct part relies on serious science to fully understand the material properties of possible polymer alternatives. Enter the materials labs, which test polymers in a number of real-world settings, using consistent methods and reporting. These tests inform Moldflow’s material database, which is then used in simulations.

Last week, Beaumont Technologies Inc. said that it had acquired Moldflow’s North American material characterization lab, and will partner with Autodesk to continue to provide material characterizations for Moldflow’s injection molding simulation tools. (Autodesk retains ownership of the Australian labs; more on that below.)  Beaumont has long partnered with Moldflow and Autodesk, providing its own material testing, training and consulting since the late 1990s.

Autodesk’s Greg Fallon, VP Simulation, said that the “partnership between Autodesk and Beaumont Technologies will lead to increased testing capacity and enhanced services through access to additional expertise in polymers, injection molding processes and dedicated local resources … With Beaumont handling the majority of our training and material characterization activities, Autodesk will focus on the development and validation of new process solvers, as well as characterization methodologies. This partnership is part of Autodesk’s growth strategy. The result will be a net increase in global characterization capacity, improved throughput and responsiveness as well as adding additional subject matter experts into our community.”

Why does this matter? Even if you’re not a plastics guy today? Because you likely will be or at least will need to consider plastics in your engineering process sometime soon. Plastics are molded, yes, but also used in a lot of 3D printing processes for fixtures, test parts and, increasingly, production parts. The science behind the materials becomes even more important as we try to simulate that production process and the parts it makes — and, from all accounts, we’re nowhere near ready to call that job, done. The Moldflow lab in Kilsyth, Australia, will continue to supply Autodesk customers throughout Asia and other global markets, and support on-going research and development of plastics modeling and simulation offerings. That may be even more strategic today, as Autodesk and its customers further explore the boundaries of 3D printing.

Terms of the deal were not given but it appears to be completed.