One year after its core patent expired, Thixomat has reinvented itself as Thixomat Technologies LLC, eschewing its former business model of revenue generated by royalty payments from licensees to instead supply molded magnesium parts and new technologies, including a high-strength magnesium sheet product.
Wearing a red-white-and-blue pin on his lapel that read, "Lighten Up" in large letters with a smaller "I'll show you how" below, Stephen LeBeau, Thixomat president, told PlasticsToday that the company began planning for its post-thixomolding-patent future in 2009. A metallurgist by trade, LeBeau said his company was paid royalties for 20 years on its licensed thixomolding technology, with 400 machines running the process in 13 countries.
LeBeau's new plan consists of three primary businesses: Thixomat Inc., thixomolding developer; nanoMAG LLC, inventor of the new magnesium sheet technology; and Molded Magnesium Products LLC, a custom magnesium molder. The last business has already set up a plant in Michigan and is running magnesium parts from two machines: 280 and 720 tons. Lebeau said the eventual goal is to build up to 10 machines with annual turnover ranging from $10-$20 million. That business is a 50:50 joint venture with Mag-Tec Casting Corp. (Jackson, MI) and will be led by Bill Wilson, who was named general manager....