Pakulla has been a family-run business for three generations. Founded in the late 1940s, the business originally produced orthopedic items, such as shoe soles. Today, it manufactures items made of rubber and plastic across the automotive, medical, textile, electronics, food, and other industries. With 26 employees, it has nine modern machines with up to 5-Axis capability, two EDM machines, and a 100-ton injection molding machine for the production of sample parts.
The impetus for the company’s transition to CimatronE in 2008 was a job order received from an automobile manufacturer that involved the creation of three injection molds to produce speaker diaphragms for a car interior. These were highly complex to design as all the sides curved and there were several undercuts for screwless bracket mounting holes. Pakulla’s existing CAD solution was simply unable to handle the complexities, and the designers found themselves unable to open the client’s CATIA files without encountering errors.
Following a call to Cimatron, within a few days software specialists were demonstrating CimatronE’s capabilities to Pakulla executives. “What we were presented with was impressive,” says CEO Peter Pakulla. “Within two minutes the clients’ designs were on the screen, and after an hour the contour inserts were finished and we watched the simulation of the roughing program.”
Suffice it to say, Pakulla selected CimatronE as the software solution best suited to its needs. Within two months, the system had been installed, designers and NC programmers had been trained, and the first molds using the system had been designed and manufactured. “Even after the training had concluded, our staff had no hesitation calling the Cimatron hotline when questions arose,” says Peter Pakulla. “The questions were answered the same day, and this type of support was an important factor in us being able to successfully meet the client’s requirements for this job.”
CimatronE allowed for integration between Pakulla’s CAD and CAM functions, obviating the need for back and forth between the two different systems that the business had previously used. The CAM department is now able to operate more independently and flexibly. In fact, the phones in the CAD department now ring less – the CAM staff no longer need to contact their CAD colleagues for constant consultation and clarification.
CimatronE also offered powerful features geared towards specialty mold makers like Pakulla. Capabilities such as external data transfer, QuickSplit (splitting the model into different opening directions), and electrode generation, as well as full integration with catalogs for standard parts, have facilitated more efficient mold production. Designs can be amended easily, even after NC programming has already begun.
Additionally, “The NC programming times have decreased significantly,” says Peter Pakulla, and “the cutting tools are evenly deployed with the remaining material removed more effectively – we used to have frequent tool breakage.” Some of CimatronE’s features, such as automatic feed adjustment, have also contributed to the life extension of the tools.
“We estimate that our production time using CimatronE has been reduced by 30-35%,” says Peter Pakulla.