Industry Spotlight: Prototek Engineering

March 8, 2017 No Comments
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Increasing Midwestern Manufacturing Efficiency

by Melissa DeBilzan

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toc_features50pxAll precision manufacturers utilize the core capabilities of their CAD/CAM software but, according to the team at Chaska-based Prototek Engineering, far too many still are missing the extraordinary additional efficiencies that a proven, robust platform like Mastercam can provide.

“We regularly see shops use high efficiency machining to cut run times on even simple 2D parts by well over 50 percent while also reducing tool and machine costs,” says Brian Pascoe, owner of Prototek.

Helping Midwest manufacturers increase profitability by slashing programming and cycle time is Prototek’s primary deliverable. Over the last quarter century, Mastercam has become the world’s leading CAD/CAM software, and Prototek has supported Midwest precision manufacturers with an integrated approach of sales, training, and support for Mastercam as well as rapid inspection tools and DNC communications. Along the way, they’ve consistently been a top 10 Mastercam dealer and rated #1 worldwide in customer retention.

Mastercam’s high-efficiency machining features are called Dynamic Motion toolpaths, which can cut machining time by up to 75 percent, dramatically extend tool life, and significantly reduce CNC machine wear. Efficient toolpaths generate consistent chips, smoother motion, and fewer toolpath reversals.

Prototek is so confident in this feature that it encourages manufacturers to participate in the “Dynamic Motion Challenge” by comparing run times and tool life themselves. The company gladly supplies shops with a tool, material, and toolpath program, so they can test it internally on their own machines.

Prototek works hard to ensure that new clients can transition to Mastercam seamlessly and current clients can incorporate updates efficiently. “Studies show that proper training is the single most important component of any new software installation,” Pascoe said. “So we customize all programs as much as possible, and can deliver them at our Chaska training center, onsite at customer facilities, or online.”

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He added that local live support is also crucial for customer success. “We learned early on that a blend of live and online remote support was really the only way customers can ramp up quickly and get the best return on their investment.”

Mastercam developer CNC Software Inc. was one of the first to offer CAD/CAM to both machinists and engineers. What began as a simple 2D CAM system with CAD tools that let machinists design virtual parts on a computer screen has evolved into a powerhouse of machining tools.

American made and family owned since 1983, Mastercam has been the most widely-used CAD/CAM software worldwide for 22 consecutive years. With over 224,000 seats globally, they have almost twice the installed base of the closest competitor, and are regarded by many as having the most comprehensive programming platform.

Much of their success is based on the stability that comes from consistent ownership as well as a commitment to add features requested by customers. “We internally replicate and test the conditions end users report to be sure our updates apply to the issues our clients deal with every day,” said Meghan West, CNC president.

Mastercam also allows the integration of third party applications to address unique machine or process-specific scenarios. Options include, but are not limited to: Master3DGage for automated inspection; integrated Renishaw probing; and CIMCO DNC for machine tool networking and CNC program management.

With Mastercam and Prototek, local manufacturers have access to top-notch technology, training, and support at their fingertips. Many shops are using these resources to create more than just parts – they’re creating new opportunities. pm_endmarkblue-e1320337140493

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MELISSA DEBILZAN is a contributing writer for IntrinXec Management Inc. She can be reached at

Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.


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