December 1993 was the birth of the first ACA Pulka. A prototype was developed from high-quality materials. The design was based on functionality. Decisive factors were stability and glide characteristics. The first test carried out by expedition professionals was positive and thus the Pulka started to really glide.
Acapulka was founded in June 1994. In the following season our Pulkas were on a large expedition to the South Pole. Since then we have successfully experimented with materials, forms and finishing processes.
In 1996 an office was set up in Norway. Sales were then run from there.
Expeditions, mainly in the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland, often chose ACAPULKA Pulks as their supplier. The tailor-made Pulkas( Pulks) were an important prerequisite for a successful tour.
Since 1999 we have been supported in product development by the expedition professional Børge Ousland. Due to his experience, expertise and ideas he has become an important advisor.
Since 2002 we have setup the Norwegian company ACAPULKA Norge A/S. A large part of the now numerous Pulka models are produced in Norway.
The basis of our work is our skills. Our functional and high-quality products are a result of a combination of modern production processes and practical design.
Each new development, be it only one detail, is subjected to rigorous testing. Your perfect tour is our foremost concern.
Good communication with our customers is very important to us.
We are always grateful for questions, comments and criticism.
Our pulks are often on tough missions. Its a key issue that the equipment works as it should out there.
It is also important for us that the products have a long lasting life cycle. Therefore we exclusively use known quality materials.
Here is a summary of some of the materials used in our production.
Alveolit is a PE-foam which is extremely tough, i.e. upholstery using this high-quality foam still fulfills its purpose after many years.
Aramide fibres (Aromatic Polyamide)
The DuPont company led Aramid fibres, under the name of Kevlar, to market maturity.
There is a differentiation between high-module fibres and low-module fibres, the latter being used for e.g. bullet-proof vests.
Aramid fibres have a high specific strength, low density, high impact strength and good vibration damping.
The pressure resistance of Aramid fibre plastics (AFP) is however low.
Aramid fibres are used in the form of fabric/woven and layered material.
Bonded fabrics are laminates that are formed from reinforcing fibres and a matrix of plastic resins. Light components with a very high stability of form and strength can be made from these bonded fabrics.
The first carbon fibres became available in small amounts at high prices (3000 DM/ kg) in the 1960s. Today, carbon fibres are used as reinforcing fibres in many heavy-load components.
Carbon fibre plastics (CFP) are very light, highly expansion- and pressure-resistant, have excellent aging resistance and vibration damping. The strength of CFP surpasses that of metal and other bonded materials.
Carbon fibres are used in fabrics and layered materials.
A composite construction is a multi-layered bonded construction consisting of two very strong outer layers and a lightweight inner layer (sandwich material). The component's second moment of area is increased and thus also its pliability. Composite constructions are very light and are used frequently in aircraft construction.
Bonded fabrics, which have to perform to the highest demands of reliability and longevity, are made primarily of epoxy resin. It has a higher dynamic and static strength than UP resin and remains extremely impact-resistant at very low temperatures.
Exchangeable PE-Runner System
A system for which first an aluminium rail is fixed to the sled. The HD-PE runner is then fitted to this rail and fixed at the front end by a screw.
This rather heavy system allows glide runners to be used without needing to bore holes in the coating. The glide characteristics are thus considerably improved.
Technical fabrics are made of the most different reinforcing fibres available and are woven in many different ways. The most commonly used weaves are canvas and twill whereby twill weaves can be draped better. If different fibres are worked into one fabric, it is called a hybrid fabric.
The fleeces used in plastics have the advantage over foam that they can be draped very easily, i.e. they can be used in smaller radians.
The fleeces are partly or completely drenched in the matrix material, as for the reinforcing fibres. This means that they are considerably heavier than foams in the finished component.
The foams used for composite constructions are mostly closed-pore hard foams made of different materials (PVC, PUR, PE).
The mechanical characteristics and the weight of a component can be changed by varying thickness and density.
Glass Fibre Pipes
There are 2 variations of glass fibre pipes.
The first is a pipe where all the reinforcing fibres run longitudinally. This comparatively cheap pipe has a low breaking elongation.
The pipes we use have the glass fibres wound around the perimeter of the pipe. This winding of the reinforcing fibres allows considerably better breaking elongation.
Glass fibres made of E-glass are the most commonly used reinforcing material.
The strength characteristics of glass fibre plastics (GFP) correspond to those of metals whereby the specific weight is lower than that of metal. Glass fibres are used in mattes, fabrics and layered material.
There are many different finishes available. They are mostly formed into shape first during production in order to obtain a particularly good surface finish, since this can considerably influence the glide characteristics.
With polyester components a so-called gel coating is used. This coating is a hard and scratch-resistant finish based on polyester.
For our models made with epoxy resin, we have developed our own coating. This coating consists of epoxy resins, different hardening agents and fillers. We have also added graphite powder. This additive improves the glide characteristics of the sled considerably. Other fillers improve the scratch-resistance.
Due to its colour we have called this glide coating "black magic".
Hand Application Procedure
During hand application, the reinforcing fibres are drenched with the matrix material using a fur roller. The laminate is then de-aerated using an airing roller or a rubber spatula. The unwanted trapped air, which can lead to loss in strength, is thus removed.
We use mostly hybrid fabrics made of carbon and Aramid fibres.
Thus, two different material characteristics can be combined in one layer.
Laminates are materials consisting of single layers joined together. In plastics, one talks of composite/bonded or fibre bonded materials. They consist of at least two physically or chemically different components bound together via a boundary layer.
A lay-up is the sequence of different layers consisting of reinforcing fibres and core-materials. It is therefore a construction plan which provides information concerning strength and weight of a component taking into account the resins used.
Layered material differs from fabrics in that the reinforcing fibres are not interwoven but sewn. Thus, the grain is straighter and the components are stiffer. Layered material is divided into unidirectional, bi-axial, tri-axial and quad-axial layers after the direction has been set.
In order to make use of the in parts strong reinforcing fibres, they are embedded in a matrix of synthetic resin. Polyester resins, epoxy resins and vinyl ester resins are used for this.
Drenching the fibres in the matrix material can be done in a hand application procedure, in a vacuum process or in a vacuum injection process.
Glass fibre mattes are the most widespread type of reinforcing material. They consist of individual glass fibres of approx. 6 cm in length, randomly laid and glued together by a coating. Glass fibre mattes are almost only used in conjunction with polyester resins.
Nylon is a polyamide. All of the buckles we use are made of nylon.
Nylon is a material which becomes less brittle in cold weather and is thus less likely to break. Cheap buckles made of e.g. acrylic are not good at low temperatures.
The packing height indicated is a mean value.
It is obviously possible to pack the pulka higher. The higher the centre of gravity, the more likely the pulka is to tip over. Thus, it is advisable to use a slightly larger pulka than to pack it too high.
The lower the centre of gravity, the better the glide characteristics
The PE-Bearing is a pull-rope fitting screwed to the side of the sled.
This is made of soft polyethylene (PE) or Teflon.
This pull-rope fitting is to protect the rope from too much friction. That is why we use this material.
Polyester Resin (UP-Resin)
Unsaturated polyester resins are used most commonly in plastics as a matrix for GFP. The characteristics of UP resins can be very different. The resins used for GFP components harden like glass and are very hard.
This chemical simply constructed plastic is available in different densities. A high-density (HD-PE) has an approx. density of 96% in comparison to that of water. It is therefore lighter than water.
HD-PE is characterized by its high level of hardness and thus by a hard surface.
LD-PE has a density of approx. 92% in comparison to that of water. It is lighter still and has a very stable form. Components made of LD-PE are generally softer than components made of HD-PE.
Due to the very good glide characteristics, PE is excellently suited as a material for our runner coatings.
Reinforcing fibres give fibre bonded materials their hardness. They are made of different materials (e.g. glass, Aramid, carbon, polyester). The fibres are used in mattes, fabrics and layered material. The types of fibre and the direction of the fibres in the component have considerable influence on its toughness characteristics and weight.
Sandwich Materials (core-materials)
Sandwich materials are foams, fleece, honeycomb constructions or distance weaves. The material is very light but pressure-resistant and tough. Thus, an optimal connection of the outer layer of a composite construction is guaranteed.
A non-clean, quick-drying and highly elastic polyamide compound material developed by the Schöller company.
This material is used for hip belts by all renowned backpack manufacturers.
A sold laminate is a laminate without core-material. Our solid laminates are produced in a vacuum process. Solid laminates are mostly constructed in pure Kevlar.
Stainless steel is corrosion-free, acid-resistant and a lot stronger than ordinary steel. For the dragging bar fittings we use cold-worked stainless steel, which has extreme form-stability.
Our straps are made of terylene polyester. This material is very resistant to UV and aging.
The straps are also extremely tear-resistant. Polyester does not expand and does not absorb dampness.
The type of weave used in our straps is adapted for use with nylon buckles. That is why they glide through the buckles more easily than other straps.
Is a very tear-free nylon fabric. When a hole is torn in the material, further tearing is hindered by weaving thicker thread at different intervals (rip-stop technology). The material is silicon-coated and has a sqm. Weight of approx. 74g!
Also called PTFE. This plastic has an extremely smooth surface. Thus, Teflon is very suitable for our pull-rope fittings. Unfortunately, this material is heavier than comparable polyethylene.
Tempering Chamber (Tempering Process)
A tempering chamber can be compared to an over-dimensional baking oven. Some high-tech plastic resins need to be treated with a very exact temperature during and after hardening.
This process is called tempering. The temperatures can be raised up to 140º C, according to the type of resin and application of the component.
As for the hand application process, the reinforcing fibres are drenched with the matrix material using a fur roller. The laminate is then de-aerated. The unwanted trapped air is thus removed more reliably. Excess resin is also removed. The components manufactured in the vacuum process are lighter than comparable components made in the hand application process.
The middle part of our dragging bars are made of welded aluminium tubes.
The welds are of very high quality. The middle part is conceived in such a way that in case of a fall it becomes deformed before it breaks. This deforming can usually be rectified very easily, even on tour.
Pulkas in the WP version are especially sealed. The tubs of these sleds are watertight, thus they float.
All joints in the lower area are filled with filling material. The dragging bar fittings are connected to each other, as far as the PE-Bearing is concerned; this is normally a tube or hose, through which the pull-rope runs. The inside of the pulka is thus protected from water.
The use of the pulkas, mainly in Arctic regions, make these measure necessary.