Sunday, 26 April 2015

Butterfly 2015 Spring/Summer New Product Launched

Butterfly has launched a series of new products in 21st April 2015, few days before the start of 2015 World Table Tennis Championship in Suzhou, China.

There are Innerfiber Layer Series, Garaydia Series, Hadraw Series, Cypress Series, Mizutani ZLC and Defence IV, total 23 new blades.

Despite of using "Speed" and "Control" for its performance characteristics rating as traditional way, "Rebound Characteristic" and "Vibration Characteristic" has been introduced by Butterfly as a new rating system for Butterfly products.

Butterfly 2015 New Product Line Up:
Shakehand Blades
Type
Rebound Characteristic
Vibration Characteristic
Wood
Average Weight
Butterfly Mizutani ZLC
Attack
11.8
11.2
5 Woods + 2 ZLC
90g
Butterfly Innerfiber Layer Al
Attack
9.4
8.6
5 Woods + 2 AL
79g
Butterfly Innerfiber Layer AlC
Attack
10.7
9.4
5 Woods + 2 ALC
86g
Butterfly Innerfiber Layer ZLC
Attack
10.5
9.5
5 Woods + 2 ZLC
87g
Butterfly Garaydia T5000
Attack
13.6
14.5
3 Woods + 2 Carbon
89g
Butterfly Garaydia ALC
Attack
11.4
13.0
3 Woods + 2 ALC
83g
Butterfly Garaydia ZLC
Attack
12.2
13.7
3 Woods + 2 ZLC
84g
Butterfly Hadraw SK
Attack
10.0
8.6
7 Woods
77g
Butterfly Hadraw SR
Attack
10.8
9.1
7 Woods
91g
Butterfly Hadraw VK
Attack
10.5
8.4
5 Woods
79g
Butterfly Hadraw VR
Attack
11.4
9.3
5 Woods
87g
Butterfly Innershield Layer ZLF
Defence
5.5
4.9
5 Woods + 2 ZLF
86g
Butterfly Hadraw Shield
Defence
7.9
6.3
5 Woods
96g
Butterfly Defence IV
Defence
9.8
8.6
3 Woods
92g

Penhold Blades
Type
Rebound Characteristic
Vibration Characteristic
Wood
Average Weight
Butterfly Innerfiber Layer ZLC CS
Fast Attack
10.5
9.5
5 Woods + 2 ZLC
85g
Butterfly Garaydia Revolver R
Reverse Pen
10.5
8.2
3 Woods + 2 ALC
64g
Butterfly Hadraw Revolver R
Reverse Pen
9.7
9.0
5 Woods
66g
Butterfly Hadraw VR CS
Fast Attack
11.4
9.3
5 Woods
91g
Butterfly Hadraw JPV S
Drive
11.4
10.7
5 Woods
79g
Butterfly Hadraw JPV R
Fast Attack
11.4
10.7
5 Woods
79g
Butterfly Cypress JP I S
Drive
12.8
9.0
1 Ply Hinoki Wood
89g
Butterfly Cypress JP II S
Drive
12.4
8.8
1 Ply Hinoki Wood
87g
Butterfly Cypress JP III S
Drive
12.1
8.8
1 Ply Hinoki Wood
85g
















Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Butterfly Fiber Blade Development History

Butterfly Fiber blade development

From single ply wood to multi-layer wood, then carbon

It has been 36 years when Butterfly developed their first special material blades “TAMCA 5000”. 36 years ago, before the development of TAMCA 5000, Japan and the world is using single ply wood blade. Very soon, multi-layer ply wood racket with better performance has been recognized by most of the players. At that time, Butterfly‘s ultimate pursuing goal for racket performance has been set and never been changed until now, that is to increase racket’s performance power.

From single layer ply wood to multi-layer ply wood, racket performance progress has been achieved, in order to further improve racket’s performance power; the development team has tried various type of carbon material from different field.

“Lighter and Strong Flexibility” is Butterfly’s development team ultimate choice for “Carbon” fiber material. In April 1978, the first Carbon contained racket “TAMCA 5000” launched, however the subsequent problem to be solved is the high production cost, therefore the price for this blade is higher than normal racket’s production cost 3~4 times, and not many players are using. But the good news is this type of racket started to recognize and welcome, in this period, the concept of “Carbon Racket has better power” started to spread by peoples.

14 years of experiment, Arylate and Table Tennis Racket.
More and more carbon racket has been developed, and loved by top class player and ordinary table tennis fans. In the meantime, the development team started to testing new material. Besides Carbon material, high performance material was not common during that period of time, development team has tried many materials it was resultless.

During this time, one type of material which is quite different with carbon material has gained focus by development group, that is Arylate Fiber material, compared to Carbon material, Arylate material has shown completely different playing feeling, the  special characteristic of Arylate material is rapid absorption and vibration reduction, together with higher resilience force. The development team discovered that the racket produced with this type of material, can guarantee playing power, as well as softer feeling, and hence increased its capability in control.

After 14 years of TAMCA 5000 launched, 1991 November, the first Arylate Fiber racket KEYSHOT blade appeared in the market, thereafter, Arylate fiber material has becoming one of the most important material in racket manufacturing.

Legend was born, the Viscaria!
Viscaria is one of the most enduring products in Butterfly lines up, after the Arylate Fiber gained recognize and success, Butterfly development group planned to combine both materials which they think can compensate in the playing feeling, at the same time increase racket performance capability.

1993, “Viscaria” became the first blade contained Arylate-Carbon material was successfully developed, Butterfly consulted its contract player for testing and received positive feedback, from that on, Butterfly starting to emphasis on professional player testing opinion, because research team member believed players personal feeling is important, and this subjective feel helps a lot in future racket making.

Butterfly’s Timo Boll series is one of the most successful example, blades tested by Timo Boll not only satisfied high level player’s requirement, but the popularity of Timo Boll has caused this blades gained more attention. The value of top player increased the value of blade; once again Butterfly evolved their racket concept.

Bigger ball, Non VOC, giving birth of Super Zylon
In year 2000, ITTF introduced bigger dimension ball and banned VOC glue (Speed glue) has caused dramatically change, development team facing big challenge, this is because with the banned of Speed Glue, racket’s resilient capability reduced obviously, hitting power weaker than before.

A series of changes caused table tennis manufacturer confusion, at that time, Butterfly Mr. Kanai has proposed, “due to the banned of speed glue, larger ball dimension, there will be many player give up ply wood racket and swift to hybrid racket. Therefore Butterfly should focus on how to increase the resilient capability of racket, and this has becoming new direction for Butterfly’s development team.

Under expectation, “TAMCA.ULC” material was finally developed, the biggest changes of this material is its material’s weaving method, it has reduced the weight for about 18%, and brings benefit for shorter sizes table tennis player.

TAMCA.ULC has clearer the direction for Butterfly R&D group in Fiber racket development, lightness and higher resilient, also showing the direction for the birth of Zylon fiber.

Produce suitable racket for players
With this clearer target, Butterfly development team has step out a giant leap. ZL Fiber and Zylon Fiber combined with Carbon Fiber very soon becoming new choice for hybrid blade. During the development process, R&D group received assist from many top ranking players, one of them was Zhang Yining who’s provided her valuable opinion.

During that time, Butterfly classified its product into two group, pure wood blade and special material blade. Special material blade always be Butterfly main focus, however compared to pure wood blade, special material blade consist weakness in hand’s feeling and controlling. Due to that, Zhang Yining still preferring to play with pure wood blade instead of special material racket.

In 2007 Zagreb WTTC, favorite Zhang Yining lost in women’s single event, she began to consider changing her blade. At that time, to make a powerful and good control racket becoming the main task for Butterfly development team.

Zhang Yining requirement for new racket is: “the blade should have pure wood’s blade thickness and hitting feel, it can increase the return power during 3rd and 4th ball rallies in a game, and score a point.” Because of this requirement, development team proposed “Innerforce”, using new Zylon Fiber and restructure layer position for special material.  The new developed “Innerforce ZLC” racket is similar to pure wood feeling with high resilient characteristic, at the end, it has obtained recognize from Zhang Yining.

Zhang Yining using this racket and won  the 2008 Beijing Olympic game, 2009 Yokohama WTTC women singles champion, with this success, it has firmed Butterfly development group concept of “produce suitable equipment for player”.

From searching to upgrade, victory of Super ZL
In the memory of Mr. Iwase, from ZL material to Super ZL material, development group experienced many experiments and selection, during this progress, according to past experiment, selected quite number of material which is similar to ZL material to do experiment, but the actual outcome does not bring significant result, this has bother the development team.

Butterfly development team does not persist in upgrading current material, however they have changed the traditional, by select those used material for new development, this has bring significant result.

During Super ZL fiber development progress, to weave a fiber which is different from the past is not an easy task, Super ZL fiber needs huge volume of fiber, but ZL material itself is very strong, it is a challenge in the weaving technology, when Fiber finished goods produced and is going to compile into blade, they are facing another challenge due to the high compact of weaving, cutting becoming difficult, and needs to use high precision cutting tools, even so, high precision tools still having risk in wear and tear, which resulting in damage the blade. All these problems, was solved by development team.

Reconstructed new ZL material, have higher resilient characteristic than ZL material, and have obvious changes in playing feel, to distinguish from ZL material, Butterfly has named it Super ZL Fiber.

Mizutani always use Butterlfy blades, suffered defect in 2012 All Japan tournament, after changing to new fiber blade, his results has improved dramatically, this can seen as the victory of Super ZL fiber.

Mr. Iwase said “from subjective perspective, Mizutani’s win in major tournament is because of its hardworking, but from objective perspective, the blade using by Mizutani has play a role in wining. During a match, player has fight for a point to win, but when we making racket, we are fight for a gram difference, we are like player, always put ourselves into tournament feeling when developing our product.”

Translated from Ping Pong Magazine, 46th edition (2014.10)


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

How do ITTF test and approve Table Tennis Ball?

The new Plastic ball or Poly ball will start to use in July 2014, a lot of forums and players has discussed about its effect and characteristic. But many people may not aware how ITTF test and approve a new ball, here is ITTF testing procedures and specification for references:

Picture source: modified from www.nittaku.com

ITTF Test Procedures

The ITTF equilibrates balls at 230 Celsius, 50% R.H. for at least three days (standard conditions). They
are then tested as follows:

Weight is measured on an electronic analytical balance reading to 0.001g, and the results are rounded to
the nearest 0.01g.

Diameter We use a calibrated electrical device with an accuracy of at least 0.001mm which measures the diameter with a precision of 0.01mm.The ball is slightly pressed by a vertical pin (diameter 10mm). For fixation the ball is supported by an annular ring whose upper inside surface slopes at an angle of 45 degrees. The outer diameter of the ring is 40mm and the inner diameter at the bottom of this slope is 20mm. In this position the ball is placed between two lateral, horizontal flat measuring pins (diameter 6mm) which automatically adapt to the ball diameter by springs. The diameter of the ball is monitored while turning the ball with a mechanical device about the polar axis (1), an axis crossing the equator twice and comprising the center (2), and about further two arbitrary axes comprising the center of the ball (3,4).
By (1) the seam line is monitored, by (2) a line including both poles and by (3) and (4) arbitrary lines on the balls surface. By rotating the ball in said directions the minimum and maximum diameters are determined. The difference between the two values gives the lack of sphericity.

Alternatively, the following procedure can be applied:
The ball is placed arbitrarily between a flat and the measuring pin, and the diameter is observed. In order to guarantee that the measuring pin is vertically above the center of the ball we use two vertical flats with angle of 90o against which the ball is horizontally pressed during the measurement. By rotating the ball in various directions the minimum and maximum diameters can then be determined. The difference between the two gives the lack of sphericity.

Bounce is measured by releasing the ball mechanically. After its bounce on a standard steel plate the ball is monitored with a digital camera with a calibrated mm scale in the background. The photos are evaluated. The geometric mean of three determinations then permits calculation of the maximum height of bounce. Alternatively the rebound height can be measured by other methods, which give the same results.

Veer is a measure of the total sphericity of the ball, not merely its external aspect. It is measured by rolling the ball down a slight incline onto a horizontal surface, and measuring the distance by which it deviates from a straight line as it rolls across the surface. The incline is 100mm long at 14 degree to the horizontal; on a table that is 100cm long this gives a rolling time of about 3 seconds. Each ball is measured at least three times, rolling twice on the seam, and once about an arbitrary axis. A negative result is reported if the ball fails the test twice.

Hardness is measured on a fully automated and computerised Zwick tester (or equivalent). We use a preload of 0.5 N and testing starts 10 sec after preloading. A 20mm diameter pin presses against a pole of the ball with a 50 N force loaded at 10 mm/min, and the indentation is recorded with a precision of 0.01mm. The ball is supported by an annular ring whose upper inside surface slopes at an angle of 45 degrees. The outer diameter of the ring is 40mm and the inner diameter at the bottom of this slope is 20mm. Measurements are made on each pole and once on the seam; the average for the poles provides a measure of the hardness, and the difference between that and the seam indentation is a measure of the lack of symmetry.

Colour The ball colour is measured according to the CIE Lab system, giving three values L, a and b. L indicates the black/white value on a scale from 0 to 100; a indicates the green/red value; and b the blue/yellow value, both on a scale from minus to plus 100. The measurements are performed on the seam and two other points on the surface. 4 balls are selected from different boxes. The L, a and b values of the sample are determined by averaging over all 4 balls. "Dr. Lange Micro Color II" apparatus or equivalent is used. 

Specifications

For the calculation of the following values two digits are taken into account.
B.1 Weight Conformity
Law 2.3.2 specifies 2.7g, but any weight between 2.67 and 2.77g is acceptable for any one ball. No more than 1 ball out of the 24 sampled may be outside this range. The sample mean must be between 2.69 and 2.76g. In carrying out statistical calculations we treat any weights less than 2.60g or greater than 2.85g as outliers.

B.2 Weight Regularity
The standard deviation may not exceed 0.03g.

B.3 Size Conformity
The minimum diameter of every ball must be at least 39.50mm, and its maximum diameter must not exceed 40.50mm. The sample mean average diameter, i.e. the mean of the average of the maximum and minimum diameters for each ball, must be in the range 39.60-40.40mm. Values below 39.25mm or above 40.75mm are considered in our calculations as outliers.

B.4 Size Regularity
The standard deviation of the average diameter may not exceed 0.06mm.

B.5 Sphericity Conformity
The sphericity of any ball must be less than 0.35mm, and the sample mean sphericity must be less than 0.25mm. (The sphericity of a ball - more correctly the lack of sphericity - is the absolute difference between its minimum and maximum diameters.) In our calculations values greater than 0.50mm are treated as outliers.

B.6 Sphericity Regularity
The standard deviation of sphericity must be less than 0.06mm.

B.7 Bounce Conformity
All 24 balls must rebound to a height of not less than 240mm or more than 260mm when dropped from a
height of 305mm on to a standard steel block.

B.8 Bounce Regularity (to be examined)
There is no specification for this property. Dynamic tests will be investigated.

B.9 Veer
No more than two balls shall deviate by more than 175mm from the center-line.

B.10 Hardness Conformity
The geometric mean pole hardness for any ball shall be in the range 0.71 – 0.84mm.
The geometric mean pole hardness for the sample shall be in the range 0.72 – 0.84mm
The mean seam hardness for the sample shall be in the range 0.75 – 0.85mm
The within-ball (uniformity) coefficient of variation of the measurements on each pole and once on the seam shall be no greater than 0.15mm. 
The sample mean within-ball (uniformity) coefficient of variation shall be no greater than 0.06mm.

B.11 Hardness Regularity
The coefficient of variation shall be not greater than 0.06mm.

B.12 Colour
The specifications for the L, a and b values according to the CIE Lab system are 
for white balls:   a and b between -7 and +3
                         L exceeding 80
for orange balls: a between 10 and 35
                         b exceeding 40
                         L exceeding 70
All 4 balls tested have to meet these standards.

Articles above was from ITTF Technical Leaflet T3, June 2013.



Monday, 26 May 2014

Nittaku Rutis vs Nittaku Rutis Power

Nittaku Rutis vs Nittaku Rutis Power

Appearance : Nittaku Rutis Power outlook appearance almost same as Rutis, there is no changes of handle design as well, the “G-Carbon” wording on Rutis was changed to “Carbon” for Rutis Powera. However the handle color was changed from red to dark blue for Rutis Power.


a). Packing

b). Blade appearance



c). Handle






Rutis Power

Rutis
Wood Construction: Both Rutis and Rutis Power are 3 ply wood +2 ply Carbon design. Rutis’ carbon layer is G-Carbon, G stand for Glass Fiber, it was changed to AD-Carbon for Rutis Power, AD-Carbon and FE-Carbon are two types of new material introduced by Nittaku in 2014, FE-Carbon used by Acoustic Carbon whereas AD-Carbon adopted by Rutis Power, AD-Carbon is a highly compacted carbon structure, stronger offensive with higher bounciness, we also noticed that the center ply thickness for Rutis Power is thicker than Rutis, however overall thickness is less than Rutis; in this case, the AD-Carbon played an important role to produce more power as compared to Rutis even though thickness reduced.

The AD Carbon layer is placed at 2nd layer, Rutis Power increased solidity as compared to Rutis, it reduces the vibration feel and increase bounciness, and enhanced its speed, longer trajectory as well as upgraded its offensiveness.
Up: Nittaku Rutis; Down: Nittaku Rutis Power

Nittaku Rutis Power (Spec ~5.8mm, actual ~ 5.0mm)

Nittaku Rutis (Spec< 5.5mm, actual < 5.0mm)
Generally, by comparing both version of Rutis blade, Rutis Power is an upgraded version which improved offensive capability and more balance in overall perspective.


Parts of content from Table Tennis World, series 258