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Tennis Balls

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on 20 May 2014

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Transcript of Tennis Balls

Raw Materials
Different Types of Balls
Meet the tennis ball
Today I will specifically closing in on the tennis balls made by Penn. Penn tennis balls have a yellow green like felt covering and a white rubber base. Penn tennis balls have the brands logo placed on the side of the ball for identification, credit and advertizing purposes.
Tennis Balls
Tennis balls are more than just some green thing you can whip at a wall and have it come back. The manufacturing takes a lot more than just a bouncy ball wrapped in felt. Tennis balls are an art during the manufacturing process, exact felt measurements, perfect temperatures, etc.
- Tennis balls are actually pretty difficult to recycle and most go to their 2nd life as anti-scuff devices on the bottom of chair legs. However, the balls from Wimbledon are used as homes for the endangered Eurasian harvest mouse.
Penn Tennis Balls
Penn Logo.
Green, Yellow Felt.
Visible Glue.
Tennis Balls
Tennis Balls were originally balls of leather filled with wool, horse hair and sometimes human hair.
This is not an original tennis ball but a copy by Rag and Bone.
In 1870 vulcanized rubber was used as the outside cover instead of leather. The balls were also then filled with vulcanized air instead of wool, horse or human hair.
The Tennis Balls History
Tennis balls go back as far as the 15Th century. although they go back so far in time they are not the same today as they were originally. Advances in technology, thought out improvement and new materials are all factors that would contribute towards improving the ball.
We eventually started to cover the ball with felt to enforce durability, spin and overall performance. Not all brands of tennis balls are made the same or use the same materials some use different rubber or felt. Some use different air to fill them with too.
-Hollow core filled with air or nitrogen
-Lose bounce quickly after used
-Come in pressurized tubes usually filled with 4 balls
Heavy Duty
High Altitude
-Suited for grass and cement
-When used on clay become too fuzzy
-Used in altitude regions
-Regular balls would have too much bounce in altitude regions
The Felt Cover
The average tennis ball uses a specifically measured combination wool, cotton backing and nylon.
Penn specifically uses a mix of premium rubber, natural rubber and synthetic oil.
Premium Rubber
: Any of various synthetic elastic materials whose properties resemble natural rubber
Natural Rubber
: An elastic material obtained from the latex sap of trees (especially trees of the genera Hevea and Ficus) that can be vulcanized and finished into a variety of products
Synthetic Oil:
Synthetic oil is a lubricant consisting of chemical compounds that are artificially made (synthesized). Synthetic lubricants can be manufactured using chemically modified petroleum components rather than whole crude oil, but can also be synthesized from other raw materials.
Pressurized Air
Pressurized Air:
Compressed air is air kept under a pressure that is greater than atmospheric pressure. It serves many domestic and industrial purposes. In Europe, 10 percent of all industrial electricity consumption is to produce compressed air—amounting to 80 terawatt hours consumption per year
At the Factory- Penn
Rubber Mix
Perfecting the Ball
The ball and felt are then indestructibly bonded in a molder in heat and pressure. The are then put in a steam machine to prepare felt for playing conditions. The balls then move on a conveyer belt where factory workers trim off any excess felt and take out any bad balls. The Penn logos are added and the balls are put in pressurized containers to be shipped of to stores.
Making Half Shells
To begin making the half shells a machine forms special compound pellets that are calibrated to the gram. At high pressure and a temperature about 320* the pellets are put into molds and mushed by a half cylinder mold to make half shells.
Finishing the Half Shells
After the half shells are made they are perfected to the proper height and width with another mold machine. The edge of the half shells are then dipped in a head activating adhesive.
Preparing for Felt
Before the next stage the naked rubber base is bathed in a special glue, the bases final step before the felt is applied. Doggy bone shaped pieces are punched out and bundled tightly. The bundle is then dipped in white glue. The visible white seam is the glue. A special machine only at Penn has 2 arms to apply the felt pieced to the glue dipped base.
This Manufacturing process is specifically at Penn factory's.
As I said before a blend of premium rubber, natural rubber and synthetic crude oil is mixed together for many hours to make the base blend. The blend is then kneaded over and over again until the perfect consistency is achieved.
The half shells just made would have no felt.
At high temperatures pressurized air is inserted while closing the ball and making a base. The base is then molded in another machine to the perfect shape.
Fun Fact

Thanks For Watching!
The Wool
The wool for the tennis balls starts as new zealand sheep's wool. The sheep's hair is grown out until it is 'cot'. The wool is then sheared and begins the transformation to felt.
At the factory the wool is made into felt sheets using multiple conditions and ingredients. The wool is then dyed to the correct color and moves on to the wrapping stage for the Ball.
Felt at the Factory
At the wrapping balls the felt is punched out into doggy bone pieces and a special machine applied them to the ball.
Injection of the air
While the half shells are being closed the pressurized air is injected.
After the balls are finished being made they are sealed into a recyclable can and the cans are then put into boxed that hold about 40 cans. The boxes are loaded onto their trucks and sent off to their location of sale. Penn tennis balls travel all across the country and sometimes they use planes to take them overseas.
Penn produces 13,000 tennis balls an hour and since these are all being made the majority is being bought. You can find tennis ball at most multipurpose stored like Costco, Walmart and at specific sport and tennis stores.
Helping the Earth
The game is already doing some 'green' things with recyclable ball holder and having a second life for the ball but there is still more. What is the balls were made more durable, a stronger felt? Maybe a protective cover on balls? Relating to the transportation issue doing it all by truck could a train work. it would hold a lot more balls and deliver more amounts to all the stores. Trains also cause pollution but the more they deliver the less shipments they have to make.
Full transcript