Innovating High-Performance, Action Bowling Ball Cores with SOLIDWORKS
While Brunswick Bowling Products designs and manufactures everything required to build, maintain, and operate a bowling center, it’s Consumer Products Group focuses on products for individual bowlers, and when it comes to bowling balls, SOLIDWORKS Standard 3D design software has helped bring ball core design to the next level.
The name Brunswick is synonymous with bowling. Not only did
John Moses Brunswick found the company that took bowling
out of fancy Victorian parlors and into the public arena, his son-in-
law, Moses Bensinger, standardized the rules for the game
and organized the first American Bowling Congress (ABC) in
1895, which held the first significant bowling tournament in
1902. The ABC (now the United States Bowling Congress, USBC)
has become a prominent fixture in competitive, professional
bowling, and is responsible for developing the professional game
and global appeal that the sport enjoys today.
While Brunswick Bowling Products designs and manufactures
everything required to build, maintain, and operate a bowling
center, the company’s Consumer Products Group focuses
on products for individual bowlers, including bowling balls,
bags, shoes, and accessories. Until 2001, the company used
AutoCAD® 2D and Mechanical Desktop® design tools to develop
its products. But they needed a more intuitive 3D design
platform to run the mass properties calculations, cavity parts out
of assemblies, and provide the design visualization necessary to
advance bowling ball core research and development, according
to Research and Development Core Engineer Aaron Koch.
“I design cores for Brunswick bowling balls, which are a part of
the ball that influences the performance hook on which today’s
bowlers rely,” Koch explains. “Over the last decade, we’ve
introduced a range of innovations in ball core design for which
3D design played an important role. I joined the company
after the decision was made to standardize on SOLIDWORKS®
Standard 3D design software in 2001, but I’ve benefited
greatly from the move because SOLIDWORKS is the tool that
helps me achieve our Research and Development product development goals.”
Brunswick Bowling Products evaluated the SOLIDWORKS
and Pro/ENGINEER® 3D design packages before choosing
SOLIDWORKS software because it was easier to use, offered
a more intuitive workflow, and made getting up to speed and
performing tasks faster. “My background is in bowling and
physics, and SOLIDWORKS is the only CAD software that I’ve
used,” Koch notes. “In addition to helping me do my job, I
enjoy working in SOLIDWORKS immensely.”
The Hook: Radius of Gyration Meets Moment of Inertia
Brunswick leveraged SOLIDWORKS software to develop the
innovative bowling ball cores that have advanced bowling ball
hooking performance. Using SOLIDWORKS, Brunswick can
accurately model and control ball dynamics to produce designs
that hook sooner or later on a lane, or perform better on oily,
dry, or mixed lanes.
“The hook spot, the point on the lane where the ball changes
direction, is greatly influenced by the ball’s moment of inertia,”
Koch explains. “We can control when and how much the ball
will hook by varying the density of the materials used in a ball’s
inner and outer core, and by altering the shape and mass of the
inner core to increase or decrease the radius of gyration (RG),
as well as the differential between the maximum and minimum
RG. With SOLIDWORKS, I can clearly visualize the core design
and use mass properties to maintain the integrity of design
dynamics while changing the densities of the inner and outer
cores to achieve the desired performance.”
Dynamic Topo Map for Bowling Ball Cores
As Brunswick continued to utilize SOLIDWORKS, Koch took
advantage of the software’s automation flexibility to develop
a macro that applies RG contours to bowling ball core designs
in a manner similar to topographical maps. “Instead of lines
showing differences in elevation, SOLIDWORKS lets me create
contours that show variations in the RG,” Koch explains.
“The macro uses SOLIDWORKS mass properties to measure the
RG at different planes and fixed points and a coordinate system
to apply lines similar to longitude and latitude. The macro then
maps RG levels by contours,” Koch continues. “With these RG
contours, I can gauge how the axis of rotation will migrate on
a design, which is extremely beneficial when designing more
sophisticated, performance bowling balls.”
Core Adaptations Spawn DV8
With SOLIDWORKS, Brunswick developed ball cores that
extended the range of performance variations in Brunswick
bowling balls, and created and introduced an entirely new
line of bowling balls under the DV8 brand. With model names
like Deviant, Ruckus, and Zombie, the DV8 targets a younger
audience with brighter colors, an edgier look, and more
“On DV8 cores, we’ve created high-performance hooking balls
that have more identifiable cores—some with more angular
shapes and others with recognizable characteristics like a
skull,” Koch says. “Using SOLIDWORKS, we can quickly develop
cores to achieve new levels of performance, and then use
PhotoView 360 to produce ball core cutaways for marketing
materials for both Brunswick and DV8 bowling balls.”
Advance bowling ball core research to develop performance bowling balls that provide a range of actions to support varying lane conditions.
"With SOLIDWORKS, I can clearly visualize the core design and use mass properties to maintain the integrity of design dynamics while changing the densities of the inner and outer cores to achieve the desired performance."
-Aaron Koch, Research and Development Core Engineer
Using the automation flexibility of SOLIDWORKS design software, Brunswick Bowling Products was able to plot radius of gyration (RG) contours on the inner core of its bowling ball designs. This proved to be extremely beneficial for extending the range of performance variations in Brunswick bowling balls through its DV8 brand, including the Nightmare inner ball core shown here.
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