Why in the world is it so darned hard for racquet manufacturers...

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Why in the world is it so hard for darned racquet manufacturers to match/meet their own published specs?

OK... I get the fact it's just a bunch of guys gluing graphite strips together and as in anything hand made, there is going to be some variability.


I would think it would be simple to to add enough material up front at specific locations which can then be milled away later. After the grommets are drilled, each frame would be weighed/measured, tagged with a barcode then would go through a milling process to get spot on deadweight, swingweight and balance. I doubt it would add significant cost.

It just seems that the manufacturers would rather spend the money on the PJ and marketing.

Bit frustrated that the Pure Strike 16x19 I bought recently weighs 0.5oz heavier than the one I had. That's like wooden racquet variability...
 
Pacific uses Fischers vacuum technology that lets them get on spec... part of the problem is that the racquets arent just graphite... there are resin binding materials... if that amount isnt consistent the frames get off spec. Also using several factories for the same racquet doesnt help.

Basically it takes what Angell does... working closely with your supply lines and fabricators. If you pay attention to that your specs are more in line. Ane thing Angell does is use the variance... if you want one that has a little higher swingweight he will pick it out for you. I think Tennis Warehouse will do something similar for you if you use their matching service.

Overall the racquet industry is going in a bad direction... removing popular frames and replacing them with cheaper to produce stiffer frames with new paint jobs. They arent listening to the players enough. Head and Wilson have been chasing Babolat and in doing so have undermined their own brands somewhat. Babolat does well enough by following their own muse.

Head having the #1 and #2 male players in the world should have an advantage but they dont sell what those players use.... you can buy something with similar paint though.
 
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West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Why in the world is it so hard for darned racquet manufacturers to match/meet their own published specs?...I would think it would be simple to to add enough material up front at specific locations which can then be milled away later. After the grommets are drilled, each frame would be weighed/measured, tagged with a barcode then would go through a milling process to get spot on deadweight, swingweight and balance. I doubt it would add significant cost.
In the aerospace/automotive worlds, we call that 'touch labor' (work done after the fact) - and it's not cheap (a little more than painting pros sticks a different shade every two yrs.). And we add 'sacrificial plys' - not for weight but for fit - sanded off until the carbon fiber part will mate with the neighboring ones in the assembly.

FYI - 'milling' carbon fiber (and metals for that matter) is very expensive. The machines aren't cheap; you'd have to develop 'tooling' to hold the stick.

FYI2 - what is 'spot on'? In Engineering there's always a tolerance.

Did you buy this online? At the best price? You could choose to buy in-store - carry your own scale and only buy if they have one that meets your tolerance (.1 or .2 oz?). Yeah, you'll get looks.

Have you emailed TW? I thought in another thread it was mentioned they would check before shipping.

PS - 0.5oz is a lot.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Basically it takes what Angell does... working closely with your supply lines and fabricators. If you pay attention to that your specs are more in line. Ane thing Angell does is use the variance... if you want one that has a little higher swingweight he will pick it out for you. I think Tennis Warehouse will do something similar for you if you use their matching service.
Yeah, but Angell's position has little similarity with some big brand position.
Angell can always count on selection, matching customers with sticks, using the best real life stick for a certain customizaton etc.
But the big guys lower production cost at all cost :) the name of the game was never just to survive on the market. The name of the game is to earn as much as you can. And let's be honest...specs variance is not at all an obstacle for the majority of buyers. Rare ones buy more than one racquet, rare ones even know about variance issues, they don't care at all about it accordingly.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
In the aerospace/automotive worlds, we call that 'touch labor' (work done after the fact) - and it's not cheap (a little more than painting pros sticks a different shade every two yrs.). And we add 'sacrificial plys' - not for weight but for fit - sanded off until the carbon fiber part will mate with the neighboring ones in the assembly.

FYI - 'milling' carbon fiber (and metals for that matter) is very expensive. The machines aren't cheap; you'd have to develop 'tooling' to hold the stick.

FYI2 - what is 'spot on'? In Engineering there's always a tolerance.

Did you buy this online? At the best price? You could choose to buy in-store - carry your own scale and only buy if they have one that meets your tolerance (.1 or .2 oz?). Yeah, you'll get looks.

Have you emailed TW? I thought in another thread it was mentioned they would check before shipping.

PS - 0.5oz is a lot.
I purchased it online... Yes I do realize there is matching available. 0.5 oz is a lot but I don't think is uncommon.
I'd be happy with tolerance not discernible on my kitchen scale. ~0.1oz or less dead weight (All the new Yonex Japan frames I've come across have been).

In a previous life I worked in the automotive industry and spent a part of my time programming and maintaining machining inlines before CNC machines became commonplace. With volume, the costs come down quickly. But we're not talking about subtracting a LOT of material in a complex shape. But I can go in a different direction. How about additive weighing? Several spots in the racquet that allow weight plugs to be added. Like swing weight adjustment in golf clubs.

I don't think tennis racquets are unique... We are left to mediocrity many places else...
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
... Yes ...additive weighing...
I guess we'll agree to disagree. I think 'mediocrity' is a little over the top. Much more complex manufacturing processes than milling AL, Ti, or steel. You can add your own weight - silicone in the handle, lead pretty much anywhere.

How much would you guys be willing to pay to get the desired tolerances? You guys can say they make enough profit already. But even most engineering majors take at least 1 Econ class (I did) - customer don't tell sellers what their profit should be (took me a while to wrap my head around that as a 19 year old...).

PS - did you send that one back?
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
Because as said the vast majority of people who buy a racquet dont have accurate scales to weigh their racquets exactly, nor do they care enough to do so.

Only a very small number of crazies on TT know their racquet specs and SW etc and care enough about it. Why would they introduce all that extra cost for us?

If one of your strikes was 7g over spec and one was 7g under spec that would make the difference you mention, and still be within manu tolerances for Bab i think?
 

newpball

Legend
It just seems that the manufacturers would rather spend the money on the PJ and marketing.
Not the manufacturers, the brands do!

And, guess what, the average customer only wants heavily marketed rackets because they think they are 'obviously better'.

:D
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Wait a minute!
YOU pick a Babolot ..or Wilson.. and is surprised the specs between seemingly identical model racket's are off ???????
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Wait a minute!
YOU pick a Babolot ..or Wilson.. and is surprised the specs between seemingly identical model racket's are off ???????
1 example... In my experience...

Dunlop... no better
Prince... no better
Head... no better

Yonex is the best with Volkl 2nd.

Haven't owned or strung multiples of any other brands when new.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
My experience differs...
Bought my two Mfil 200's two year's apart, two different dealers, and they are very very close. I have different strings in each.
Bought my two Bio300T's, one from TW, one from the local shop, and they are almost identical in weight, balance, and flex.
Did buy 3 of my Aero500's from TW, but along a span of 14 months. They are so close to identical it's scary, so I use different grips on each.
My 4DAero300's are too close to tell, having the same strings, so once again, I use different grips to delineate between 90 hours strings and 7 hour strings. Yes, the 7 hour strings are more lively, just a bit, and seem to be able to hit slightly harder than the old used up strings, but a change of racket to 5 series makes much more difference, even with 6 year old strings.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I guess we'll agree to disagree. I think 'mediocrity' is a little over the top. Much more complex manufacturing processes than milling AL, Ti, or steel. You can add your own weight - silicone in the handle, lead pretty much anywhere.

How much would you guys be willing to pay to get the desired tolerances? You guys can say they make enough profit already. But even most engineering majors take at least 1 Econ class (I did) - customer don't tell sellers what their profit should be (took me a while to wrap my head around that as a 19 year old...).

PS - did you send that one back?
What makes you think it's complicated? There are guys machining carbon fiber and fabricating in their garages/basements already. Just a few layers of extra material at specific locations.


The complicated part is coming up with the algorythm and setting up the manufacturing line.... But apparently that part of the budget went to marketing. I understand it's partly due to the consumer who is more interested in PJ and marketing than quality.

I took the wrap off the handle then weighed it. Did not send back. it's strung now anyway.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
My experience differs...
Bought my two Mfil 200's two year's apart, two different dealers, and they are very very close. I have different strings in each.
Bought my two Bio300T's, one from TW, one from the local shop, and they are almost identical in weight, balance, and flex.
Did buy 3 of my Aero500's from TW, but along a span of 14 months. They are so close to identical it's scary, so I use different grips on each.
My 4DAero300's are too close to tell, having the same strings, so once again, I use different grips to delineate between 90 hours strings and 7 hour strings. Yes, the 7 hour strings are more lively, just a bit, and seem to be able to hit slightly harder than the old used up strings, but a change of racket to 5 series makes much more difference, even with 6 year old strings.
The Bio300T is the most recent of those sticks... Isn't that stick like 5 years old now? Are you as confident in the most recent Dunlop line? Including the iDapt?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
The Bio300T is the most recent of those sticks... Isn't that stick like 5 years old now? Are you as confident in the most recent Dunlop line? Including the iDapt?
I would never consider the cocept of Idapt, ever.
The newer lines seems pretty good, and some player's here use them and really like them.
I"m still considering buying another F5T, but I think it's stiffer than I can really use, based on using them alternating with my weighted Aero500's, which are F4 like in flex.
Another racket I"m close to trying is the M-2. It's weight exactly where I like it, flex also, and hoping a smaller head might mean some precision on my unwiedy serving game. Would consider stringing it at around 30 lbs.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
What makes you think it's complicated?
You need to re-read my 1st post on this - I don't think it's complicated - I know it is. Working with these new materials is nothing like the old days of cutting parts out of metals. There are so many more variables involved. But you're not interested in learning - you just want to complain about profits, marketing and paint jobs.

I took the wrap off the handle then weighed it. Did not send back. it's strung now anyway.
So shame on you. To you, it's a big deal - but you're too lazy to send it back. Cutting that plastic off didn't mean you couldn't send it back.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
You need to re-read my 1st post on this - I don't think it's complicated - I know it is. Working with these new materials is nothing like the old days of cutting parts out of metals. There are so many more variables involved. But you're not interested in learning - you just want to complain about profits, marketing and paint jobs.

So shame on you. To you, it's a big deal - but you're too lazy to send it back. Cutting that plastic off didn't mean you couldn't send it back.
Yes shame on me...

But your first post has no technical detail. Since you are the knowledgeable guy here... Explain it.. With engineering and science rather than "I know its expensive". I have an MSEE and have worked with low cost contract manufacturers for years on mass manufactured electronics. Vital product data, calibration, personalization, etc.. Costs are nothing when the tooling is amortized into tens of thousands of units (not quite the aircraft industry here). If it's carbon fiber that's difficult to machine, the sacrificial weight could be something else. To tag each racquet with an nfc or rfid device weigh/measure, then machine to spec will add cost but my estimation would be a few dollars vs tens of dollars.

Several millions of dollars in tooling amortized into Several millions of units (entire product portfolio - tennis, squash, racquetball, badminton...) over multiple years) adds almost nothing to the cost. Contract manufacturers also tend to spread the tooling cost across multiple customers. One does not need to pay for a semiconductor fab to build an iPhone.

Is it really too costly and too hard? Or is it more like no one cares (myself included since I didn't send the frame back) and the ROI is greater in the millions spent on marketing.

But seriously... Explain the details of machining carbon fiber with volume in mind.
 

stules

Rookie
I was in a tennis shop in Tokyo recently.
The racquets on the wall wer all on pegs with between 4 and 10 of each model, and grouped by manufacturer.
Every single rqcquet was marked with a hand written label showing the weight, balance and SW. Interesting reading.
I don't think they would do that if the customers didn't care.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I was in a tennis shop in Tokyo recently.
The racquets on the wall wer all on pegs with between 4 and 10 of each model, and grouped by manufacturer.
Every single rqcquet was marked with a hand written label showing the weight, balance and SW. Interesting reading.
I don't think they would do that if the customers didn't care.
Why am I not surprised that the Japanese would do this. BTW... New Yonex frames I've measured were all within 0.01oz of each other. Never had a pair of new Prokennex frames though (just a single).
 

Readers

Professional
Wilson and Prince hasn't been bad for me in term of matching each other or to listed spec. Donnay on other hand is sooooo bad with this, the pair of matched gold 99 I ordered, wasn't exactly matched and came with 20g+ lead tape,lots of them in the place I hate too, top of the handle.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Never had a pair of new Prokennex frames though (just a single).
I purchased a pair of PK Pro 7G and they were less than 1 gram different in mass; same balance and SW. I think when the frames are manufactured in less quantity, the QC is better. Of course, I wasn't interested in the latest technology.
 

LuchoVena

Rookie
My friend's Textreme 100s I strung for him, the pair are 10 g apart from each other. -4 and +6 from the supposedly standard weight that appeared on his frame. Didnt check with TW posted avgs though. All this time he thought one felt more powerful than the other was due to different strings (at the time he had different strings that I didnt do)
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
I think we've already established that some companies do far better at meeting specs than others at the price point, so the question is why some don't prioritise this as much?
 

Simplicius

Semi-Pro
I would think it would be simple to to add enough material up front at specific locations which can then be milled away later.
Just a few layers of extra material at specific locations.
Dear eelhc, could you please explain this better?
Is the racquet's frame width a spec that have to be the same too?
Those "few layers of extra material" are going to change the width (among others).
Am I missing something?
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Dear eelhc, could you please explain this better?
Is the racquet's frame width a spec that have to be the same too?
Those "few layers of extra material" are going to change the width (among others).
Am I missing something?
I'm less concerned with the exact dimensions of the racquet vs the dead weight, swing weight and balance. The dimensions are controlled via the machined mold so there's going to be very little little variability.

Add a little extra weight up front and machine it away later on to nail these specs spot on.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
There doesn't seem to be any business incentive to meet close spec tolerances; the most successful racquet companies coincidentally seem to be the ones with the most complaints about this issue here.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Why in the world is it so hard for darned racquet manufacturers to match/meet their own published specs?
what is 'spot on'? In Engineering there's always a tolerance.
cause the sh**'s made in china and the rac manufacturers arent paying extra to get the tolerances exact for rec players. it's all about margins ...
'Enough said! You can do the same thing the players do and match up your rackets or pay the price to have it done.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
'Enough said! You can do the same thing the players do and match up your rackets or pay the price to have it done.
I do agree some basic measuring tools and a bit of lead tape will do the trick.

That said... why even publish a spec if the tolerances can so sloppy? The manufacturers get away with it because most people don't care enough about it even though +/- 1/2 oz does make a difference.

TW racquet playtests are almost entirely subjective. They could easily measure a dozen racquets for deadweight, swingweight and balance and grade manufacturing quality. Entirely objective and IMO more helpful than how the testers fared.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
 

LuchoVena

Rookie
at least specs give you an idea would be like in order to make a decision. I guess they treat the same way, and why would they care, most consumers by far much dont check their equipment, they just buy them coz of the paintjob and if they see a player they like using that paintjob

guess the problem does start when you get two entirely different from each other. oh well.

for those that do pay attention, you probably already know a bit and add some weight to at least match deadweight and balance. maybe get lucky with swingweights. but if you do really want them exactly done, get some one who really knows that they are doing. pony up again for it, tough luck.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
at least specs give you an idea would be like in order to make a decision. I guess they treat the same way, and why would they care, most consumers by far much dont check their equipment, they just buy them coz of the paintjob and if they see a player they like using that paintjob

guess the problem does start when you get two entirely different from each other. oh well.

for those that do pay attention, you probably already know a bit and add some weight to at least match deadweight and balance. maybe get lucky with swingweights. but if you do really want them exactly done, get some one who really knows that they are doing. pony up again for it, tough luck.
The tolerance is such that (+/- 0.5oz, 14 grams) the specs don't even get it in the ballpark/right church. I think quite a few players would notice if I added 14 grams of lead tape to their racquet.

But you're right of course... so long as consumers buy based on endorsements, paint job and marketing... no racquet company is going to spend another penny on quality. In the end... we get the products we deserve because most of us don't know enough or care enough to demand better.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Blaming the consumer is always the wrong argument because most of the real power is in the hands of the manufacturer.

The tolerance is such that (+/- 0.5oz, 14 grams) the specs don't even get it in the ballpark/right church. I think quite a few players would notice if I added 14 grams of lead tape to their racquet.

But you're right of course... so long as consumers buy based on endorsements, paint job and marketing... no racquet company is going to spend another penny on quality. In the end... we get the products we deserve because most of us don't know enough or care enough to demand better.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Blaming the consumer is always the wrong argument because most of the real power is in the hands of the manufacturer.
Only because consumers are too stupid and too lazy.... Manufacturers are behaving in a predictable manner. I would too if hardly any of my customers cared about quality control.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
You like to feel yourself above the normal consumer. It's a form of narcissism, that's all.

Consumers are as predictable as manufacturers, but it's largely manufacturers who define what one should look for in a racquet.

You are also not talking about quality control, but conformity to spec.

There are laws that protect consumers from poor quality control, but not conformity to spec if it is within parameters.

Only because consumers are too stupid and too lazy.... Manufacturers are behaving in a predictable manner. I would too if hardly any of my customers cared about quality control.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
You like to feel yourself above the normal consumer. It's a form of narcissism, that's all.

Consumers are as predictable as manufacturers, but it's largely manufacturers who define what one should look for in a racquet.

You are also not talking about quality control, but conformity to spec.

There are laws that protect consumers from poor quality control, but not conformity to spec if it is within parameters.
My feelings have nothing to do with it... but since you mention it, what do you say about a person who sits behind a computer and makes character judgement of others? Is that a form of narcissism as well?

Variability to spec is in fact attributable to quality control depending on how it varies. Consider the textbook example is the sharpshooter who is off the target/spec in a tight grouping (little variation) vs the one is near/on the target/spec but whose shots are more scattered. The sharpshooter with the closer grouping has better quality control but needs to be calibrated. If all the racquets from a manufacturer were within 0.1oz of each other, I might not complain so much even if they were bit off spec. But when 2 brand new racquets are 0.5oz apart, that's poor quality control.

I'm pretty sure circuit breakers have to conform to spec to meet electric code and yes... there are tolerances built around it.

In any case we know it's possible... good golf clubs are flex, frequency, torque, deadweight and swingweight matched. Golfers must be more narcissistic than tennis players.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
You accused consumers of being 'too stupid and too lazy' and yet you have the audacity of accusing me of making a 'character judgement'?

I was not making a 'character judgement', in any event, but merely describing your self-positioning as 'narcissistic'.

It is only a lack of quality control if it varies from the manufacturer's zone of tolerance around spec.

I don't think sharpshooting is the right comparison as spec differences do not influence control, but only suitability for the user.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
You accused consumers of being 'too stupid and too lazy' and yet you have the audacity of accusing me of making a 'character judgement'?

I was not making a 'character judgement', in any event, but merely describing your self-positioning as 'narcissistic'.

It is only a lack of quality control if it varies from the manufacturer's zone of tolerance around spec.

I don't think sharpshooting is the right comparison as spec differences do not influence control, but only suitability for the user.
Yes and i include myself in that consumer group. I bought the racquets didn't I?

The sharpshooter example is not mine. It's a classic textbook example taught in quality classes and any quality engineer would rather have the tighter group even if they are off target.

To give another example... would you rather buy from a shoe manufacturer whose shoes run 1 size too small consistently or from one whose shoe sizes could be -1/2 to +1/2? The 2nd manufacturer is always closer to spec. The first has better quality control.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
I am not arguing against tighter specs. I am merely arguing against blaming the consumer for the decisions of the manufacturer.

I bought a Blade a half an ounce heavier than the on-spec one I had as a favour to a friend who was moving back to the RF line.

After I got over the shock of the difference, I treated it merely as the Blade 98 Tour that they never made.

Wilson and Babolat seem to sell well regardless of specs and treat differences as after-market sales solutions.

You really have to accept this or move on. You can't keep blaming consumers for allowing them to get away with something you don't approve of.
 

MathieuR

Professional
it's a chicken-egg situation. The ingredients:

- production costs of a mass produced frame $20-30 (look at the selling price of a pro's pro frame. Producing a Head/Wilson/whatever is not more expensive)
- development costs for new frame are minimal. Last 15 years I did not see any "real" changes in design and materials
- to survive, the brands (is NOT same as the manufacturers) have to produce "shareholders-value" --> turnover/profit
- to produce turnover, the tennissport needs to be popular. So, make sure there is an interesting professional circuit (which costs "a lot")
- the professionals are used to promote the "new" products.

For most recreational players one frame can serve them well for 10-20 years (grommets need to be repaired/renewed though).

As for most players the production-tolerances make no difference for their game, why would the brands care? For them "it works" this way. No reason to change a profit making strategy.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
As for most players the production-tolerances make no difference for their game, why would the brands care? For them "it works" this way. No reason to change a profit making strategy.
0.5 oz/14 grams is a lot. Like I said... most players would notice that much lead tape added between 2 otherwise identical racquets.

But I think you're right partly because most players just purchase 1 frame. How would they know in that case?

Remember this one?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_FDIV_bug

Intel made a PR mistake by initially offering to replace processors for only those who could prove they were affected. Only after consumer outrage, they offered to replace for everyone.

Can you imagine if consumers called out the racquet companies on the difference and they responded "prove that your game is good enough that it makes a difference?".

As consumers, we've had our say... We care more about who endorses the racquet and fancy paint jobs than quality.

That all said... it's not surprising a Japanese company (Yonex) has the best quality control. I wonder if that's true for their recent China production racquets though.

Can anyone comment on the new Dunlop Srixon frames?
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
1 example... In my experience...

Dunlop... no better
Prince... no better
Head... no better

Yonex is the best with Volkl 2nd.

Haven't owned or strung multiples of any other brands when new.
Maybe I just got lucky but I recently bought two Prince racquets from two different sellers and they were within 5 grams of total weight and the balance point was also spot on.
 

ricki

Hall of Fame
Maybe I just got lucky but I recently bought two Prince racquets from two different sellers and they were within 5 grams of total weight and the balance point was also spot on.
Prince was perfect in "EXO3" days - I have several pairs of racquets from different sources (that auction portal) and they are differing basically in 1-3 grams.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Yonex not longer make their frames in Japan?
They started making some of their frames in China. Up until earlier this year, they used to specify which frames where made in Japan or China on their website.... that is no longer the case.
 

Alex78

Hall of Fame
All my Dunlops meet their specifications very, very closely. Can't say that for any other brand I have racquets from, including Yonex and Pacific.
 
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