North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT; Renens, Switzerland) has launched a new composite tube manufacturing process. The patent pending process involves a unique fiber placement capability that has reportedly enabled the first real major technological development in golf shaft manufacturing since the mass adoption of graphite golf shafts in the 1980s.
The fully automated tube winding process enables “perfectly concentric carbon golf shafts that are set to take the golfing world by storm,” the company stated. The shafts were recently launched under the brand name TPT Golf at Evian 2016, having been successfully used by professional golfer Lydia Ko to win her silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
TPT Golf shafts are manufactured using NTPT's Thin Ply Technology lightweight prepreg plies in combination with the new manufacturing process. The result is a perfectly centered and near homogenous shaft giving golfers greater stability during their swing and a better feeling impact that imparts lower spin to the ball - resulting in higher yardage and a lower shot dispersion.
The micro-structure of a thin ply laminate results in higher mechanical properties. Within a golf shaft, or any other tubular product, the use of thinner plies offers nearly unlimited options for fiber angles and fiber type combinations. NTPT’s novel process ensures that each of the carbon plies are laid concentrically, resulting in a symmetrical shaft (or tube) with no spine.
The process also enables a precise control over the ratio of longitudinal plies to off axis plies along the length of the shaft. The resulting uniformity of wall thickness and control of fiber alignment provides a smoothly changing flex profile exactly matching the specific design.
Biomechanical specialist Jean-Jacques Rivet has been instrumental in the development of the range and its performance validation. Golf coach David Leadbetter has also provided technical feedback during the development of the shafts.
Leadbetter says, “In a sport where feel is everything, TPT shafts offer a level of feel to golfers that is completely unique. This is undoubtedly the most technically advanced golf shaft for distance and direction.”
NTPT’s novel composite tube manufacturing process sees its first commercial application on the golf course but the overall potential of this new manufacturing technology includes automotive drive shafts, aircraft struts, windsurf masts, as well as other sports equipment shafts and frames. Those are just a few example applications with the process being ideal for any tubular structures where weight, performance and cost are critical factors.
"We are hugely excited to launch our unique composite tube manufacturing process at Evian 2016 and to bring a truly revolutionary product to the golf market. This is just the beginning of the journey for us, and one in which we can start to see our manufacturing technology being applied to a wide spectrum of performance critical tubular structures,” says NTPT’s CEO James Austin.