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Equipment Specification Team Releases New Pin Specification

The USBC Specifications and Certifications team has implemented a new specification for tenpin permit renewals. The specification, recently approved by the Equipment Specifications and Certifications Committee, applies to the 2010/2011 season and will only affect manufacturers. The USBC will now be able to ensure that the pins manufactured annually are comparable to the material of the originally approved pin. “This specification will ensure that the materials within an approved pin do not change from year to year.” Stated Neil Stremmel, Vice President - NGB. “This includes the pin coat, clear coat and pin base material. This is important in verifying that the scorability of an approved pin does not change from batch to batch or year to year as the manufacturers remake the pins for the start of each league season.”

The specification utilizes infrared spectroscopy; specifically, an instrument called a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy or FT-IR. It takes energy to “wiggle” a molecular bond and when one particular infrared wavelength of light has been absorbed we know a particular molecular bond is present.

There are three main pieces in infrared spectroscopy: a light source, a sample, and a detector. The source produces the energy, or light, needed to wiggle the bonds. The sample absorbs that radiation (or doesn’t) and the detector measures the light that is not absorbed. FT-IR is a useful laboratory technique for measuring the likeness of one material to another.

Three steps were involved in the developmental phase of this specification. Step one consisted of a gauge repeatability and reproducibility study to determine the measurement uncertainty of the instrument itself. Steps two and three pertained to manufacturing variability. With this part of the study, USBC was able to determine the manufacturing variability of the material used throughout the pin itself and from one pin to another. A percent similarity could then be quantified from the data obtained in developmental phase.

“This percent of similarity was scientifically determined and verified over the past several months by the team.” Lanna Longorio, USBC Research Chemist stated. “We have since notified the pin manufacturers of their new requirements.”