Aldila’s VS Proto Golf Shaft is Wrapped up in
It’s really simple to develop a successful graphite golf shaft. All you have to do is come up with a great-looking design that has an eye-catching paint finish and a clever name. Oh, it also helps if you can convince the best players in the world to shaft their clubs with your product.
You may chuckle at this over simplified developmental plan, but many golfers don’t fully comprehend the serious technology behind the flashy exterior of these designs. John Oldenburg, Aldila’s Vice President of Engineering and Product Development, hopes that clubmakers and golfers will appreciate the complexity of the new VS Proto ‘By You’ composite shaft.
“Our challenge was to use the latest in material advancements to improve our patented Micro Laminate Technology™ (MLT),” Oldenburg said. “Once you find something that works like MLT, you keep testing the boundaries.”
Most graphite shafts consist of eight to 12 fairly thick (0.006") graphite prepeg layers in their designs. Aldila’s NV Series graphite shafts with MLT consist of 20 to 30 layers. Since the introduction of the NV graphite shaft for woods in 2004, Oldenburg and the rest of Aldila’s R&D team have developed models that feature a higher launch profile (NVS) and even matching graphite shafts for irons (NV MLT).
Now, the new VS Proto ‘By You’ composite shaft incorporates lightweight, super-strong carbon nanotube particles into Aldila’s proprietary A65 Performance Resin System.
Why is a lighter, stronger material important to the continued success of MLT? Oldenburg says that clubmakers must first understand that a graphite shaft is made up of a large number of semi-rectangular, flat sheets of material that are wrapped around a tapered steel tool. Seams naturally exist where the starting edge and the trailing edge of each of the material patterns overlap. If the sheet is thicker the seams will also be thicker. Thinner materials minimize inconsistency caused by these overlapping seams.
The veteran engineer is quick to point out that it is easy to damage the structural integrity of the shaft design if the material is too thin. Infusing the carbon resin with nanotubes that are stronger and lighter in weight helps produce the desired uniformity that promotes a better-playing golf shaft.
“The VS Proto is the culmination of two years of research,” Oldenburg said. “We wanted to make sure that we truly improved MLT.”