Sunday, June 15, 2014

Science of FIFA's Pakistan-made Brazuca Ball for Brazil World Cup 2014

Pakistan is manufacturing and supplying footballs for use in all 64 matches of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. In addition, most European football leagues have place huge orders to buy Brazuca balls designed by Adidas and made in Pakistan.

Brazuca Ball Source: BBC 
Brazuca football is made from six identical propeller shaped polyurethane pieces glued to a rubber bladder and thermally bonded together. It weighs 437 grams and measures 69 cm in circumference. Pakistan produces the high-quality polyurethane used in manufacturing Brazuca football panels. Brazuca is quite different from the traditional soccer balls which have historically been made of leather pieces stitched together in Sialkot, Pakistan. Polyurethane balls are water-resistant and maintain their shape much better than the leather balls under a variety of conditions in terms of temperature, pressure and humidity. Leather balls have a problem specially  if they soak up the water when it rains during play. Pakistan was chosen to supply the ball after China, the supplier of Jabulani for 2010 World Cup, was unable to meet FIFA's requirements.

Pakistan has not only earned the honor of manufacturing the ball that will be used in FIFA 2014 matches but also outdone both India and China in supplying tens of millions of footballs to European nations that place bulk orders for promotional purposes, according to India's Economic Times.

The Brazuca design is an improvement on the Jabulani ball used in 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Jabulani was too smooth with shallow seams, a problem that has been fixed in the Brazuca by adding raise nub texture and creating deeper seams making its flight more predictable.

The 2010 Jabulani ball had eight panels. The 2006 ball had 14. Before that, the balls were made of 32 internally-stitched panels. By decreasing the number of panels, they decreased the seams, creating a smoother surface. This smoother surface allows it to travel at higher speeds before it started knuckling. Knuckling is when the ball wobbles in the air, following an unpredictable flight path. It's a tool for strikers, a menace for goalkeepers. Researchers at the Center for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK measured the seams of the Jabulani and the Brazuca, and found that the Jabulani's seams are about .48 mm deep compared to 1.56 mm for the Brazuca. The seams on the Brazuca stretch to 327 cm, compared to 203 cm on the Jabulani.

The Brazuca ball went through a range of scientific tests to assure that it would complement the players' skills on the field, rather than adding a skill set all its own. "We do extensive flight path analysis and the results have shown constant and predictable paths, with deviations hardly recognizable," Matthias Mecking told the BBC. Mecking is Adidas's football director. "We've come full circle," NASA Ames Research Center scientist Ravi Mehta told the CBS News. "It's back to knuckling at about 30mph."  He was not involved in the design but has tested the ball. Another important factor, he says, is the amount of friction between the ball and the player's boot. Dr Mehta explained that when a relatively smooth ball with seams flies through the air without much spin, the air close to the surface is affected by the seams, producing an asymmetric flow. This asymmetry creates forces that can suddenly knock the ball, causing volatile swoops.

Those who are familiar with the cricket ball know that seams and rough surfaces play a crucial role in how the bowler can make it swing in flight, a technique pioneered by Pakistan's Waqar Younis.  Knuckle ball technique used by some Baseball pitchers is similar. The use of seams and roughness of the ball are tools for the bowler or pitcher but a menace for the batsman or batter at the other end.

Here's a video about Sialkot factory manufacturing Brazuca:


Adidas Brazuca being made in Pakistan by Lahorevideos
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9 comments:

Monis said...

Impressive curving ability during flight. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into its design. I've been admiring is dynamics during the matches.

Javed said...

Also these are machine stitched whilst the other was hand

Riaz Haq said...

Javed: "Also these are machine stitched whilst the other was hand"

There's no stitching. Brazuca's 6 propeller shaped panels are thermally bonded

Siraj said...

I was not knowing this Riaz. I was happy to read this --

Looking at how busy they are in competing with each other in propagating depressing news it is no wonder Pakistan TV channels and press media have little time to portray such news items.

Or was I not very attentive?

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan-made World Cup 2014 soccer ball starts football fever now sweeping Pakistan:

While Lyari remain the leaders when it comes to the Fifa World Cup fan-following, other regions of Pakistan are only some distance behind in their fervent passion for the tournament.
The spectacle seems more of a movement than a sports event for the youth – and even the older fans – in the country.

Two of such examples are Chaman and Quetta, where the fans are quick to assure that their dedication to football is no less than what is witnessed in Lyari.
“We have nothing but football,” former national captain Essa Khan told The Express Tribune from Chaman. “Everyone is glued to the big screen. In Chaman, we have three places where screenings are taking place and people gather around.
“In my own club we have a screen, and until the last match, we had approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people congregated at just one venue. It speaks volumes about how my city feels about the sport.”
Meanwhile, Essa said that Thursdays are the most crowded days, and fans pour out to watch the matches till the morning.

“It’s all overwhelming. In Chaman, we actually don’t have any other sport. It’s amazing how this crowd stays even if everyone can’t see the screen. They’ll hear the commentary, even if they don’t understand it. But they stick around all night till dawn, discussing the results after the match.”
Similarly, traders coming from the Afghan border also stay. Essa says every single World Cup match has been screened at his academy and spectators showed up every time.
Meanwhile in Quetta, former national player Jadeed Khan said that the football fans have brought their jerseys and are following matches religiously.
“There aren’t any big screenings in the city due to the law-and-order situation, but we all gather around to see our favourite teams play,” said Jadeed.
Islamabad catches up on sleep during the day
According to Islamabad Football Association officials Zaklir Naqvi, the World Cup fever has grown exponentially in the city.
“The best example that I can give is that we were having a seven-a-side tournament last week, and most of the players would show up sleepy in the day, because they were up watching the World Cup matches,” elaborated Naqvi.

“The World Cup is a part of life at the moment; most of the youngsters and even players are either playing or watching football, even the girls. There are screenings in Islamabad too.”
Laiba, an eight-year-old-girl in Islamabad, plays football every morning on the streets.
She said that even though she has no idea about the rules of the game, she knows that as a goalkeeper, it is her job to ensure that the ball needs to be stopped from passing the goal-line made by pieces of rock.
Peshawar lags behind
PAF football club coach Arshad Khan says that the craze has not picked up in Peshawar yet....

http://tribune.com.pk/story/723695/feature-world-cup-inflates-football-passion-across-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

England, Italy and Spain are out of the World Cup in the first round in Brazil.

It seems Brazuca lets any player, even ordinary ones, bend it like Beckham...neutralizing the advantages more skilled players have.

It's full of upsets and surprises!!! Is it German-designed Pakistan-made Brazuca ball playing tricks????

Riaz Haq said...

In one of the oldest, poorest neighborhoods in the Pakistani megacity of Karachi, a place known mostly for the violence and gang warfare that have ravaged the area since the late 1990s, there is another legacy that goes much further back: soccer.

Cricket dominates Pakistan's sporting world. But here in Lyari, a Karachi slum, soccer is king — especially during the World Cup finals.

On a recent Saturday, in dozens of spots around the neighborhood, people bring television sets and projectors into the street to watch the knockout match between Brazil and Chile. Others head to a nearby sports complex for a screening, where hundreds of adults and kids arrive toting mats and picnic baskets.

Lyari is in love with Brazil.

Almost everyone here supports the Brazilian team, and residents proudly point out that the neighborhood has been labeled “mini-Brazil" thanks to its fervor.

“God willing, Brazil will win today and it will keep on winning," says one boy sitting on the ground surrounded by his friends. Other boys express their admiration for their hero, Neymar, a star Brazilian forward.

Karachi's roots in soccer go back to the days of the British Empire. As one of British India's key seaports in the early twentieth century, many ships carrying European sailors would dock here. In their free time, visiting sailors played soccer near the harbor and would invite locals to join them.

“This became a tradition — that whenever sailors came, these people used to go there and play with them,” says Nadir Shah Adil, a veteran journalist from Lyari.

While much of Pakistan took on the British game of cricket, says Adil, people in Lyari chose soccer. It wasn't just because of the European sailors, though. Soccer was also a much more affordable sport for poor Lyari residents.

As for the overwhelming support for Brazil, Adil believes the people here feel an ethnic affinity with Brazilians. Like many Brazilian players, a large number of Lyari residents have African roots as a result of the slave trade.

“They feel great resemblance when they see that Pele is just as they are," Adil says. "They feel similarity, and a sentimental attachment, when they see Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos or Adriano.”

The attachment to the Brazilian players is not just sentimental. Lyari is also known as a breeding ground for some of Pakistan's biggest soccer stars. At the match screening, there were several current and former professional players watching the game.

http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-07-01/some-brazils-most-fanatic-soccer-fans-are-pakistani-slum

Riaz Haq said...

One City in Pakistan Makes Nearly Half of the World's Soccer Balls

It would seem a given that efficiency-enhancing technologies spread rapidly, seeing as smoother production often leads to higher profits. That’s not always the case, though: A 2008 survey of the past two centuries found that on average, countries have adopted revolutionary technologies such as steel production and electricity 47 years after they were invented. How and why technology spreads—or rather, doesn’t spread—is a bit of a mystery.

For example, why did so many soccer ball factories continue to use an inefficient cutting mechanism when there was a better one out there? That's the question that a team of researchers from Yale, Columbia, and LSE (that's Lahore, not London) tried to answer in a study of Sialkot, Pakistan, where 40 percent of the world's soccer balls are produced.

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Today, more than 100 firms produce soccer balls in Sialkot, a city of 1.6 million. Since Sialkot faces tight competition from China and East Asia, the team of researchers figured that manufacturers would be hungry for technologies to make their plants more efficient. After happening upon a new manufacturing process that would increase profit margins by about 13 percent—it involved changing the arrangement of pentagons on a sheet of artificial leather in a way that reduced waste—they wanted to know how quickly the method would spread. They introduced it to a control group of firms. They waited.

But after 15 months, only five of the 35 factories in the control group adopted the technology—a rate the working paper calls “puzzlingly low.” So the team put on hold its original question and started investigating why the technology didn’t catch on. They noticed that one firm outside of the control group adopted the new pentagon arrangement, and that the firm did something most others didn’t: What was going on with that one firm? It turns out, that firm paid its workers by the hour, rather than by the ball. The researchers hypothesized that a worker paid per ball might be resistant to trying out a new technology because, in the short run, as they were learning to use it, it would slow down their productivity and decrease their earnings.

In hopes of erasing the workers' short-run qualms and encouraging them to share innovative information, the team offered them an extra month's worth of wages on the condition that they learned how to use the new cutting technology. After this cash infusion, the researchers saw the probability of adoption increase from 16 percent to 48 percent. This lump sum, which they considered “small from the point of view of the firm,” was the extra push needed for adoption.

The best explanation for this, according to Eric Verhoogen, a professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and an author of the paper, is that without the lump sum, the incentives of the worker and the company don't match up. “The general lesson is that workers have to share in the gains for innovation to be successful,” Verhoogen says. In fact, the workers’ incentives were so far divorced from those of their managers that some workers lied to their superiors about the technology’s efficacy in order to prevent its adoption. (Naïf that I am, I found this surprising. Verhoogen didn’t. “What I was surprised about is not so much that workers might try to mislead their managers, but that their managers would believe them,” he says.)
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http://m.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/one-city-in-pakistan-produces-nearly-half-of-the-worlds-soccer-balls/373802/

Riaz Haq said...

Business has suddenly picked up for Sialkoti sportswear manufacturer Mohammad Waseem*. His secret? 3D printing.

“We are using 3D printing to improve our product designs. We are now able to send accurate product samples to our overseas clients,” Waseem says.

The city of Sialkot houses Pakistans sports goods industry. Some manufacturing is set up as a cottage industry, drawing entire families in the trade. Other manufacturing is medium and large-scale. Together, Sialkots sports goods industry contributes the second-largest share in revenue for Pakistan.

For men like Waseem, 3D printing has provided a leg up. Whereas once the process of enlisting a client and procuring orders was lengthy and often imprecise, 3D printing has enabled Waseem to send an exact sample of what the client will get in return for their investment. When dealing with an overseas client, such precision is often profitable.

Waseem attributes much of his success to 3dprint.com.pk — a Lahore-based company that describes itself as “Pakistan’s first 3D Print House”. This company has been researching and developing racing motorcycle boots and shin pads in flexible materials — all of which promise to boost Pakistans economy.

According to Omar T Aslam, director at 3dprint.com.pk, Pakistan has a rich tradition of manufacturing but lacks high-end technical skills and resources for 3D printing that could push the industry to the next level. “3D printing technology can, and often does, reduce time and cost to market by 50 percent,” argues Aslam.
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“I am really impressed by the capabilities of the 3D printer we bought,” says Waseem. “We now have a professional 3D printer, which is being used on almost a daily basis.”

And it’s not only the sports goods manufacturing sector that has employed 3D printers. Aslam claims that his clients include those from the medical, industrial tooling, and automotive sectors as well. There They are 3D printing master patterns for foundries, which include tooling for water pump manufacturing. Then there is 3D modelling of construction projects for architect firms. But the one that stands out the most is reminiscent of Will Smith’s I Robot-like 3D printed robotic arm, which was built for a NUST student’s final-year project.

The way 3D printing technology is progressing, it is evident that the new industrial revolution is here. From printing trinkets to fully functional, living human organs; the potential of this technology is endless, restricted only by the limits of our imagination.

Oh, and do you know what else you can make with a 3D printer? A 3D printer. They can be used to replicate themselves. Using something to make anything — now that’s something we definitely never thought was possible.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1103491