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Football Technology


>> ball construction

The five main components of a football are the cover, lining, bladder, printing and the stitching.

1. Surface cover or casing
2. Internal linings of polyester & cotton
3. Bladder latex or butyl
4. Printing 
5. Stitching

1. Surface cover or casing:-
The surface of footballs or coverings are made up from synthetic leather and not full grain leather (as used in the past) because leather has the tendency to absorb water causing the ball to become very heavy. Synthetic leather is typically made from PU (Polyurethane) and PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride).

There are many variations of synthetic leather used in the construction of footballs. They range from Japanese Cordley, Korean Duksung, Pakistani PU and PVC (Poly vinyl chloride).

Best footballs used in competition and by professionals are produced by using Cordley, Duksung or other types of PU synthetic leather. Promotional balls are usually constructed with poly vinyl chloride (PVC) or rubber covers. Mostly indoor football covers are made with a felt or suede material similar to what is used on at tennis ball.
The number of panels are the different segments that make up the outside covering of the ball which varies for each design. The football is normally a ball consisting of 20 hexagonal (Six Sided) and 12 pentagonal (five sided) surfaces.

When they are sewn together and inflated they make a near perfect sphere. Other traditional designs are 18 panel and 26 panel constructions used in various professional leagues including Scottish and English leagues.

However with change in trend there are now different configurations like 62 panel, 12 panel, star shape etc...
2. Linings:-
Material thickness plays a vital part in the quality of hand sewn balls. Multiple layers of lining are placed between the cover and the bladder. These layers are composed of polyester and cotton bounded (laminated) together to give the ball strength structure and bounce.
3. Bladder:-
Most balls use butyl valves for air retention, with higher end balls using a Silicone treated valve for superior performance. Silicon treated valves are used on some balls for smooth insertion of the inflating needle and added protection from air loss. Generally a good idea is to put a few drops of silicon oil in the valve when about to inflate.
- Natural Latex, Rubber Bladders:
Offers the softest feel and response but do not provide the best air retention. Micro pores slowly let air escape. Balls with a natural rubber bladders need to be re-inflated (at least once a week). More often then balls with butyl bladders (stay properly inflated for weeks at a time). Latex bladders are used in balls because of the following characteristics:-
     a).    It gives proper bounce.
     b).    It feels softer.
     c).    Some angle re-bounce ability.
 - Butyl bladders:
After an excellent combination of feel and air retention and cab be found in most middle to upper priced balls.
4. Printing:-
Coating of ink can be done on the outer surface through the regular silk screen printing process to distinguish one's brand or company name. There are different types of qualities in these inks. Which differ from promotional ball to a professional ball. After printing  the material may have another layer of clean urethane applied over the printing for protection.
5. Stitching :-
After laminating the Synthetic leather with the required number of linings it is cut into the exact number of panels needed to make one ball. Holes are pre punched by the cutting machine in preparation for stitching. The stitching is performed by turning the ball inside out so none of the stitches shows on the outside.
The stitched ball is then reversed the bladder inserted and inflated.
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