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Technical Information - Balls

Up to about 20 years ago "Super Crystalate" balls were manufactured by "The Composition Billiard Ball Company" in Congleton, Cheshire. Then this Company was sold by its owner (David Fisher of BCE - at that time) to SALUC the Belgian Manufacturer of Aramith Balls. The name Super Crystalate was retained but the manufacturing process was integrated into the standard process used for ARAMITH balls. So, in effect, the balls have been the same in production terms since then.

However, ARAMITH produce balls of different types (grades or quality) with different densities. The standard Aramith Balls are lighter in density than the SUPER ARAMITH. SUPER ARAMITH balls are branded TOURNAMENT CHAMPION for Snooker.

Since 1999, these have been used in all WPBSA tournaments. The balls are supplied to WPBSA free of charge under a sponsorship agreement with SALUC. In effect, though, the same balls have been used for up to 20 years but previously supplied in Super Crystalate branded boxes! However, for marketing purposes, some of the colours were slightly different for the Super Crystalate sets.

There is another consideration and that it is for MATCH sets, before the sponsorship agreement, the balls within each set were carefully matched within very tight tolerances. Now, because so many sets are being used and because the balls are changed so often, this has become impractical. The sets will therefore be the standard production without any further careful scrutiny. This might explain some aberrant performances by some sets or individual cue balls.

It is also possible that the manufacturer might have recently changed the composition of the balls or some of the manufacturing processes. This has not been disclosed.

On a technical note, there are usually 2 main causes of kicks:

One is obviously chalk on the cue ball. The other is the build up of a static electrical charge on the balls. When skidding on the pure wool cloth, the cast phenolyic resin of the ball will become electrically charged. This effect becomes more pronounced when the cloth is very dry and the room environment is warm and dry. This is becoming increasingly the case in modern venues where the tables are individually heated and the air-conditioning and temperature at venues is carefully controlled. When the balls have been in play for a long time under such conditions, an object ball and the cue ball may accumulate substantial static charges and may repel each other (in the same way as like-poles of magnets) when they come into contact.

"Earthing" the tables was seen as a possible solution but tests done were found to be in-conclusive.

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