Brandy Padilla

Balance Approach All-In-One: What, Why, and How

Giving your bowlers consistent approach conditions from day-to-day may often seem like rocket science. There are a plethora of approach cleaners and approach conditioners on the market. And, there are an abundance of tools to help you in your quest for consistent approaches. Which ones to use; that’s the real question.

Approach cleaners help remove dirt, spills, sticky materials, and other foreign residues from the approach while approach conditioners leave an invisible film that helps reduce the coefficient of friction giving more slide-ability to the approach. These products are often great; initially. But, after a game or two, the film in the slide area gets worn and causes inconsistency between the slide-area and the corners. When this happens, the slide-area is tackier and the sides are slicker (or vice versa) leaving the bowlers with, yet again, inconsistent approach conditions.

We developed Balance with this in mind. We wanted to create a product that was simple to use and that would create a consistent slide environment for bowlers. We also wanted to create a product that would clean and condition the approach in one step.

With Balance, you no longer need a separate approach cleaner and approach conditioner; it’s an all-in-one product that can solve many of your approach problems.

Balance is gel formula that must be applied with a rotary buffer and a buffing pad. A thin bead of Balance is applied parallel to the foul line and about six or so inches in front of the foul line. Using a rotary buffer and the white or green-striped buffing pad, Balance is buffed into the approach beginning at the foul line, working backwards towards the ball return and then back to the foul line. While buffing, there is a visible film that appears. Once the film is no longer visible, the approach is complete.

The buffing pad can be used for multiple lanes. However, once the pad gets saturated, you will need to either flip the pad or use a new one. You can easily tell when the pad is saturated as it will take a long time for the film to disappear, if at all.

Balance won’t leave your approaches slick or tacky. Rather, it evens the sliding environment to make the approach consistent from gutter to gutter. It is recommended to be used weekly or as needed. Because it cleans the approaches and conditions them simultaneously, Balance eliminates the need for multiple products and saves you time by eliminating multiple steps in the approach maintenance process.

Approach maintenance no longer needs to be a difficult task that leads to consistently inconsistent approaches. With Balance, one product cleans and conditions your approaches helping you achieve even sliding approaches across your house while simplifying approach maintenance.

Synthetic Approach Maintenance

Let’s face it; approach maintenance can be a sticky, or slippery, business. There is a fine line to walk when trying to keep the approaches as consistent as possible. Some products offer too much slide causing bowlers to slip while other products can leave behind films and tacky residues that could cause bowlers to stick. Both scenarios are a recipe for disaster that could lead a bowler to an unplanned “Machuga Flop”. And while a flop can be funny, we all know it can hurt and it’s uber embarrassing. But, what is a bowling center to do? How can you maintain the delicate balance of not too slick and not too sticky? We’ve got the answers to your approach maintenance questions.

Some history

Before there were synthetic approaches, all approaches were made of wood and coated with a finish that allowed for proper slide. The only real maintenance to be done to these approaches was the occasional spot cleaning for spills and sticky marks and daily dusting. Then, once every year or so, the approach needed to be sanded and recoated to “refresh” the finish. Wooden approaches have a fairly even slide as long as the finish isn’t worn down. Once the finish started to wear, the approach could be spotty. Generally though, this was just an indication that it was time to refinish the approaches.

Synthetic approaches were introduced when synthetic lanes were introduced. Synthetic approaches were virtually maintenance-free since they eliminated the need for refinishing - or so it was thought. Synthetic approaches came with their own set of problems.

Think of synthetic approaches like your kitchen countertops; not the granite, marble, Corian, and fancy varietals, but the Formica and laminate variety. Layers of materials are pressed or bonded together and an outer layer with the approach image is pressed or bonded to the top. The top layer on which a bowler will slide is often textured and porous. This means dirt and residues can get into those tiny pores and cause build-up. It also means that repeated sliding in the middle of the approach can wear down the texture and cause inconsistencies in the slide-ability of the approach from the middle to the sides.

Because of these issues, a variety of different products and procedures have been developed to help bowling centers maintain their approaches. And what was once billed as an approach that was basically maintenance-free has now become even higher maintenance.

So what’s the right way to maintain synthetic approaches?

If I were to ask 50 different people the proper way to maintain the approach, I’d likely get many different answers. There would be variations of cleaning techniques that used various cleaners and solutions and even just hot water. There would be dust mops, wet mops, buffers, and spot cleaners. The only consistent thing would be that bowlers still complain and the approaches are inconsistent. It’s a vicious and never-ending cycle.

Synthetic approaches require temperature and humidity control. I did some digging, well, Googling, and I found that humidity over 50% can cause approaches to be tacky. We all know tacky isn’t good when trying to slide. To combat this, having some temperature control in the bowling center is absolutely necessary. Additionally, having circulation that pulls or pushes moist air away from the lanes/approaches can help keep moisture from the air from settling onto the approach. The optimal humidity is around 40%.

Dusting the approaches is a necessary task. Dust can settle on the approach and get embedded in the pores. Aside from just causing the approach to look dirty, dust can cause inconsistent slide-ability as well. Dust can cause approaches to be slick and, well, too slick is just as bad as too tacky.

Spills happen

It’s important to clean the spills and wipe away residues. Lane conditioner, soda, beer, and an infinite number of other materials can be spilled on the approaches and every one of them can cause sliding issues. When something is spilled on the approach, wipe it up as soon as possible with a clean, dry cloth. Use a weak dilution of cleaner to remove any sticky liquids. Go back over the area with another clean towel and some IPA (isopropyl alcohol). IPA is very good for removing sticky residues and leaves no residue behind of its own. It isn’t a “cleaner” but it will help remove sticky residues.

Clean those carpets and floors!

The carpets and flooring areas around the bowler’s circles must be kept clean as well. Wax from tiles and residues from carpets and carpet treatments can stick to shoes and can easily be tracked onto the approach. It’s just as important to keep the non-bowling areas clean as it is to keep the bowling areas clean. And, be careful what products you choose for cleaning. Many cleaning products leave behind residues and, as I said before, the residues can easily be tracked onto the approach.

The quest for consistency...

When all of this is done, sometimes you still need some help getting consistent slide on your approaches. There are many products on the market designed to help you with this. Unfortunately, so many of the products available have their own sets of issues. When sprayed, they can get on the lane surface and cause issues with the lane conditioner and pattern.

Dust type products can leave dust residue on the lane and the residue can settle in nearby areas. Some products have to be used very sparingly or the approach can end up being too slick. Some products work great when you first use them, but then after a couple of games, the approach is inconsistent again because the product has “worn off” in the slide area leaving the outsides slick and the slide area tacky.

All of this can be a big frustration. And, it’s one of the common complaints that we hear when dealing with approach questions. People just want a process that is simple and they just want the approaches to be consistent. In fact, I’ve heard from many bowlers that they wouldn’t mind the approaches being a little on the slick side or even a little on the tacky side as long as the approaches could be consistent from the ten pin side to the seven pin side. Bowlers can adjust for a little more slide or a little more stick. But, it’s nearly impossible to adjust when there isn’t any consistency across the approach.

To sum it up, synthetic approach maintenance can be tricky. It can be time consuming and tedious. And, with all of the approach maintenance products available, it can be downright overwhelming. But, the good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Giving your bowlers consistent approaches doesn’t have to be such a mind-boggling task. You can give your bowlers the left-to-right consistency they want on a day-to-day basis with Balance, Kegel’s new synthetic approach maintenance product. To learn more about Balance, click here.

Does lane oil evaporate and how long should the oil pattern sit?

When it comes to lane conditions, every person has their own ideas as to what they think works best. Mechanics, proprietors, and bowlers all have a difference of opinion when it comes to dressing the lanes. Ask 100 different people and you’re likely to get 100 different answers. In bowling, it’s one of those topics that just seems to create a lot of controversy and a lot of differences in opinions.

Because of all these different opinions, we get many questions regarding what the best methods are for ensuring lanes are the same from day to day. Some of these questions stem from curiosity while others, like the one I got last month, stem from bowler controversy.

I was forwarded a message that came in from our website. The proprietor was quite frustrated at his bowlers because his bowlers felt like the lanes were getting conditioned too early and the conditioner was “drying up” before they ever started bowling. The proprietor tried to show the bowlers statisitical data in their score trends that suggested otherwise. But, the bowlers just didn’t agree. So, he asked “the experts”; how long can an oil pattern sit on a lane before it starts to deteriorate?

Modern lane conditioners; every lane conditioner available in today’s market; are all mineral oil based. Kegel uses pharmaceutical grade mineral oil in our lane conditioners so it is of the highest purity available. Mineral oil itself doesn’t evaporate. You could fill a cup with mineral oil and leave it sitting and it wouldn’t evaporate. Here is a link to a safety data sheet (SDS) for white mineral oil. If you look in section 9 (page 4 of the document), it shows the evaporation rate as ‘NA’. This means there is negligible or no evaporation of the material.

There are some chemicals in lane conditioners that will evaporate but these ingredients are minor compared to the percentage of mineral oil. For example, solvents such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA) are often used as an inexpensive way to lower the surface tension. Lowering the surface tension will allow the lane conditioner to wet across the lane surface more quickly. Once the lane conditioner is applied, the IPA would evaporate over time. Since lane conditioners are applied in such a thin film with a low volume over a larger area, we would estimate this to be in the 30 minute range at most. It does not take a lot of IPA to lower the surface tension so it is used in amounts of 1% or less. This evaporation does not affect the lane play characteristics that come from the mineral oil and the other ingredients that are used to give the conditioner its characteristics.

While we’ve never tested the theory of how long a lane conditioner could sit before deterioration begins, a lane pattern could sit, well, forever without deteriorating. That is, of course, in theory since we don’t have a time machine! There are other things; environmental and atmospheric conditions; that will affect lane conditions. But, the conditioner itself could sit for days on the lane and it would still be there; it isn’t going to evaporate away.

While we haven’t tested the ‘forever’ theory, we have allowed a freshly conditioned lane to sit for 24 hours. We took tapes from the freshly applied pattern and took tapes on the same pattern 24 hours later. The results: the tapes were exactly the same for both sit times. The conditioner sitting on the lane didn’t change as a result of evaporation.

Other things can affect the conditioners performance though. Dust from the air or from AC vents can be deposited on the lane. These particles can greatly affect the playing characteristics of the pattern. This is one reason that a good cleaning routine is so important. Applying lane conditioner to a dirty lane will also affect the playing characteristics of the pattern.

Atmospheric conditions like temperature and humidity will also greatly affect lane play and these are more likely the cause of changing lane conditions. Bowling centers see this a lot as the weather changes, especially when there are sharp changes from cold to hot or hot to cold. Bowlers will complain that the lanes are tighter or drier or something else but they don’t always consider the weather changes and that can affect lane conditions significantly.

Here are two previous Inside Line articles that address changing weather and lane conditions: The Weather’s Changing… Are Your Lane Conditions? and Lane Conditions and Cold Snaps.

How long a conditioner should be allowed to sit on a lane prior to bowling is a very common question. And, it’s one that we’ve gotten many times. While consistency is key, we like to support our arguments with science. So, here’s a little science behind conditioner application.

When lane conditioner is immediately applied to a bowling lane, several things must happen before the lane conditioner stabilizes enough to provide consistent playing characteristics. One is allowing the lane conditioner to adhere to the lane surface. This takes about 15-30 minutes depending on the amount of conditioner applied, the type of conditioner, the type of cleaner being used, and the surface energy of a particular lane surface.

The surface tension of the conditioner is also important since the surface tension directly affects how the conditioner “wets” across the lane. The conditioner needs to “like” the lane in order for it to wet across. If the surface energies between the two don’t agree, the conditioner will “sit up” on the lane surface (think of this effect as little beads of water sitting on the surface of your car versus the water sheeting off the surface of the car).

Another bonding takes place within the lane conditioner molecules themselves. These bonding forces, known as van der Waals forces, are basically weak attractions between atoms, molecules, and surfaces. The time for this to take place after conditioning a bowling lane is also anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The below video shows these weak bon

With the amount of lane conditioner being used in today's lane patterns, it takes about 15-30 minutes for the lane conditioner to "settle down" and stabilize on the lane. If time is not allowed for this process to take place, things like excessive carrydown can occur. The lanes may also play "tighter" simply because the oil is sitting up on top of the lane more and there is less resistance to the bowling ball as it rolls through the oil pattern. This is one reason; during tournaments where we provide lane maintenance; we always try to get the tournament organizers to allow a minimum of 15 minutes of lane conditioner "sit time" before the first ball is thrown down the lane.

The biggest key is consistency. It’s one of the things that we preach. Create a routine and stick with that routine every day. If you do the lanes an hour before league, do them an hour before league every time and you’ll eliminate that variable (and that complaint from your bowlers).

We hope this information helps you. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to assist in any way we can. Until next time, happy bowling!

Switching Lane Conditioners: Out with the old, in with the new!

Bowl Expo has come and gone once again. That means that summer is in full swing and league season will be upon us before you know it. As such, you may be thinking about trying a new lane conditioner, like Fire or Ice, before league season starts. These conditioners were released last year and they have been gaining attention because of their performance in tournaments and championships worldwide. Now is the perfect time to try one and get your pattern adjusted to be ready for fall.

Changing lane conditioners can be an overwhelming process. In fact, just the thought of it may send shivers down your spine. After all, if your bowlers have been happy, why change it and risk upsetting the balance? Well, technology has come a long way. We’ve worked hard developing conditioners that will help you protect your lane surface while providing a durable lane condition for your bowlers. And, we’ve improved the durability while allowing you to use less conditioner which saves you money.

Once you’ve decided to make the leap (and decided which conditioner to use – we’ll have more on that later), you’ll need to spend some time cleaning your lane machine. While it may seem easy to just empty the conditioner tank and pour in the new conditioner, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by doing this. Cross contamination from one conditioner to another in the same tank can wreak havoc on your lane pattern and make your lanes inconsistent. And that just leads to unhappy bowlers. No one wants that!

Additionally, some lane conditioners just don’t mix well with others.* This can cause things like clogged tubing, pencil tips, or even oil control valves. You can avoid a lot of headaches by taking some extra steps early on.

*The FLEX Lane Machine boasts the ability for centers to use two compatible conditioners simultaneously. Currently, Fire and Ice are the only compatible conditioners that can be used in this manner.  Mixing other conditioners, such as Prodigy or Infinity, with Fire or Ice is not recommended.

Changing conditioners in the machine is a tedious process, but it is a process that is well worth it. Here is a brief overview of the process for Sanction Technology™ lane machines:

  1. Remove the conditioner tank from the lane machine. Empty the contents of the tank into a waste container.
  2. Use some lane cleaner to clean the conditioner tank. Add some of your lane cleaner solution directly to the tank. Swirl or shake the cleaner to get it all over the inside of the tank. 
  3. Rinse the tank with water. You’ll want to shake and swirl to be sure the tank gets completely clean. Continue rinsing until the water is clear (it will probably look milky at first) and there is no foam.
  4. Rinse the tank with some acetone (if available) and let the tank dry. It is best to let the tank dry overnight, but give it as much time as possible. The tank needs to be completely dry before you add new conditioner.
  5. Use this time to wipe down and perform any maintenance to the transfer system. This is also a good time to perform some cleaning and/or maintenance to the buffer brush.
  6. Place the conditioner tank back in the machine.
  7. Now you’re ready to fill the conditioner tank and flush the machine. We’ve detailed the entire process here: Changing Out Conditioners - Sanction Technology

So, I’m ready to fill my machine and flush the lines, but I don’t know which conditioner to use. Don’t worry; we’re here to help!

Fire and Ice have similar properties chemically but they yield different results on the lane. Both conditioners are pinsetter and house ball friendly meaning that you’ll have fewer issues in the backend. Both conditioners also have improved durability even with reduced volume.

There are a few factors that can help you decide which would be best for you. What conditioner do you use now? What is your lane surface? Do you have more open play or do you have heavy league and tournament lineage? Answering all of these will help narrow down which option will be best for your situation. Every center is unique, so as always, our Tech Support Team is available to guide you. You can also use the comparison chart below to help in your decision.

Click Here to View the Complete Lane Conditioner Comparison Chart

Now that you’ve got your new conditioner into your machine and ready to go, we always recommend running your normal pattern and watching ball reaction before adjusting anything. This way you’ll have an apples-to-apples comparison from conditioner to conditioner. It is highly likely, based on our experience with Fire and Ice, that pattern adjustments will be necessary.

To reap the benefits of these conditioners, your pattern should have good front to back taper. If you’re pattern doesn’t have good taper, our Tech Support Team can help you make some adjustments to maximize the performance of these conditioners. If you’re pattern does have good taper, some small adjustments may be all you need to dial in your pattern. Here are some of the common adjustments we’ve seen:

  • Reduced pattern volume (i.e. 50 ul to 45 ul or 40 ul)
  • Average pattern volume is 10-20% lower with Ice and 10-15% lower with Fire
  • Shortened pattern distance and/or reverse buffer drop
  • Reduction of applied loads

Don’t let the fear of upsetting your bowlers stop you from trying something new. You can reap the benefits of Fire and Ice with a little patience. Start now and you have the rest of the summer to fine-tune before fall leagues. You’ll enjoy the rewards of your hard work and patience when your bowlers are happy with the more durable lane conditions and you have less oil-related backend issues.

Learn more about Fire and Ice Lane Conditioners

What is "Waste" and Why You Should Care

What is “Waste?”

When most people hear the word “waste” they automatically think of chemicals or construction materials. And, they almost always think of waste as industrial and hazardous. Yet, the word waste is a very broad term that encompasses many different categories.

From your home to your bowling center, it is important to understand what waste is and how to dispose of it. With changing regulations, businesses that have been unaffected in the past, may soon learn the costs associated with improper disposal.

Residential Waste

First of all, everything that you put in your home trash can or recycle bin is considered a type of waste. Residential wastes can fall into a few different categories. Much of the waste we generate at home is recyclable. Think about the number of newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes (or other food boxes), soda cans, water bottles, and milk jugs that you use. Nearly all of those items can be recycled in some way. Recyclable wastes can be thought of as “good” waste. They cause little environmental impact and they don’t have any negative effects on humans.

But that isn’t the only kind of waste you generate in your home. Have you ever decided to paint a room? What happens to the extra paint when you’re finished with the job? You may keep it for some time but eventually it has to be discarded. Where does it go? Paints, bug sprays (pesticides), cleaning chemicals, and fertilizers are also examples of residential wastes. And, these wastes shouldn’t be thrown in your trash can. Many of these types of wastes must be disposed of more carefully as they can be hazardous to humans and the environment. In fact, many of these items are considered “household hazardous wastes”. Hazardous waste isn’t exclusive to industry; you probably have some of these types of items in your home right now.

These hazardous household wastes must be disposed of periodically and they can’t be just thrown in the trash. To assist residents in disposing of these materials, many local collection agencies arrange certain days of the week or month for residents to either put these types of items by the curb (similar to “everyday” trash) or to bring them to a designated drop off location for appropriate disposal. Items like used cooking oil and even electronics can be hazardous and should always be disposed of in a proper manner. Even light bulbs and batteries have special disposal requirements.

Commercial Waste

Businesses also generate waste. Some of the waste generated by businesses is just like the waste you generate in your home. Paper, soda cans, plastic bottles, and cardboard are all examples of wastes generated by businesses. These wastes, just like yours at home, can often be recycled and they would certainly be considered nonhazardous. But, businesses can also generate more dangerous or hazardous wastes. Hospitals and doctor’s offices have medical waste that must be disposed of properly to keep infectious diseases and germs from spreading. Industrial operations like chemical manufacturers, factories, and even construction sites all generate wastes that can be hazardous.

But, these businesses aren’t the only types that can generate such wastes. Businesses like the local bakery, the shoe store, and even the bowling center also generate waste. While these businesses may not generally create hazardous waste, they still generate waste that can’t always just go in the trash can or recycle bin.

Waste from Bowling Centers

A bowling center with a snack bar/restaurant can generate many different types of waste in each of its various operations. The snack bar/restaurant will generate food wastes, paper products and general trash, as well as wastewater from cleaning and used cooking oil from deep fryers. All of these wastes have different disposal requirements. The food waste and common trash items can generally be disposed of in a dumpster while the wastewater from cleaning; i.e. mop water, dishwashing liquids, etc.; can generally be flushed down the drain. Used cooking oil from deep fryers however, must be collected and disposed of according to specific regulations. In many cases, this material can be collected and recycled. And, in a lot of cases, the waste generator (the bowling center) may actually collect a fee from the recycler (the person who collects the waste for disposal and/or recycling). Many people would see this as a winning situation since they have to discard the cooking oil but they can make a little bit of money from the “waste” rather than having to pay someone to dispose of the oil.

The bowling center itself also has waste. Every time a lane machine moves down the lane to clean the lane and apply new lane conditioner, waste is created. The lane machine picks up a waste that is a blend of diluted lane cleaner, lane oil, and dust. Depending on the lane cleaner and lane conditioner used by the center, this waste is typically a large percentage of water. In fact, depending on the dilution ratio of the cleaner, the waste could be 90% or more water. Of the remaining percentage, a very small percentage; approximately 1%-2%; would be the lane conditioner while the rest would be lane cleaner.

The creation of this recovery tank waste is one of the most common waste questions I receive. When it comes to this waste material, everyone wants to know what to do with it and no one really wants to spend a lot of money to get rid of something that is mostly water. Unfortunately, as environmental regulations and waste disposal laws get tougher and tougher; many bowling centers are finding out the hard way that you can’t just dump this waste down the drain.

But, why can’t I just dump it down the drain? First, grease and oils are not soluble in water and tend to separate from the liquid solution. This means that when the solution travels through the pipes, the oil can settle and cause trouble; i.e. buildup which will ultimately lead to slow flow and clogging; in the piping. Secondly, oils also hamper the effective treatments that are performed at the wastewater treatment plants. In fact, it is because of this that grease traps and other type devices are required at some places.

Improper Waste Disposal

While the waste from the recovery tank of a lane machine would, in most cases, be considered nonhazardous, there are still appropriate disposal considerations that must be followed. And, to make matters even more difficult, the regulations vary by state, county, and city. Just knowing the federal regulations isn’t enough. Your state, county or city may have varying regulations so it is always important to check with the appropriate regulating authorities to determine your safest course of action. Improper waste disposal can carry hefty penalties as well as civil and criminal consequences. In fact, fines for improper disposal can be less expensive than the civil and criminal penalties imposed for the actions. And, the civil and/or criminal penalties could even include jail time!

As I mentioned previously, dumping your waste down the drain can cause problems with the sewage lines and at the wastewater treatment facility. But, it can also be traced back to the establishment as well. When sewage lines get plugged or have slow flow, maintenance workers have to clean the lines or even replace them. When this happens, the managing authorities can determine what caused the blockage. They can then pull samples from surrounding establishments to determine if the blockage was caused by one of them. By pulling samples from lines coming directly off of each of the surrounding establishments, typically, the managing authority can get at least trace amounts of the blocking materials allowing them to determine the offending establishment. They can then charge the establishment with a violation of the federal Clean Water Act. If this happens, the establishment may be required to pay for sewer line maintenance costs as well as additional water treatment costs.

Improper waste disposal can vary depending on the category of waste and the severity of the action. Improper disposal of hazardous waste would certainly be more severe and carry a harsher penalty than improper disposal of nonhazardous waste. That said imposed fines can be more than $30,000 per day! And that doesn’t even include civil or criminal penalties that could be imposed by a court. It also doesn’t include any additional treatment costs that may be imposed by the treatment facility or maintenance costs that may be required to replace or maintain sewage lines.

As I mentioned, the recovery tank waste will generally be considered nonhazardous. This is favorable as it is much less expensive to get rid of nonhazardous wastes than it is to dispose of hazardous wastes. Additionally, there are generally more options available for getting rid of nonhazardous wastes. This means you can shop around and find more cost effective alternatives which will save you some money on the bottom line. Generally speaking, depending on the number of lanes you have and the number of times you clean and condition your lanes per day, and depending on the regulations in your area, you could dispose of this waste for a few thousand dollars (or less) a year. When you start adding up the numbers for fines/penalties, it’s easy to see that the cost of appropriate disposal in one year would be far less than even one day of fines and penalties.

How to Properly Dispose of Waste

So now you’re probably wondering what you should be doing or even who to call that could help you get rid of this waste. As I mentioned before, regulations vary greatly by location so it’s extremely important that you find out what is appropriate for your area. You can always start with a call to your local waste management authority. They should be able to direct you to businesses in your area that can help you with your waste needs. You can also do an internet search for industrial waste or nonhazardous waste handlers. There are many companies around the world that can pick up and transport the waste to an appropriate facility for treatment or disposal. You can also call your local water treatment facility. They may be able to direct you to a company that can work with you. Lastly, if you use a service for a parts washer or even for oil disposal for your restaurant/snack bar, speak with your rep from those companies. They may be able to help you with this kind of waste or direct you to another company that can help you.

Waste disposal is becoming a part of operating a business and it is important, for humans and for the environment, that we dispose of all waste in the proper way. Businesses like bowling centers have generally flown under the radar. But, as regulations are becoming increasingly strict, there are increasing demands of wastewater treatment facilities, and the costs associated with treating wastewater and maintaining equipment increases, law makers and regulating authorities are taking a hard look at problems and where they are occurring. This means it is only a matter of time until your actions could come around to cost you. Taking the extra steps now to insure that you’re properly disposing of your waste may cost you a little bit of money now but it’s far less expensive than the fines and penalties you could be forced to pay, or the jail time you could serve, for improper disposal.

Oil Pattern Graphs: KOSI Composite Graphs

How many times have you gone to a bowling tournament, or even a bowling league, and seen a lane pattern graph and not known what in the world you were looking at? I was at a collegiate bowling tournament where lane graphs were given to the teams at check-in and I heard many a team trying to decipher what the lane graphs meant. Over and over, I heard teams trying to decide where to play based on the lane graph. It actually surprised me how many people didn’t know what to look for.

If you are like me, and I know there are many of you out there, when you look at a lane pattern graph, you don’t really know how to extract information from it. Basically, you’re just looking at a picture of a lane or worse, some lane tapes that might as well be written in an ancient language. To help you, I have consulted some of the top minds in pattern theory for a little lesson in how to read and understand the various types of lane graphs.

To begin, we must first understand that there are different types of lane graphs. Some are related to the lane machine program sheet and some are related to the actual oil pattern on the lane.

Calculated from the lane machine settings (the program that is entered into the lane machine), we have the overhead graph and the composite graph. From lane tape readings (taken directly off the lane from the oil itself), we might see the 3D graph or the 2D graph. Each of these graphs look different and provide different ‘views’ of the oil pattern, but ultimately they all give you the same basic information – the shape of the oil pattern.

Some of the information you should look for, regardless of the graph type, is pattern distance, pattern volume, inside/outside ratios (don’t get confused, we’ll discuss) and pattern shape. All of these things will provide clues about what to expect from the oil pattern.

Pattern distance tells you how long (or short) the lane pattern is; in other words, how far down the lane from the foul line the oil is applied. A short pattern will play much different than a long pattern simply because there is longer part of the dry lane to deal with.

Pattern volume tells you how much total oil is applied to the lane. It does not tell you where that volume is; only how much oil is there. The total volume of oil is measured in milliliters and per board values are measured in microliters.

When you see a graph with units as the value, it is a calculated measurement based upon the ultra violet additive (UV) that is mandated to be in each batch of lane oil. The UV additive allows the optical lane reader to “see” the oil. Units of oil should not be confused with volume of oil.

Ratios tell you the difference in the amount of oil from left to center and right to center. Pattern shape is the shape of the oil on the lane. Some examples of shape are top hat, block, Christmas tree, or flat.

The first type of graph we’ll study, the composite graph, is one that most people will see most often. The composite graph is also called a volume per board chart. The composite graph, shown below, gives us the total amount of forward and reverse oil that is applied to the lane. The total amount of applied oil is calculated based on the program that is entered into the lane machine.

In actuality, the composite graph shows us the amount of oil on each board. The best way to understand the composite graph is to imagine taking all of the oil that was applied to the lane, then drag it back to the foul line and stack it up. This would look like the composite graph.

Take a look at the composite graph example below.


Along the bottom, or the ‘x’ axis for you math people, you can see the lane boards labeled; board one on the left to 20 in the center to the one board on the right.

Along the side, or the ‘y’ axis, the amount of oil is measured in micro liters.

This particular example is the composite graph for Dead Man’s Curve, a Sport pattern in the Kegel Navigation Series. Sport Bowling uses ratios to describe (or define) the level of difficulty of a pattern; a lower ratio is more difficult than a higher ratio. The Sport Bowling ratio is defined as the average amount of oil (in units) between boards Left 18 to Right 18 divided by the average amount of oil (in units) between boards R3-R7 & L3-L7, respectively.

While this graph does NOT give us units, nor does it tell us exactly where the ratios are within the oil pattern, it is still a good reference. In this graph, we can see that there is about three times as much conditioner in the middle of program as there is on the left and right side of the program; a 3 to 1 ratio.

The chart area above the graph, which you may or may not see on a composite graph as it depends on how the graph was generated (which computer software program generated the graph), also gives information on ratios in different parts of the pattern program. It may be somewhat difficult to read in this example due to the size of the picture; however, some information about ratios around the track area is given.

The track area is generally defined around the 10-board on either side of the lane (typically a bowler will play the track on a house shot). In this example, ratios are given for outside the track (boards 3-7 on either side of the lane), middle track (boards 8-12 on either side) and inside track (boards 13-17 on either side). In general, the lower the ratio of the oil, the more difficult the pattern will be to play.

In this example, the inside track (boards 13-17) would be very difficult as it is basically flat with a 1:1 ratio whereas the outside track (boards 3-7) would be somewhat easier at a 3:1 ratio. To put the ratios into perspective, a house pattern might be 6:1 or even higher. A high ratio program, like many house patterns are, will give the bowler a defined “ridge” to play against within the oil pattern.

This difference can help you determine how best to play the lane. Don’t misconstrue that; the composite graph can give you an idea of how to play the lane, but a common misconception is that it can tell you where to play the lane. This isn’t always true since the topography of the lane surface can often be more dominant than the oil pattern.

The composite graph is more of an idea of how difficult, or how easy, the oil pattern may play. Again, generally the lower the ratio of conditioner from the inside to the outside, or the flatter the oil pattern, the more challenging the oil pattern will be.

The last things to note in this graph, and they may be difficult to read because of the graph size, are the pattern distance and pattern volume. In this particular example, the pattern distance is 43 feet and the total volume is 24.25 mL.

Since a lane is 60 feet from foul line to head pin, there is 17 feet of ‘dry lane’ after our 43 foot Dead Man’s Curve pattern. That basically means there is 17 feet of friction that the ball must move through before it hits the pins.

We hope this information has helped you understand how to read a Composite Graph. It is important to remember that the information is only as useful as your interpretation. The graph isn’t telling you where to play; it is only providing you with some information to help you make an informed decision regarding lane play.

Next time, we’ll see another type of graph, learn about how to read it, and extract useful information from it. Until then, Happy Bowling!