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Wilson Sporting uses Gerber's Taurus II to make footballs
29
Jan '14
The Wilson Sporting Goods Co.’s football factory in Ada, Ohio has produced 800 official commemorative Super Bowl footballs using Gerber’s new Taurus II leather cutting system.
 
The company is comparing hide utilization results when cutting hides manually vs. using the Taurus II system. Wilson produced 150 of the official game balls and has made every NFL game ball used in Super Bowl competition.
 
Because each hide has different flaws and is unique in size and shape, the Taurus II leather cutter captures the hide and its flaw zones in seconds using a digital camera mounted above the cutter.
 
The system’s nesting software then applies powerful algorithms to analyze the hide and efficiently place parts to ensure users get the most cut parts from every hide. With parts placed edge to edge, Gerber’s proven knife technology cuts quickly and precisely to ensure accuracy and uphold product quality.
 
On average, at Wilson’s Ohio factory, 10 footballs are manufactured from one cowhide. Because cowhides are costly, improving hide utilization by even 1 percent can reduce material costs significantly.
 
Dan Riegle, Wilson’s factory manager, said, “We’re excited about the opportunity Gerber’s Taurus II offers us to ensure quality and reduce our material costs: we’re seeing as much as 10 percent improvement in yields as a result of Taurus’ computerized nesting capabilities.” The factory’s 120 employees produce 4,000 footballs a day and more than 700,000 each year. In addition to the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and all NFL footballs, the factory also manufactures the official footballs for the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), 28 high school associations, American Youth Football and countless other leagues.
 
Mike Elia, president and CEO of Gerber, said, “The results Wilson is seeing with our new Taurus leather cutter speaks to the heart of what Gerber is about. Our mission over the last five decades has always been to help our customers improve their profitability by saving them time, reducing their labor and material costs and helping them produce the best quality product possible. With Taurus II, we improve throughput using state-of-the-art hide capture technology and we dramatically improve yield with part nesting strategies that are 250 times more powerful than our previous offering.”

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