The testing of shafts by electronic means has been around much longer than one would imagine. The forerunner to the modern frequency analyser was patented and utilized by Spalding in 1944. Though the machine’s primary function was to measure the moment of inertia of clubs, it was also capable of other measurements, such as frequency.
In 1968, Alastair Cochran and John Stobbs reintroduced to the forefront the concept of testing shafts and clubs by the use of a frequency analyser. In their assessment of how to match shafts, put forth in the search for the perfect swing, they stated that there are two “obvious” methods to match shafts, mentioning both a deflection board and a frequency analyser. They further stated that using the frequency of vibration of a shaft would be a “better” method.
You would be hard-pressed to find a clubmaker dedicated to his or her craft, without a frequency analyser today. Frequency analysers are an excellent tool to visually display that you are serious about your customer’s clubs, and advanced in your methods. They also provide a convenient way to find the general flex of a finished club. However, these devices have a number of conceptual and design flaws, which limit their ability to truly match shafts. The introduction of Multi-Matching marks a first in the industry in terms of a complete approach to shaft matching. The Multi-Matching machine was created and patented by our Research and Development department and was originally to be used only for the collection of advanced static shaft data during prototype evaluations. The machine proved to be such an accurate and reliable tool that we now employ it in many areas of production and quality control. The Multi-Matching machine was designed to allow accurate readings at any point of a shaft in terms of resistance to bending, which is the standard that Matrix works from.
After the prototype evaluation of a shaft is completed, the machine is then used during the actual manufacture of shafts. The roller system is utilized to map the shaft’s CFI, or Circumferential Flexural Integrity. This testing standard indicates how well a manufacturer has maintained the targeted flexure. This reading is obtained by turning the shaft 360 degrees around its axis and recording the difference between the highest and lowest readings. It is imperative to strive for this type of symmetry during the manufacturing process, since dispersion can be greatly affected by it. Evidence strongly suggests which shafts that lack CFI are inaccurate in their dynamic response to deflection since their uneven distribution of flex causes an out-of-phase recovery, technically known as the force of restitution. Among its other uses are a series of tests conducted as part of our QC process aimed at matching shafts to each other.