Recently I had the terrific opportunity to visit the Wilson Sporting Goods Innovation Center in Chicago! This is a tennis racquet “lovers” dream!
In the very open design area there are several engineers working on new designs, modifications, ideas, and stringing. There are three (3) Wilson Baiardo stringing machines at the far end looking over the engineering work stations.
Having designed and manufactured tennis racquets a few years ago I was particularly impressed with Wilson’s ability to take an idea to “prototype” in less than two (2) days! In fact Wilson can “print” a racquet so the participants can see and feel a real racquet and judge the shape and general appearance before going on to a full prototype!
The CAD software used by Wilson is incredibly fast and comprehensive so it is easy to “see” every angle and surface of the proposed design. So, if you don’t like that “bulge” just remove it! Dave does this! Engineers Bill, Ron, Scott and Bobby feed ideas to Dave and he turns these ideas into wonderful images! Ron is able to stand near Dave and virtually “design” a tennis racquet! Taking his ideas throughout Dave to the final design is impressive.
If a playable prototype is necessary one can be produced right here! The fibers are combined and cut on “electronic” tables, wrapped, put into a mold and sent through the molding process!
Also at this facility is the “Pro Room”, which, as the name would imply, is the room dedicated to the professional players that are playing with Wilson racquets. In this room hangs hundreds of racquets in various states. Some are complete, some are waiting for some “work”. This is quite an impressive room!
As one walks through the 32,000 square foot facility you come across a full size tennis court which is not unusual but the electronics hanging out here may not be found anywhere else. Commercials can be made here as well as racquet testing.
If you ever have a change to visit this facility take the opportunity. I could go back many ties and still not get enough!
Thank you Wilson for the visit!