Ashaway introduces new PowerKill
Ashaway, RI — That “one thing leads to another” has certainly been true in the Ashaway R&D lab of late as the company has continued to experiment with different ways to utilize various combinations and constructions of Zyex® filaments in its racquet string products. Recently, the company announced a new PFT™ (Power Filament Technology™) wear layer, or “jacket,” for its UltraKill® 16 Racquetball string. Now that concept has morphed into an entirely new line of PowerKill® strings for racquetball.
Said Ashaway’s Steve Crandall, “Our new PowerKill line with PFT represents a significant advance in string technology for racquetball that will allow players to push their game to the limit. What we’ve done with PFT is create an entirely new surface element of Zyex filaments in the jacket of the string that increases durability and tension holding, and optimizes power. It also enhances loop strength to reduce frame breakage.”
Zyex is a trade name for a high temperature, engineering grade polymer known as polyetheretherketone, or PEEK. PEEK materials like Zyex have several physical properties that recommend them for racquet strings, Crandall explained. Among other qualities, PEEK monofilaments and fibers are very tough and durable, and have excellent abrasion resistance. In tests measuring “thread on thread” abrasion — one of the key factors in string fatigue — PEEK multifilaments lasted more than five times as long as “bullet proof” aramid fibers.
“Ironically,” said Crandall, “one of the very first applications for Zyex polymers was aerospace and automotive insulation to protect electrical wiring from abrasion damage. But when we started playing with it for string jackets, we had no idea it would be so good that it would inspire an entire new line of strings.”
“Another benefit of the PFT jacket in the PowerKill line is in generating power,” Crandall continued. “Zyex filaments are known for their excellent dynamic stiffness, which means they are very elastic and have a tremendous ability to stretch and snap back when hitting the ball. This improves the power of every shot while decreasing string bed stiffness and impact shock, a property we call ‘soft power’.”
The new line will initially consist of two strings, PowerKill Pro, and PowerKill 17. PowerKill Pro is geared for professional level players and heavy hitters who consistently break string. It’s a heavier, 16 gauge (1.30 mm) string designed to maximize durability and tension holding properties. PowerKill 17 is a slightly lighter gauge string at 1.25 mm, and is designed to provide superior elongation and resiliency for a wide range of professional and amateur players who want to optimize power and ball control.
Bright red in color, both PowerKill Pro and PowerKill 16 are available in 40 ft. sets and 360 ft. reels. Recommended stringing tension is up to 35 lbs., but Ashaway suggests using 10-20% less tension than normally used for standard nylon strings.
Ashaway Racket Strings are made by Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co., the only U.S. manufacturer of string for squash, tennis, racquetball, and badminton. Operated by the Crandall family since 1824, Ashaway has been making racquet strings since 1949, and is responsible for several important technical innovations. Ashaway has been the Official String of USA Racquetball for more than ten years. Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. also makes braided products for medical and industrial applications. For more information visit ashawayusa.com. Zyex is a registered trademark of Zyex Ltd.
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