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Practice Sports, Inc.
14706 Giles Rd
Omaha, NE 68138
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Netting Analysis & Background Info
Side by Side Comparison
*NOTICE: Ratings are for optimal life-span – gauges may be used for other levels but life-spans will be diminished.
*NOTICE: Poly only recommended for light-usage by youth age.
*NOTICE: High abrasion resistance is vital for baseball use due to spinning ball – break-strength stat is over-rated b/c mesh will never receive high load amounts on single twine.
Facts & Features for our Batting Cage Nets:
Basic info about our netting: (top)
Available Mesh Sizes (in diameter): (top)
Nylon Netting Standard Facts: (top)
Poly Netting Standard Facts: (top)
Extra features available for "Basic" & "Custom" Tunnels: (top)
Stock-sized batting cage nets: (top)
*Yellow Highlighted Squares represent"stock" sizes -- all other sizes are available for custom design, and are typically not in stock. Custom fabrication can range from 2 days to 2 weeks. Please Contact Us for timelines.
*Breaking Strength: The strength at which new, unused twine will break under a stationary load. As a twine wears over time, the breaking strength is naturally reduced. While sports netting is typically never exposed to a high level of direct weight, breaking strength should never be considered the work load limit. The work load limit depends on application and the method used to create a finished assembly, and is always significantly lower than the breaking strength.
Thread Grades: (top)
Available Mesh Sizes (inside diameter ):
Square vs. Diamond Mesh Netting: (top)
There is much debate about this feature -- the bottom line is that it really doesn't matter very much outside of appearance, and Diamond is just as effective in performance as Square, AS LONG AS THE FOLLOWING ARE TRUE:
Diamond-Mesh does create some risks:
The reason the above are so critical, is because diamond-mesh can alter it's shape VERY easily if not "hung" correctly. The outside border-rope helps it maintain it's shape, and without it, problems can arise during assembly and use. *Note that it is also very critical that the border-rope is stitched to the seams - opposed to simply threaded through the mesh without tying. If the border-rope isn't tightly knotted, it can cause the net to "run" like a shower curtain during use. All of our batting cage & barrier nets come standard with a 3/8" woven border-rope.
The term "square & diamond" refers to the pattern of the mesh (see pics), and diamond-mesh can cause major problems when used in large applications, when not fabricated properly. The reason for this is because of the following reasons:
What problems can I encounter with Diamond mesh that isn't fabricated properly?
Bottom Line -- the Diamond Netting we offer is guaranteed to be fabricated correctly, and our shop always uses border-ropes -- so the choice mostly comes down to your personal preference.
Some things to consider:
*Different people may view each of the above as pros & cons, depending on the situation - so we prefer to let our customers choose the best net for their situation. We guarantee you will be satisfied with either option.
Twisted vs Braided Netting: (top)
This represents the method by which the twine is created to form the various "gauges". It is exactly as it sounds - Twisted netting is created by a batch of fibers being spun tightly together to form the desired thickness of each gauge, and Braided is formed by weaving twine in and out to form a braid. Each method has it's benefit for different applications.
The bottom line is that Twisted has a higher abrasion resistance, because balls slide & spin off the netting better, because there is less surface resistance than from braided material -- and Braided netting typically has a higher overall break-strength.
Now the question is what feature is more important, abrasion resistance or break-strength? This depends on the application, but for sports impact use, abrasion resistance is by far the more important characteristic. Why? Because a net will never experience anywhere near a full capacity "load" of weight against one of the twine fibers. Load strengths are more important in the cable industry, which are used to support dead-weight and a high level of tension. You should NEVER put much tension on your net itself - the cable or frame system should absorb the tension. Your net should be allowed to relax, and absorb the impact of the ball. If a net is stretched like a guitar-string, it doesn't matter how it was spun or heavy the twine is, it will soon deteriorate.
Watch out for:
In addition to a higher abrasion resistance, the other reason we offer mostly Twisted netting for sports impact, is because Braided netting can be more "fluff" than material. Because of the method of overlapping the fibers to qualify for a certain "gauge", (i.e. #21 / 2.0 mm diameter), it usually takes less material to achieve a 2.0 mm diameter with braided. When twines are twisted together, they are spun tightly, requiring more material to achieve a certain level of thickness.
The result is that most Twisted nets have a higher level of netting density, and overall weight when compared to a Braided net of equal specs side by side. And it doesn't take a netting expert to know that material with more density will withstand impact for a longer period, because there is more material to "eat through".
This allows some companies to spend less money on materials for braided nets, and also tout the fact that they are "stronger" - which might be true, but is also deceiving.
Knotted vs Knotless Netting: (top)
All of our batting cage tunnels, and most of our barrier nets utilize "knotted" netting. This means that the twine, where it intersects to create the "grid", is tied in a knot. Knotted netting is superior for direct impact sports usage, because it has a higher overall strength & durability. It's also important to note that our knotted nets include a "bonding agent" to keep the knots locked tight in place - some companies will tout that knotted nets are more at risk of coming apart, or that the knots can weaken a net - but ours stay firmly in place, and are reinforced by the bonding.
We do offer some backstop netting & golf netting which is "knotless" - the main advantage being a better "line of sight" for behind home-plate purposes; and knotless golf netting can also result in lower abrasion/friction, due to a smoother surface for a smooth ball at a close range to slide across. But this is only in applications with a low force of impact (golf), or indirect impact (barrier). You will find that knotless netting is traditionally cheaper, because less overall material is used.
Keep in mind:
When nets break down, it typically happens at the twine intersection. On knotted nets, this area is usually twice the thickness of the other twine, which reinforces it in the most susceptible area. Knotless nets are the same thickness, even in the high stress areas. See pictures of knotted and knotless netting.
Nylon vs Poly - Quick Tips: (top)
Poly is a good entry-level option for family use, or a temporary solution. It won't withstand a heavy-use environment for very long. If used for high-school baseball or above, Nylon is the answer.
Nylon is more durable and will have a longer life-span than Poly, and is hands-down the best option for indoor use. It's also a durable outdoor net because of it's UV Inhibitors & Black color. If it will be exposed to freezing temperatures, add a Latex or Varnish Dip treatment to water-proof.
If you'd like more details, please continue reading....
Polyethylene / HDPE
Things to consider:
Why Poly might be right for you:
Overall Quality Grade: B-
Regular Nylon (top)
Things to consider:
Why Nylon might be right for you:
Overall Quality Grade: B
DuPont Nylon 66-728 (top)
Things to consider:
Why DuPont Nylon might be right for you:
Overall Quality Grade: A
Contact Us for prices -- approx 25% higher than standard Nylon
Nylon with Latex Dip (top)
Things to consider:
Why Nylon with Latex Dip might be right for you:
Overall Quality Grade: B+
DuPont Nylon 66-728 with Varnish Dip (top)
Things to consider:
Why DuPont Nylon 66-728 with Varnish Dip might be right for you:
Overall Quality Grade: A+
Contact Us for prices -- approx 35% higher than standard Nylon
We have partnerships with 2 different netting manufacturers, who have a combined 150+ years experience in the netting industry.
There are 2 key factors that contribute to the quality of a net.
Without high levels of both, you will not end up with a high quality net. Plain and simple - all nets are NOT created equal. Nets can be very deceiving, because on the surface most all netting looks exactly the same, to the untrained eye.
This is where we come in.
We researched the net industry for over 7 years, did independent testing, interviewed customers & major players in the net industry to locate the top sources.
Our independent position enabled us to use an objective viewpoint to select 2 of the top net shops to form partnerships with.
We then worked closely with each net shop to define our requirements, ensuring they use both high grade raw materials, and produce a top shelf finished product.
After all, it's our reputation that's on the line, so we knew it was critical to find reliable partners, because a good reputation is paramount to being successful in the netting industry. Why? Because all netting eventually wears out, and if we don't impress customers enough the 1st time, to create long-term customers, we would soon be out of business.
Why did you partner with multiple net shops?
To put it simply - because each of them offers something different. And not to be cliche, but this gives our customers the "best of all worlds", enabling us to offer high-quality products to every market -- from Amateur to Pro-level netting -- all of which is the 'highest quality for the dollar' you will find in the industry, guaranteed.
What benefit do I get purchasing from you, instead of directly from the manufacturer?
First & foremost, we have an objective view on the net industry. Although we have partnerships with the net shops, our companies are still independent -- this creates 2 major benefits for customers:
1) We did all the research so you don't have to. Our independent position allowed us to select from every net shop in the industry, to find the absolute best. We took an objective approach, from a customer's standpoint -- except we did it for over 7 years, with a high level of scrutiny, and did comprehensive testing. This allows us to give customers an honest assessment of which netting is best for their situation, regardless of the origin. We don't care which of our shops fabricate your nets -- our main concern is that you get the best net for both your application & budget - and most of all - you're satisfied.
2) You receive lower pricing. Because we purchase high volumes of nets from our manufacturers, we receive bulk pricing discounts. This actually allows us to keep our retail prices even lower than the manufacturers themselves, who have more over-head and need to make higher profit-margins to stay in business. Since we are a smaller company, our over-head is lower - hence, our retail pricing is lower.
These reasons make our company a "super net shop" of sorts, and one of the most versatile in the industry - because we have combined the forces of the industry's top netting shops. No other single shop or broker can offer this type of service, because they all have an agenda to fill - which is naturally biased towards their shop, irrespective of your true needs. Our only agenda is that your needs are met, you are completely satisfied, and will give us a good reference.
Can I contact your net shops directly?
Part of the arrangement we have with our shops, is that we manage all customer interaction. Their specialty is fabricating nets, so request that we represent them with all of our customers - this creates a more efficient work-shop, and ensures you will receive your net much sooner. All of the manufacturer warranties still apply, and we can assist with every aspect of the order process -- before, and after.
Facts about our Net Shops: (top)
Shop A (lower-cost option):
Rating -- Materials: 8/10 Craftsmanship: 10/10
*Prices currently listed on website utilize netting from Net Shop A.
Shop B (higher quality option):
Rating --- Materials: 10/10 Craftsmanship: 10/10
*Please Contact Us to obtain pricing for this netting option. Prices are approximately 25% higher than "Plain" Nylon.
Just like most products, you get what you pay for. The higher priced nets are more expensive for a reason - they will last longer -- but don't over-buy. Get the net that is right for both your application & budget. The higher priced nets are more intended for College & Professional level use, while the imports will work just fine for Little-Leagues, High-Schools, Back-Yards, and even some Training Facilities operating on a tight budget.
So unless you have strong convictions towards U.S. based products, don't be dissuaded from the China-based nets, simply because they aren't DuPont netting. Our import nets are still very high quality, and most likely more than sufficient for your situation.
The fact is, most items you use on a daily basis, and probably the computer you're using was manufactured over-seas. Imported products aren't inherently bad - products purchased domestically can also be low quality - the key is that the shop uses quality materials, and has quality craftsmen. The net shop we use in China satisfies both of these requirements.
If the quality isn't that much lower, why are imports so much cheaper?
This is simply because there are more net builders in China than the U.S. Because the fishing industry is more vibrant in China, this creates a higher demand for netting, which creates a higher number of net builders. Competition drives pricing down.
Background & Facts about Nylon & Poly: (top)
What is Nylon?
Nylon is a polyamide. It was invented by the DuPont Corporation in the late 1930's.. It was intended to be a synthetic replacement for silk and substituted for it in parachutes and also making things like ropes, flak vests, vehicle tires, combat uniforms and many other military uses after the United States entered World War II in 1941, making stockings hard to find until the war's end. Nylon fibers are now used in fabrics, bridal veils, carpets and ropes, and solid nylon is used for mechanical parts and as an engineering material.
Nylon is stronger than sisal, hemp or cotton. It is stronger than most Polyethylene. It has tremendous shock absorption properties and it is this elasticity that gives it its tremendous strength. It just ....s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s ....... so much before it breaks.
*FACT: UV light is the worse enemy of any fiber (nylon or polyethylene) Nylon in it's natural state is a white fiber. It must be treated to keep out UV rays. That is why nylon is always treated in some sort of net coating - most commonly a black dye.
*FACT: Nylon has a Specific Gravity of 1.14 which means it sinks in water. It also means it absorbs water. In fact, when nylon is soaked in water (or rained on) the H²O molecules penetrate into the polyamide molecules and cause the fibers to slip and slide (like they were greased ). This sliding motion keeps the fibers from locking fully and wet nylon becomes weaker by approximately 10% -- this is why it's important to allow your net to sun-dry in between use. If it's consistently used when water-logged, the lower strength of the fibers when impacted will cause the net to deteriorate quicker.
*FACT: Nylon has very good abrasion characteristics. When coated in an oil based net coating, it becomes very abrasive resistant.
*FACT: What does tensile strength have to do with a baseball hitting a flexible net? Very little. The spinning ball actually wears the netting down by abrasion and heat. In years past, when hardballs were used exclusively, the need for very abrasion resistant netting was a must. Nylon was very prevalent as it was used extensively in the fishing industry. Tar and oil based coatings were also very easily obtainable. Now most teams are using PVC or dimpled balls. These poly balls are ideal for 'sliding' across a slick surface. Its a Poly type ball sliding across a Poly or Nylon dipped net which proves to be the most effective against abrasion.
As a result, Break-Strength is not nearly as important as Abrasion Resistance. Nylon netting is known for its high break-strength -- in many cases this is excessive, and you are paying for something you will never really use. To be sure you are receiving a Nylon net with the highest level of abrasion resistance, it will need to be coated in a water-resistant dip. Another alternative and more economical option is our Poly.
*FACT: Most companies that manufacture nylon netting, get their raw fibers from auto tire makers. They are able to purchase these nylon filaments because the fibers fail to pass the government's stringent tests for raw nylon required by the DOT and other agencies. The "reject" tire fibers are sold for twine , rope, and other nylon products. The problem is, that there is no numbering or criteria for determining exactly how much the fiber failed by. A batch of nylon twine may be made with a fiber that barely missed the cut off point or it may be constructed with a batch of filament that was extremely far from acceptable......or worse case, a batch could be made with a mix of filaments both very good and very bad!
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Poly has received a bad reputation over the past several years, much of which was warranted. However, when the right material is used, it can also be a very effective application for sports netting, by virtue of it's high abrasion resistance and durability - as a result of it's anti-element properties.
Where does Poly come from?
Polyethylene starts out as pellets or chips. They are melted down, extruded and then twisted and spun into fibers that make twine. If the extrusion process is harsh enough so that the tiny molecules of HDPE align themselves in a straight line, like BB's inside of straw, then the HDPE is very much stronger than any nylon fiber. This is called molecularly aligned PE. You know it by the trade names of Spectra and Dyneema (commonly used in bulletproof vests, and two of the strongest materials ANYWHERE - even stronger than KEVLAR and 15x stronger than STEEL). The more the molecules are spread out, like BB's in a coffee cup , the weaker the HDPE becomes. Semi-aligned PE construction makes the in-between material called Sapphire. It's a unique HDPE that has tremendous strength, tremendous abrasion resistance and still does not require any net coating. Unfortunately this form of Poly just isn't affordable an option for sports netting use, which is why Nylon with a "dip" treatment is still the most effective and cost-efficient solution.
*At the time of extruding these melted HDPE pellets into HDPE twine, a 2-3% UV Inhibitor chemical is added into the mix. That means that HDPE is protected from the inside as well as the outside. With HDPE the UV Inhibitor is evenly distributed at the very beginning of the creation of the twine itself....not just 'bathed' in a coating after the twine is knotted and set.
The first FACT concerning High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is that it comes in many different degrees. A netting may be made with 52% PE and the rest Polypropylene (which is a much weaker and inferior fiber when it comes to strength and UV degradation). Because it is mostly PE, a manufacturer might call it PE.
In other words, some of the warnings you heard about PE are TRUE! However, our Poly sports netting uses only 100% original (NOT re-cycled) Polyethylene.
*FACT: Some PE is made from re-cycled poly. This creates problems for the end user as the material is not stabilized, it will not be consistent in strengthen and it shrinks at uneven %'s. It is one of the reasons Poly netting gets a bad name.
*FACT: HDPE requires no coating to make it water proof. It is approximately .94 specific gravity. This means it floats, it absorbs no water and it never, ever requires any coating.
*FACT: HDPE, when processed as it should be, is an excellent netting material and can be used in any application nylon can, and some more at that. HDPE is extruded and processed into filaments. It is then twisted into twine and the twine is put onto netting machines for manufacture into fish net. From here the netting is brought to an autoclave. This is a giant steam cooker. The netting is stretched out from selvage to selvage on rods and placed into the autoclave. The autoclave is de-pressurized and a vacuum is created. 190-220 degree steam is applied evenly as the netting is stretched with several thousand pounds of tension. The knots are now 'heat set'..
Bottom Line: Nylon is still a superior material for sports applications when used indoors, due to it's shock-absorption properties - which extends the life-span. While it's true that some forms of Poly are stronger than Nylon, this material just isn't affordable for use as sports netting (used for bullet-proof vests etc.) - which is why Nylon with a "dip" treatment is still the most effective and cost-efficient solution.
When used outdoors in a very rainy climate with little opportunity to sun-dry in between uses, the life-span of regular Nylon will be reduced, when compared to a Nylon net which has been water-proofed (dipped), or a Poly net.
So in our professional opinion, the sports net with the absolute longest life-span in any climate, is Nylon Type 66-728 with a Varnish / Oil-based dip. If you can't afford this option, the regular Black Nylon Type 66-728 is still a excellent option. If you will be in a very wet climate, and can't afford the top-shelf option, the "regular" Nylon with a Latex Dip is a great option -- and Polyethylene is a good option, and the most economical.