How do you dramatically improve the rods of the future? The answer lies in Nanotechnology, says Weihai Julia
By harnessing cutting-edge technologies and developing them with skill and precision, the OEM supplier is putting itself at the forefront of rod manufacturing.
Weihai Julia prides itself on its preoccupation with ensuring that every fishing rod it makes is developed using the most up-to-date technologies available. The company uses only Torayca pre-preg carbon fibre and in conjunction with specific custom mandrel design, it is able to develop unique, lighter, stronger rods. One of these is the use of Nanoalloy technology, an innovative micro-structure control mechanic that has been developed by Toray Industries. It is said to bring about a ‘dramatic’ improvement in characteristics compared to existing materials by dispersing multiple polymers on a nano-metric scale.
The technology enables high performance and functionality in polymers that could not be achieved in conventional alloys of micron-metric scale (one-millionth of a metre) and is a revolutionary technology whose basic patent, core process patents and utility patents are owned by Toray.
Nanoalloy is particularly important in the manufacture of a fishing rod for the shock resistance it affords the product. By improving the flexibility under high velocity impact as well as shock absorbing and restoration properties of polymers, the technology enables long-term use of plastics, which until now have been treated as disposable.
High flowability of the polymer in its melted state not only enables thinner parts and product design with complex shapes, but also achieves energy savings through shorter moulding cycles and lower moulding temperatures, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Using Nanoalloy technology, Weihai Julia has developed film materials that can comply with and handle complex shapes even at low moulding temperatures. Replacing existing technologies such as painting and plating, it allows decorations on 3D designs, using environmentally friendly films. It also allows for the creation of plastic materials that reduce vibration and noise. By greatly improving heat resistance temperatures and service life, Nanoalloy technology can be used in applications that require high performance plastics.
Weihai Julia’s immense knowledge and experience means that it has developed many groundbreaking technologies in the world of carbon manufacture over the years. One of its latest is Electro Nanofibre Interlaminar Reinforcement (ENIR). It is essentially a unique layering reinforcing veil that enhances the performance of a carbon composite. It targets two key weaknesses of any rod: low determination strength and low impact resistance.
In fishing Weihai Julia says that it offers significant benefits to match, feeder, lure and fly fishing rods alongside miscroscopic rods and whips. All these materials can be used on high end rods and poles resulting in new products not yet available to mass market. Developing Nanoalloy and Torayca T1100g was not an easy task. Weihai Julia had to develop specific wrapping machines because the material itself is so refined that it needed a more delicate technology.
VP Sales Alberto Solza says: “We have seen examples from our customers in Japan where we increased rod strength by 12% and reduced the weight by 18% compared to their best rod. It’s an exceptional material and took us over five years before being ready to offer the right lay-up to our customers.”