Louisville Slugger Employs Digital Simulations to Create New One-Piece Atlas BBCOR Bat
Louisville Slugger turned to scientific modeling for the creation of the upcoming brand-new one-piece alloy performance bat the Atlas. And Slugger needed plenty of those simulations to get to the final product.
Using thousands of digital simulations, Louisville Slugger engineers optimized wall thickness in the Atlas Evoke Alloy Barrel along the entire length of the bat's barrel. The computer modeling mimicked the BBCOR certification test to see how well differing barrel profiles performed in the baseball environment, allowing engineers to test thousands of designs in a matter of weeks instead of years.
"We literally did thousands and thousands of design iterations using the computer to come up with the optimum performance profile for each bat length," said James Earley, Louisville Slugger director of engineering. "What this computer simulation did for us is that it accurately mimics the BBCOR performance cannon test."
Following the computer modeling, engineers then crafted samples of the best-performing designs for additional real-world testing.
"It takes a week or two to get new samples rather than a month or two," Earley said. "It's like the design process on steroids."
Using traditional play testing, the brand's research and development team further refined the final Atlas barrel profile, dubbed the Evoke Alloy Barrel, meant to create a larger sweet spot.
"We were able to manipulate the wall profile so that every spot on the barrel has great performance," Earley said.
Joe Cmelik, Louisville Slugger product manager, says the intersection of advanced computer modeling and traditional playtesting results in an optimized wall thickness across the barrel for elite performance and solid feel.
The digital modeling identified the highest performing wall thickness in each spot along the barrel, meant to expand the bat's sweet spot. Then, on the production side, automated lathes were programmed to machine the barrel from the inside, resulting in the ideal barrel profile as defined by the engineers.
Unlike other one-piece alloy designs, the Atlas includes technology meant to dampen vibration, especially on a mishit. Located between the top of the handle and the base of the barrel, a honeycomb-shaped Tuned Mass Damper absorbs vibration on contact, designed to prevent the vibration from reaching a player's hands.
Louisville Slugger adds a SPD-GEN2 End Cap to the design.
The new Atlas will be available at retail this fall for $300. Previous Louisville Slugger one-piece alloy offerings, the Omaha and Vapor, both received updates for 2023 and released on Oct. 5.
The 2023 Omaha
The popular Omaha gets a redesign for 2023 with a new TPX-24 Alloy barrel for added stiffness and energy transfer. The updated PWR End Cap and Tuned Mass Damper are included on the bat designed to produce feel without sacrificing the stiffness and power that keep hitters coming back to the Omaha. The updated 2023 Louisville Slugger Omaha (-3) BBCOR bat retails for $250.
The 2023 Vapor
The 2023 Vapor receives an update in the form of an "extremely stiff construction" on the Series 7 Alloy Barrel meant to fall in line with the bat's value proposition with a $120 retail price. The steady one-piece design pairs the alloy barrel with a new HUB 1-Shot End Cap designed to optimize performance and maximize durability while offering up a light-swinging feel.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.