Online: Tech Talk -- Lane Conditioning
Review FAQs below. If you have a specific question, please fill in the form, then press send button. Click "Menu" to return to Tech Talk Menu.

For Equipment Service And Technical Support
contact DBA's Toll Free 24 Hour Technical Service and Support Line at 1-888-DBA-4110.

Why must lane conditioner be applied to a bowling lane?
  It must always be remembered that the primary purpose for applying conditioner to a lane is NOT for scoring – it is for protection of the lane surface. If this area is left unprotected, damage will begin to occur quite rapidly.
Should lanes be cleaned prior to application of lane conditioner?
  For best results, yes. Applying fresh conditioner to already dirty conditioner on the lane only creates more dirty lane conditioner. Dirty lane conditioner can lead to surface wear. In addition, the consistency of the conditioner pattern will increase with frequent cleaning. It is much easier to apply the same pattern on lane after lane if the lanes are cleaned. (See lane cleaning FAQ)
What is the best lane conditioner for each lane finish and surface?
  Unfortunately, there is no "rule of thumb" as to which conditioner works well on which finish or surface. There are many factors that can affect how well a conditioner performs: quality of the surface or finish, type of water used, type of conditioning method used, frequency of cleaning, etc. Most of the time, it all comes down to trial and error to find the right lane conditioner.
How often should lanes be conditioned?
  The key factors that determine cleaning frequency are lineage and conditioner migration. The more lineage, the more conditioner that needs to be applied, possibly even on a more frequent basis.

Secondly, if conditioner has moved out of the "head" or impact area of the lane, additional conditioner needs to be applied for protection purposes. Conditioner should also be reapplied if it has migrated to or from other parts of the lane and has made the lanes inconsistent or unplayable.

How far (distance) should conditioner be applied to the lane?
  The overall conditioner application distance will vary from center to center. In general, most finish coated wood lanes can use a distance of 38 feet as a starting point, whereas synthetic and film overlays can be anywhere from 40 to 42 feet. (Keep in mind this is the overall distance of application, and does not suggest keeping wicks or wick pads on automatic equipment engaged for this entire distance.)
Is it OK to mix lane conditioners?
  The only lane conditioners that should be mixed or blended together are those that were designed specifically for that purpose. Most "blendable" lane conditioners are of the 100% solids variety (such as DBA CLEAR). Conditioners that contain solvents should NOT be mixed together.
What are the benefits of blending a lane conditioner?
  In most cases, blending will alter the viscosity of the conditioner. There are several reasons a change in the viscosity may be desired: (1) to reduce or increase carrydown; (2) to increase or decrease "hold" in the front portion of the lane due to surface changes (lane finish wear, etc.)
What does 100% solids mean?
  The designation of 100% solids on lane conditioners (and lane finish for that matter) means that there are no solvents in the product that will evaporate into the atmosphere. In theory this means that the conditioner will not change it’s composition once it is applied to the lane.
What do solvents do in lane conditioners?
  Solvents are added for two reasons: first as a flow agent, and secondly as a cleaning agent. Oil, which is the main ingredient in lane conditioners, is a thick material and sometimes needs solvents to "thin" the conditioners and allow it to move through wick material in lane equipment. The solvents also assist the flowability on the lane – as a ball passes through lane conditioner, the conditioner will separate. As long as the solvents remain present, the conditioner can actually flow back to it’s original place.

In it’s role as a cleaning agent, solvents help to separate the dust and dirt particles that fall on the applied lane conditioner, making it easier for the same dust and dirt to be removed during lane dusting.

The disadvantage to solvents is that they eventually do evaporate. Once that happens, the conditioner begins to change on the lane.

Why do some solvents in lane conditioners evaporate more quickly than others?
  The type of solvent used in a particular lane conditioner, along with it’s evaporation time, is a major consideration in the development of the product. For example, if a conditioner is designed to carrydown quickly, a faster evaporating solvent will be used.
Does humidity affect lane conditioner?
  Yes, but only conditioners that contain solvents. In high humidity situations, the solvents will evaporate slowly, whereas when lower humidity conditions exist, the solvents will evaporate rapidly. Once the solvents have evaporated, the characteristics of the conditioner has changed – that can be good or bad depending on how the conditioner was designed to work. Some conditioners are designed with solvents that evaporate quickly so that rapid carrydown can occur, whereas others are made with slower evaporating solvents so the conditioner remains cleaner or stays in place longer
Does temperature affect lane conditioner?
  The viscosity of every lane conditioner can be affected by temperature. In warm conditions, the conditioner will thin and flow easier. In cold areas, the conditioner will become thick and have difficulty flowing through wick material and onto the lane.

Solvent conditioners are usually affected a great deal more because temperature changes are usually accompanied by a change in humidity which will affect the evaporation rate of the solvent.

Why are some lane conditioners clear in color, and others are yellow or even dark brown?
  The color of the conditioners is determined usually by the type of base oil used. Conditioners that are clear in color are usually made from high grade refined oils. Most conditioners that are brown or dark brown in color are made from recycled or unrefined oils. These oils are not pure in grade, and often contain contaminants that can increase dirt problems on the lane. When an recycled oil is used to make a lane conditioner, there can also be consistency problems from one batch to another, which can in turn lead to inconsistent lane conditions.
When is the best time of day to apply lane conditioner to the lane?
  In general, it is better to condition lanes as close to bowling time as possible. The reason is that this will reduce the amount of dust and dirt that fall on the conditioner after it is applied to the lane surface. Dirt is the biggest enemy of lane conditioner, and can change it’s characteristics a great deal.

Some conditioners, however, require some amount of "set up" time to remain on the surface prior to bowling.

What is a good starting point for a conditioner pattern profile that will help to reduce conditioner migration from the head (first 10 feet) area of the lane?
  A good starting point is to apply DOUBLE the units of conditioner in the first 8 to 10 feet of the lane than what is applied at 15 feet. For example, if the tape readings at 15 feet show 20 units of conditioner, then a reading at 8 to 10 feet should show about 40 units. (NOTE: When reading the lane at 8 to 10 feet, it is not necessary to be concerned with the "shape" of the conditioner pattern. In this area of the lane, quantity is more important than the profile.)
How can a pattern be applied to the lane that shows double the units of conditioner at 8 to 10 feet than what s applied at 15 feet?
  If a DBA EXCEL or DBA PHOENIX is being used, the machine should be slowed down to low speed on the return trip at 10 feet. If a DBA LaneWalker is used, a second pass out to 10 feet should be added.

If using other types of lane equipment, it is most likely that an additional "head" run be completed. Consult with the manufacturer for their recommendations.

If conditioning by hand, added spray or towel applications should be done in the "head" area.

If you have a question about lane conditioning, or would like information on DBA Lane Conditioners, complete the box below. One of our DBA technical representatives will contact you with an answer, or check back here at Tech Talk to see your answer.

Name:

Title:

Bowling Center:

Address line #1:

Address line #2:

City:

State:

Country:

Zip, mail or postal code:

Phone number:

Fax number:

E-mail address:

Type your question in the box below:

Please send me further information on DBA Lane Conditioners

DBA Products Company
525 West Laketon Avenue
Muskegon MI 49443 USA
E-mail: dbaproducts@dbaproducts.com
© Copyright 1998