Title:
Machine laminated basketball
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A machine laminated basketball having a smooth cushion carcass which is capable of providing a uniform and enhanced cushion effect among the entire spherical surface of the basketball. The cushion carcass of the basketball includes a channel-less carcass having a smooth spherical outer surface, a cushion layer attached on the outer surface of the channel-less carcass. The machine laminated basketball further includes a skin cover including a plurality of skin panels and channel elements attached on the cushion carcass, wherein each of the channel elements is positioned between two corresponding edges of the two adjacent skin panels.



Inventors:
Ou, Tsung Ming (Kaohsiung, TW)
Application Number:
11/072091
Publication Date:
09/07/2006
Filing Date:
03/03/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B41/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AFTERGUT, JEFFRY H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVID AND RAYMOND PATENT FIRM (108 N. YNEZ AVE., SUITE 128, MONTEREY PARK, CA, 91754, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A basketball, comprising: an inflatable cushion carcass having a smooth spherical outer surface, which includes an inflatable inner channel-less carcass and an outer cushion layer which is laminated around said smooth spherical outer surface of said inner channel-less carcass to from said cushion carcass; and a skin cover comprising a plurality of skin panels and channel elements attached on said cushion carcass, wherein each of said channel elements is positioned between two corresponding edges of said two adjacent skin panels.

2. The basketball, as recited in claim 1, wherein said cushion layer comprises a plurality of cushion pieces overlappedly attached on said outer surface of said channel-less carcass in an edge-to-edge manner to form said cushion carcass.

3. The basketball, as recited in claim 1, wherein said channel elements are elongated strips, each having two side ribs extended along two side edges thereof, being spacedly attached on said cushion carcass.

4. The basketball, as recited in claim 2, wherein said channel elements are elongated strips, each having two side ribs extended along two side edges thereof, being spacedly attached on said cushion carcass.

5. The basketball, as recited in claim 1, wherein each of said skin panels has two slanted side edges fittedly attached on said cushion carcass along corresponding edges of two of said channel elements respectively.

6. The basketball, as recited in claim 2, wherein each of said skin panels has two slanted side edges fittedly attached on said cushion carcass along corresponding edges of two of said channel elements respectively.

7. The basketball, as recited in claim 3, wherein each of said skin panels has two slanted side edges fittedly attached to said side ribs of two of said channel elements respectively such that each of said skin panels is slightly protruded with respect to said channels elements.

8. The basketball, as recited in claim 4, wherein each of said skin panels has two slanted side edges fittedly attached to said side ribs of two of said channel elements respectively such that each of said skin panels is slightly protruded with respect to said channels elements.

9. The basketball, as recited in claim 1, wherein each of said channel elements is integrally extended from a peripheral edge of said respective skin panel to form a single piece skin cover panel to attach on said cushion carcass in an edge to edge 10 manner.

10. The basketball, as recited in claim 2, wherein each of said channel elements is integrally extended from a peripheral edge of said respective skin panel to form a single piece skin cover panel to attach on said cushion carcass in an edge to edge manner.

11. A method of manufacturing a basketball, comprising the steps of: (a) forming an inflatable channel-less carcass having a smooth spherical outer surface; (b) attaching a cushion layer around said outer surface of said channel-less carcass to form a cushion carcass; and (c) attaching a plurality of skin panels and channel elements on said cushion carcass, wherein each of said channel elements is positioned between two corresponding edges of two of said skin panels.

12. The method, as recited in claim 11, wherein the step (b) further comprises a step of attaching a plurality of cushion pieces on said outer surface of said channel-less carcass in a predetermined order so as to form said cushion carcass having said smooth channel-less outer surface.

13. The method, as recited in claim 11, wherein the step (c) further comprises the sub-steps of: (c1) aligning said skin panels and said channel elements on an inner wall of a lamination mold defining a spherical production chamber therein; (c2) applying an adhesive agent to said outer surface of said cushion carcass and an inner surface of said skin panels and said channel elements; (c3) placing said cushion carcass in said spherical production chamber; and (c4) inflating air into said cushion carcass to press said outer surface of said cushion carcass against said skin panels and said channel elements so as to attach said 10 skin panels and said channel elements on said outer surface of said cushion carcass.

14. The method, as recited in claim 12, wherein the step (c) further comprises the sub-steps of: (c1) aligning said skin panels and said channel elements on an inner wall of a lamination mold defining a spherical production chamber therein; (c2) applying an adhesive agent to said outer surface of said cushion carcass and an inner surface of said skin panels and said channel elements; (c3) placing said cushion carcass in said spherical production chamber; and (c4) inflating air into said cushion carcass to press said outer surface of said cushion carcass against said skin panels and said channel elements so as to attach said skin panels and said channel elements on said outer surface of said cushion carcass.

15. The method, as recited in claim 13, wherein a plurality of channel ribs is spacedly protruded and extended along said inner wall of said lamination mold to define a plurality of skin attaching portions between each two of said channel ribs on said inner wall of said lamination mold, wherein said channel elements are positioned at said channel ribs respectively and said skin panels are positioned at said skin attaching portions.

16. The method, as recited in claim 14, wherein a plurality of channel ribs is spacedly protruded and extended along said inner wall of said lamination mold to define a plurality of skin attaching portions between each two of said channel ribs on said inner wall of said lamination mold, wherein said channel elements are positioned at said channel ribs respectively and said skin panels are positioned at said skin attaching portions.

17. The method, as recited in claim 11, wherein the step (c) further comprises the steps of: (c.1) integrally forming said skin panels with said channel elements, wherein each of said skin panels is integrally extended from a peripheral edge of said respective channel element to form a skin cover panel; and (c.2) attaching said skin cover panels on said cushion carcass in an edge-to-edge manner.

18. The method, as recited in claim 17, wherein the step (c.2) further comprises the sub-steps of: (c.2.1) aligning said skin cover panels on an inner wall of a lamination mold defining a spherical production chamber therein; (c.2.2) applying an adhesive agent to said outer surface of said cushion carcass and an inner surface of said skin cover panels; (c.2.3) placing said cushion carcass in said spherical production chamber; and (c.2.4) inflating air into said cushion carcass to press said outer surface of said cushion carcass against said skin cover panels so as to attach said skin cover panels on said outer surface of said cushion carcass.

19. The method, as recited in claim 12, wherein the step (c) further comprises the steps of: (c.1) integrally forming said skin panels with said channel elements, wherein each of said skin panels is integrally extended from a peripheral edge of said respective channel element to form a skin cover panel; and (c.2) attaching said skin cover panels on said cushion carcass in an edge-to-edge manner.

20. The method, as recited in claim 19, wherein the step (c.2) further comprises the sub-steps of: (c.2.1) aligning said skin cover panels on an inner wall of a lamination mold defining a spherical production chamber therein; (c.2.2) applying an adhesive agent to said outer surface of said cushion carcass and an inner surface of said skin cover panels; (c.2.3) placing said cushion carcass in said spherical production chamber; and (c.2.4) inflating air into said cushion carcass to press said outer surface of said cushion carcass against said skin cover panels so as to attach said skin cover panels on said outer surface of said cushion carcass.

21. A method of manufacturing a sportsball, comprising the steps of: (a) forming an inflatable channel-less carcass having a smooth spherical outer surface; (b) attaching a cushion layer around said outer surface of said channel-less carcass to form a cushion carcass; and (c) attaching a plurality of skin panels on said cushion carcass in an edge to edge manner.

22. The method, as recited in claim 21, wherein the step (b) further comprises a step of attaching a plurality of cushion pieces on said outer surface of said channel-less carcass in a predetermined order so as to form said cushion carcass having said smooth channel-less outer surface.

23. The method, as recited in claim 21, wherein the step (c) further comprises the sub-steps of: (c1) aligning said skin panels on an inner wall of a lamination mold defining a spherical production chamber therein; (c2) applying an adhesive agent to said outer surface of said cushion carcass and an inner surface of said skin panels; (c3) placing said cushion carcass in said spherical production chamber; and (c4) inflating air into said cushion carcass to press said outer surface of said cushion carcass against said skin panels so as to attach said skin panels on said outer surface of said cushion carcass.

24. The method, as recited in claim 22, wherein the step (c) further comprises the sub-steps of: (c1) aligning said skin panels on an inner wall of a lamination mold defining a spherical production chamber therein; (c2) applying an adhesive agent to said outer surface of said cushion carcass and an inner surface of said skin panels; (c3) placing said cushion carcass in said spherical production chamber; and (c4) inflating air into said cushion carcass to press said outer surface of said cushion carcass against said skin panels so as to attach said skin panels on said outer surface of said cushion carcass.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a sportsball, and more particularly to a machine laminated basketball which is capable of being mass produced by lamination machine while providing better quality and enhancing an overall cushion effect of the basketball.

2. Description of Related Arts

A conventional basketball usually comprises an inflatable carcass and a plurality of carcass panels attached thereon, which is made of the following steps.

(a) winding an inflatable rubber ball bladder with reinforcing thread to form a winding thread layer surrounding said rubber ball bladder so as to form an inner carcass;

(b) covering the inner carcass with an outer rubber layer;

(c) heat molding and vulcanizing the inner carcass with the outer rubber layer in a vulcanizing mold to integrally fusion the inner carcass and the outer rubber layer to form an inflatable carcass, wherein a plurality of channel grooves are indented on the mold surface and thus a plurality of channels are molded to integrally protrude from an outer surface of the carcass; and

(d) aligning a plurality of skin panels between the channels and attaching the plurality of skin panels on the carcass to form the conventional basketball.

Since the channels are integrally protruded on the carcass, such thick channels not only provide no cushion effect but also render the basketball must be hand-made.

Workers have to carefully align the skin panels one by one between the rigid channels and adhere on the outer surface of carcass. It is time consuming and unreasonably increases the manufacturing cost of the basketball.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,506,135, the conventional carcass is improved to have an inner cushion layer by including the following steps after the step (a):

(i) providing a plurality of cushion panels each having a predetermined shape and thickness, wherein each of the cushion panels comprises a thin inner rubber layer, a foaming layer firmly adhered on the inner rubber layer, and a thin outer rubber layer firmly adhered on the foaming layer;

(ii) adhering the cushion panels on the winding thread layer of said inner carcass and arranged to define a gap separating said two adjacent cushion panels;

(iii) providing a plurality of rubber strips each has a predetermined width fittingly to fill the gaps between the cushion panels and a thickness thinner than the cushion panel; and

(iv) filling the rubber strips in said gaps and adhering the rubber strips on the winding thread layer of the inner carcass between the cushion panels until the inner carcass is completely covered by the cushion panels and the rubber strips to form a semi-finished ball carcass.

Then, the semi-finished ball carcass is heated in the vulcanizing mold until all rubber materials, including said rubber bladder, the inner rubber layers of the cushion panels, the rubber strips, and the outer rubber layers of the cushion panels, are melted into a single fusion layer and the semi-finished ball carcass is fused into an integral hollow ball body to form the carcass, wherein the rubber strips are molded to form the plurality of channels raised from the outer surface of the carcass and the foaming layers of the cushion panels are embedded in the carcass to form a plurality of foaming panels sandwiched between the outer rubber layer and the winding thread layer and positioned between the channels, so that portions spaced between the channels become cushioned carcass portions.

However, the protruded channel portions are still not cushioned. Also, it is still difficult to provide the cushion carcass portions with even thickness and uniform cushion effect in the vulcanizing mold.

In other words, the conventional basketball usually cannot achieve uniform cushion effect over the entire spherical ball surface. As a matter of fact, each of the skin panels usually comprises a foaming layer attached between an outer layer and an inner lining for providing a predetermined cushion effect to the basketball. However, because each of the skin panels is attached on the respective attachment groove between each two adjacent channels which did not possess significant cushion effect, the cushion effect in the vicinity of each of the channels is different from that of the remaining part of the basketball. This phenomenon is significant in that a non-uniform cushion effect of the conventional basketball affects the overall quality of its performance.

In addition, there exists a deep-seated problem of unstable and ineffective adhesion between the inflatable carcass and the foaming layers of the skin panels. Specifically, it is observed that conventional adhesive agent would chemically react with the carcass surface to deteriorate the effectiveness of the adhesive agent. As a result, the basketball may not be long-lasting and have a stable performance.

Yet another type of conventional basketball is embodied as follows: the inflatable bladder has a plurality of channel grooves indently formed on an outer surface of the carcass wherein a plurality of channel strips are attached on the channel grooves respectively. The main problem for this conventional art is that it is difficult to manufacture such a basketball with uniformly satisfactory quality. Specifically, it is difficult to accurately and effectively attach the channel strips onto their respective channel grooves with uniformly high quality. As a result, the quality of the resulting basketball may vary considerably from one basketball to another.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

A main object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated basketball and a manufacturing method thereof, wherein the basketball comprises a round and smooth cushioned carcass that enables the skin panels to be laminated on the outer surface cushion carcass by means of a lamination machine for uniform quality and mass production.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated basketball and a manufacturing method thereof, wherein the basketball is capable of providing a uniform and enhanced cushion effect among the entire spherical surface of the basketball, including the channels.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated basketball and a manufacturing method thereof, wherein the basketball includes a cushion carcass comprising an inner channel-less carcass and an outer cushion layer laminated around the inner channel-less carcass to form the cushion carcass with uniform and enhanced cushion effect around the entire spherical surface of the basketball.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated basketball which enables the channels of the basketball to be made by various materials in various shape other than the conventional rigid protrusion of vulcanized rubber of the carcass.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated sportsball and a manufacturing method thereof, which can be applied to other sportsballs such as volley balls and soccer balls.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated sportsball and a manufacturing method thereof, wherein the cushion effect of the sportsball is adjustable by varying the softness and thickness of the outer cushion layer of the carcass.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated sportsball and a manufacturing method thereof, which is capable of providing a more uniform softness and thickness for the cushion layer of the carcass.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a softer machine laminated sportsball.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine laminated sportsball and a manufacturing method thereof, wherein the sportsball is easier and faster to manufacture while ensuring a uniform quality for the manufactured sportsball.

Accordingly, in order to accomplish the above objects, the present invention provides a basketball, comprising:

an inflatable cushion carcass having a smooth spherical outer surface, which includes an inflatable inner channel-less carcass and an outer cushion layer which is laminated around the smooth spherical outer surface of the inner channel-less carcass to from the cushion carcass; and

a skin cover comprising a plurality of skin panels and channel elements attached on the cushion carcass, wherein each of the channel elements is positioned between two corresponding edges of the two adjacent skin panels.

Moreover, the present invention provides a method of manufacturing a basketball, comprising the steps of:

(a) forming an inflatable channel-less carcass having a smooth spherical outer surface;

(b) attaching a cushion layer around the outer surface of the channel-less carcass to form a cushiqn carcass; and

(c) attaching a plurality of skin panels and channel elements on the cushion carcass, wherein each of the channel elements is positioned between two corresponding edges of the two adjacent skin panels.

These and other objectives, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a machine laminated basketball according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a partial section view of the machine laminated basketball according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the configuration of the edges of the adjacent skin panels and the channel element therebetween.

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a method of manufacturing the machine laminated basketball according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a schematic view illustrating how to laminate the skin panels and the channel elements on the cushion carcass according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an alternative mode of the method of manufacturing the machine laminated basketball according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a partial section view of the machine laminated basketball according to the alternative mode of the above preferred embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the configuration of the edges of the adjacent skin cover panels.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1 to FIG. 2 of the drawings, a basketball according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, in which the basketball comprises a channel-less carcass 10, a cushion layer 20 and a skin cover 30.

The inflatable channel-less carcass 10 has a smooth spherical outer surface 11 and a valve stem 12 formed on the channel-less carcass 10, wherein the channel-less carcass 10 is inflated via the valve stem 12 to support the skin cover 30 to form the basketball. The channel-less carcass 10 can be made by the following steps:

(i) winding an inflatable rubber ball bladder with reinforcing thread to form a winding thread layer surrounding said rubber ball bladder so as to form an inner carcass;

(b) covering the inner carcass with an outer rubber layer; and

(c) heat molding and vulcanizing the inner carcass with the outer rubber layer in a vulcanizing mold to integrally fusion the inner carcass and the outer rubber layer to form an inflatable carcass, wherein no channel grooves are provided on the mold surface so as to form the channel-less carcass having a smooth and round spherical surface without any channels protruded thereon.

The cushion layer 20 is laminated on the outer surface 11 of the channel-less carcass 10 to form a cushion carcass 200 which has a uniform spherical shape and uniform cushion effect among the entire spherical cushion layer 20.

The skin cover 30 comprises a plurality of skin panels 31 and channel elements 32 laminated on the cushion carcass 200, wherein each of the channel elements 32 is positioned between two corresponding edges 321 of the two adjacent skin panels 31.

As shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the cushion layer 20, which is preferably made of foaming materials such as sponge or EVA, comprises a plurality of cushion pieces 21 having a uniform thickness and an even softness, which are attached on the outer surface 11 of the channel-less carcass 10 in an edge-to-edge manner according to a surface curvature of the channel-less carcass 10 so as to form the cushion carcass 200 having the uniform cushion effect. In other words, the cushion carcass 200 has a uniform cushion effect in responsive to external impact over its entire spherical outer surface in order to provide a basketball having better quality and stable performance according to the present invention.

Each of the skin panels 31, preferably made of genuine or synthetic leather such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU) or rubber, is overlappedly and fittedly attached on the smooth outer surface of the cushion carcass 200 between each two respective channel elements 32 to form the skin cover 30.

In other words, the channel elements 32 can also be manufactured by genuine or artificial leather so as to form a real whole-leather skin cover 30. It is worth mentioning that, in order to create optimal fictional engagement between the basketball and the gripping hand of a player, a thickness of each of the channel elements 32 can be less than a thickness of each of the skin panels 31 so as to form two discrete layers of the skin cover 30 for enhancing a coefficient of fiction thereof so as to facilitate easy gripping of the basketball by the player according to the present invention. Generally speaking, there are eight pieces of skin panels 31 laminated on the cushion carcass 200 and each of the channel elements 32 is attached on the smooth outer surface of the cushion carcass 200 and aligned between two respective adjacent skin panels 31.

Referring to FIG. 2 of the drawings, in order to enhance the attachment between the cushion carcass 200 and the cover skin 30, each of the channel elements 32 has two thinner side ribs 321 extended along two sides thereof and two side edges of each of the skin panels 31 are inclinedly cut to fittedly attach on the side ribs 321 of the channel elements 32, so that each of the skin panels 31 is slightly protruded alone the channels elements 32 for enhancing an overall attachment strength as well as the cushioning effect of the basketball.

Since the skin panels 31 are slightly protruded with respect to the channel elements 32, the skin cover 30 is also adapted to enhance a fictional engagement between the skin cover 30 and the player's hands. In other words, the two slanted side edges of each of the skin panels 31 are fittedly attached on the smooth outer surface of the cushion carcass 200 and the two side ribs 321 of the two channel elements 32 respectively such that the two side edges of each of the skin panels 31 are laminated on the cushion carcass 200 and the side ribs 321 of the respective channel element 32 so as to prevent the side edges of the skin panels 31 from being worn off.

Moreover, it is also important to point out that since the skin cover 30 is laminated on the cushion carcass 200 having uniform cushion effect, the skin cover 30 is then subject to uniform cushion effect as well so as to ensure a high quality and stable performance for an extended period of time. Furthermore, even the channel elements 32 of the basketball of the present invention have the cushion effect because the cushion layer 20 is also provided underneath the channel elements 32.

According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the channel elements 32 are embodied as elongated strips, preferably made of leather, attached on the cushion carcass 200 in a spacedly apart manner. Accordingly, the channel elements 32 are spacedly attached on the cushion carcass 200 to divide the cushion carcass 200 into a plurality of sections for the skin panels 31 attached thereon respectively.

Due to the fact that the cushion carcass 200 of the basketball has a smooth channel-less outer surface, the skin panels 31 as well as the channel elements 32 can be laminated on the cushion carcass 200 by means of a lamination machine 40, as shown in FIG. 4, wherein the skin panels 31 and the channel elements 32 are aligned on two mold pieces of the lamination machine 40 and the cushion carcass 200 is inflated and placed between the two mold pieces for laminating the skin panels 31 and the channel elements 32 on the smooth channel-less outer surface of the cushion carcass 200 when the two heated mold pieces of the lamination machine 40 are pressed towards each other. In addition, such lamination machine can also be used to laminate the cushion layer 20 on the channel-less carcass 10.

In other words, instead of conventionally adhering the skin panels piece by piece between the channels by hand, the skin panels 31 and the channel elements 32 are able to be laminated on the cushion carcass 200 by machine 40 according to the present invention that is preferable for mass production while maintaining uniform cushion effect and quality.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, an alternative mode according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, wherein the channel element 32′ is integrally extended from an peripheral edge of each of the skin panels 31′ to form a single piece structure of skin cover panel 300′ such that the skin cover panels 300′ are laminated on the smooth channel-less outer surface of the cushion carcass 200 in an edge to edge manner that to form the basketball of the present invention. Accordingly, there are eight pieces of skin cover panel 300′ to attach on the cushion carcass 200.

In order to further enhance the attachment strength between the skin cover 30 and the cushion layer 20, the skin cover 30 may further comprise an inner lining attached on the skin panel 31 for overlappedly attaching on the cushion layer 20 to strengthen the attachment between the skin cover 30 and the cushion layer 20.

It is worth mentioning that the number of channel elements 32 and the manner 10 at which they are attach to the cushion carcass 200 can be selectively adjusted by the manufacturer of the present invention in order to meet different requirements and to produce predetermined aesthetic appeal of the basketball. For example, the channel elements 32 may be attached to the cushion carcass 200 in a vertical or horizontal direct so that the skin panels 31 are correspondingly attached on the cushion carcass 200 in the similar orientation with respect to the cushion carcass 200.

According to FIG. 3 of the drawings, a method of manufacturing the machine laminated basketball according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, in which the method comprises the steps of:

(a) forming the inflatable channel-less carcass 10 having the smooth spherical outer surface 11 and an air inlet valve stem 12;

(b) attaching the cushion layer 20 around the outer surface 11 of the channel-less carcass 10 to form the cushion carcass 200; and

(c) attaching the plurality of the skin panels 31 and the channel elements 32 on the cushion carcass 200, wherein each of the channel elements 32 is positioned between two corresponding edges of the two adjacent skin panels 31.

As mentioned earlier, the cushion layer 20 is preferably made of foaming materials such as sponge and EVA and comprises a plurality of the cushion pieces 21 laminated on the outer surface 11 of the channel-less carcass 10 in an edge-to-edge manner according to a surface curvature of the channel-less carcass 10 so as to form the cushion carcass 200 having a uniform cushion effect.

In other words, the step (b) comprises a step of attaching a plurality of the cushion pieces 21 on the outer surface 11 of the channel-less carcass 10 in a predetermined order so as to form the cushion carcass 200 having the smooth channel-less outer surface and the uniform cushion effect over the entire spherical outer surface thereof.

In the step (c), the channel elements 32 can be first attached on the cushion carcass 200 in a spacedly apart manner, and each of the skin panels 31 is attached between two adjacent channel elements 32 in an edge-to-edge manner so that both the channel elements 32 and the skin panels 31 are supported and cushioned by the smooth cushion carcass 200 to create the uniform cushion effect for the skin cover 30.

In which, the attachment between the skin cover 30 and the cushion layer 20 can be accomplished by conventional adhering agent, such as conventional resin.

Referring to FIG. 4 of the drawings, since there is no channel protruded or groove indented on the carcass 200, the skin cover 30 is preferred to be attached on the cushion carcass 200 by a lamination machine to minimize the manufacturing cost of the basketball.

Accordingly, the step (c), which is adapted to be performed by utilizing a specifically-designed mold, comprises the sub-steps of:

(c1) aligning the skin panels 31 and the channel elements 32 on an inner wall of the lamination machine 40 having two mold pieces defining a spherical production chamber 41 therebetween;

(c2) applying an adhesive agent to the outer surface of the inflated cushion carcass 200 and an inner surface of the skin panels 31 and the channel elements 32;

(c3) placing the inflated cushion carcass 200 in the spherical production chamber 41; and

(c4) attaching the skin panels 31 and the channel elements 32 around the outer surface of the cushion carcass 200 by pressing the two mold pieces of the lamination machine 40 towards each other.

It is appreciated that each of the two mold pieces of the lamination machine 40 may have a plurality of channel ribs 42 spacedly protruded and extended along inner wall of the lamination machine 40 to define a plurality of skin attaching portions between each two adjacent channel ribs 42 on the inner wall of the lamination machine 40, wherein the channel elements 32 are positioned at the channel ribs 42 respectively and the skin panels 31 are positioned at the skin attaching portions that a shape of each of the skin panels 31 is corresponding with a shape of the respective skin attaching portion. Therefore, when the cushion carcass 200 is inflated in the spherical production chamber 41, the cushion carcass 200 overlappedly binds with the skin panels 31 on the skin attaching portion and the channel elements 32 on the channel ribs 42.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings, according to the alternative mode of the present invention, each of the skin panels 31′ is integrally extended from an peripheral edge of the respective channel element 32′ to form the single piece structure of the skin cover panel 300′ such that the skin cover panels 300′ are attached on the cushion carcass 200 to form the basketball of the present invention, wherein the step (c) comprises the steps of:

(c.1) integrally forming the skin panels 31′ with the channel elements 32′, wherein each of the skin panels 31′ is integrally extended from the peripheral edge of the respective channel element 32′ to form the skin cover panel 300′; and

(c.2) attaching the skin cover panels 300′ on the cushion carcass 200 in an edge-to-edge manner.

It is worth to mention that the skin cover panels 300′ are adapted to attach on the cushion carcass 200 by means of the lamination machine 40 as shown in FIG. 4, wherein the skin cover panels 300′ are alignedly overlapped on the inner wall of the lamination machine 40 while the adhesive agent is applied on inner surfaces of the skin cover panels 300′. When the cushion carcass 200 placed in the spherical production chamber 41 is inflated with air pressure, the skin cover panels 300′ are attached to the cushion carcass 200. In other words, the basketball can be manufactured by machine to minimize the manufacturing cost of the basketball.

From the forgoing descriptions, it can be shown that the above objects have been substantially achieved. The present invention provides a machine laminated basketball having a smooth cushion carcass 200 and the manufacturing method thereof, wherein the cushion carcass 200 is capable of providing a uniform and enhanced cushion effect among the entire spherical surface of the basketball. It is appreciated that the above manufacturing method of the machine laminated basketball can be applied to other sportsballs such as volley balls and soccer balls so as to construct a sportsball, volley ball or soccer ball, having a cushion carcass, wherein each of the skin panels has a uniform thickness and no channel element is required between the skin panels. In other words, the skin panels are attached edge to edge on the cushion carcass.

One skilled in the art will understand that the embodiment of the present invention as shown in the drawings and described above is exemplary only and not intended to be limiting.

It will thus be seen that the objects of the present invention have been fully and effectively accomplished. It embodiments have been shown and described for the purposes of illustrating the functional and structural principles of the present invention and is subject to change without departure from such principles. Therefore, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within the spirit and scope of the following claims.