How Bowling Pinsetters Work

Out with the Old

The next step is to sweep away the deadwood. The sweep that had been in the "guard" position is pulled back and forth one time in order to sweep away the knocked-down pins that are still on the lane. These pins are then moved via conveyor belt back into the pin elevator. They will be be used in the upcoming frames.

  1. Once the sweep is back in guard position, the pin table lowers (remember that the remaining pins are held in the pin table at this point).
  2. When the pins are back on the lane, a switch is automatically triggered, flipping open the tongs so that the pins remain on the lane as the pin table rises back to its original position.
  3. Once fully risen, the pin-holder switches are triggered, allowing ten of the pins in the pin elevator to fill in the pin table in anticipation of the next frame. Since the second ball is coming up, the pin table will not need to perform a pick-up again and therefore can work ahead while the bowler takes his second roll.

The preloading of the next frame's pins can only be done in machines in which a CCD camera is used for scoring and pin-count purposes. Otherwise, the pin table needs to lower itself empty after the second ball is rolled in order to provide pin-count information to the automatic scoring machine.

The presence (or lack of) a camera, along with the results of the second ball, will determine the next cycle. Assuming that a camera is present, the next cycle consists of a simple sweep of the pins and a placement of 10 new pins on the lane for the next frame. Several other cycles are possible, however, including preset cycles for fouls and out-of-range pins.

Newer pinsetters have advanced features and cycles that speed up play. The computer power in new pinsetters allows them to make more intelligent decisions, effectively decreasing delays. One example of these advances is the short cycle. Short cycles are specific cycles that are run if the 7 pin or 10 pin is knocked down and if no pins are knocked down. In these cases, there's no deadwood, so no sweep motion is necessary. This saves not only time but also wear on the machine.

Let's find out what else is going on behind the scenes.