In order to perform at the plate, you’ll need a quality piece of equipment. DeMarini has understood and answered that logic since the company’s beginnings back in 1989. Now pillars of innovation and technology, DeMarini bats have become established examples of quality and efficiency in the batter’s box. It can be a game-changing addition to your on-field performance, and all that success has its roots at the factory.
A lot of hard work and dedication goes into each DeMarini bat that exits their manufacturing warehouse. Each step in the process serves a purpose to deliver top notch quality with each swing. Find out how the process transforms every stick from blank to bat with this special behind-the-scenes look into the DeMarini Bat Factory. Follow along with DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate Joey Lancianese and plant manager Nate Baldwin in this Pro Tips feature. Step inside and see where the magic molds metal for your next big hit.
“PRODUCING” AT THE PLATE: PRODUCTION
The first step in constructing a DeMarini bat fit for the diamond is producing the bat itself. All bats, regardless of design, start out as a piece of raw material called a “blank.” These blanks are lathed and pressed to achieve their desired shape and diameter. This process is the same for both one-piece and two-piece bats.
Once formed, the shell of the bat is taken to a CNC machine where it will be cut to the appropriate length. In addition, DeMarini also uses this step to make some preparatory modifications. The interior of the bat barrel is machined and cut as a precursor to installing the 3Fusion End Cap. “So, see we’ll cut these grooves on the inside and this allows the cap to be snapped in and glued in so it doesn’t ever come out.”
The DeMarini bats then travel through, as Lancianese states, a, “Cool, little magic door,” to the sanding room. Sanding the bat’s exterior helps remove the oxidation from the metal, according to Baldwin. Removing the oxidation is key when you need a proper paint job to stick to the surface.
“We do that by two ways,” Baldwin says. “We start in this area where they’ll use the hand grinder to kind of smooth out some of the imperfections in the taper area. And then [the bats] go into the automated machines where they run in the booth.”
To achieve that premier finish, Baldwin says they use two sanding belts — one is rougher, and the other a little smoother.
After the sanding is complete, the bats have their desired glossy finish. Now, they can move on to the painting process.
“PAINTING” THE CORNERS: PAINT
The paint room at the DeMarini Bat Factory is separate from the rest of the manufacturing line. This is intentional, as to not dirty up the paint process and risk tarnishing any bat paintjobs.
“So, we have two main paint booths for the factory,” Baldwin says. “One paint booth is for customization and the other paint booth is for production.”
The customization booth allows athletes to choose their personal paintjob for their favorite bat model. Every custom bat painted by DeMarini is mixed and sprayed by hand. The dedication to a truly custom experience is why DeMarini has been a pioneering force in bat personalization options.
In the production booth, the bats are loaded onto the conveyor and sprayed the appropriate base coat color. Sprayers travel up and down as the bat shells spin to give each stick an even coating. After applying the base coats, the bats go through the oven where the paint is baked onto the exterior.
After the bats have traveled through the oven and had enough time to cool, they go to graphics. “This is really what gives the bat its style,” Lancianese says.
Baldwin notes all graphics for custom and production bats are applied by hand. “It’s a water transfer decal. They’re putting the decal in the water, it’s kind of floating off the glue a little bit. And then, they’re squeegeeing off the water and the air.” Water transfer graphics give DeMarini the ability to create artistic, stunning designs without extensive paint and labor.
The water transfer graphics feature a pink backing that helps identify edges during placement. Workers peel off the backing before the bat’s next move back to the paint booth. “It has to go back to the paint line again for clearcoat because that graphic is not very durable,” Baldwin says. “It’s just a very, very thin decal.”
So, the parts have been designed, produced and painted. Now it’s time to put it all together in final construction.
“CONSTRUCTING” A SOLID LINEUP: CONSTRUCTION
The final phase for every DeMarini baseball bat is a trip through the construction process. “We’re a fairly-lean manufacturing company, so the production line is kind of one big u-shaped assembly cell where everything starts here and then it gets boxed up and finished here,” Baldwin says.
First, the bats are given ample time to cool from the oven. If it’s a two-piece bat design, the next step is to add DeMarini’s in-house-produced 3Fusion Handle.
“So, what they’ll do is they’ll apply the handle on the machine, they’ll apply some glue on there,” Baldwin says. “Line up the graphics and clamp it in this machine, which then allows the bat to become one piece.” The clamping matches the barrel and handle at the 3Fusion Connection. DeMarini has engineered this system to redirect energy back into the barrel rather than a batter’s hands.
After adding the handles, the bats can cure for a little bit of time. This helps the glue set, creating a strong bond between the components. After that, the next step is to cut the bats to length, according to the order.
“There’s a certain work order, a length that we need to build that bat to, and this is what this operation is doing,” Baldwin says. “He’s putting it in, cutting the handle off at the right length so we can process in the next step.”
Following the handle comes the 3Fusion End Cap. The freshly-cut bats are placed in the press and glue is applied to the machined inner wall. The press places the end cap into position, closing off the bat’s barrel and completing the 3Fusion System.
Next is the X-Lite Knob of the baseball bat, which Baldwin notes is the security feature of the bat. The knobs are glued and set in place for a locktight construction. “We want to make sure this knob is straight; we want to make sure it’s in there,” Baldwin says.
For further security, DeMarini drills and pins the X-Lite Knob into place. “So, we’ll put the bat in the machine, it drills a hole through that shaft, moves the bat over and then puts a small roll pin in that shaft,” Baldwin says. It’s a “belt and suspenders kind of mentality.”
Lastly, each bat is set on a rolling lathe where the grip, shrink wrap and warranty cards are all put on. Once this step is complete, the bats are then sent through the oven and are ready to ship out.
Each bat is then placed in its own individual box and given its radio-frequency identification. The RFID tagging allows DeMarini to know exactly where each bat is being sent.
“We palletize according to the work order size, and then after the work order is completed, we go into the finished goods cage where we’re shipping to our happy customers,” Baldwin says.
DeMarini does both commercial orders, like those to major sporting goods stores, as well as one-pack shipping.
Baseball bat manufacturing has many layers. Through years of innovation and determination, DeMarini has answered what it means to bring quality to the plate. You can truly see how the company’s Insane Dedication to Performance comes to fruition in this Pro Tips feature.
Want the blueprints to the perfect bat for you? Use these Pro Tips and learn how to buy the right bat for your next trip to the plate.