P hil ‘The Power’ Taylor’s partnership with Target is keeping him on top of his game.
Target manufacture darts for the world’s greatest player and, as an industry leader, they are continually developing their products.
Phil said: “For me, Target’s new technology has helped keep me at the top of the game. The pixel grip on my barrel doesn’t chip or wear out and the new coatings on my Generation 3 dart feel amazing.
“These things didn’t exist when I started playing and it’s these types of innovations from Target that help push me and the game to new levels.”
Taylor has won 216 professional tournaments, including 84 major titles and a record 16 World Championships.
From 1995 to 2002 he won eight consecutive World Championships as well as being named PDC player of the year six times.
He has also been nominated twice for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The darts used have come a long way during Phil’s career-span and Target has been at the vanguard of their development.
Darts were originally made of brass and are still available in brass. However, for the serious or professional player tungsten is the modern way forward.
The use of tungsten, which is twice as dense as brass, has allowed darts to be weighted heavier but produced to a smaller size.
The smaller, or thinner, barrels make it easier for players to fill a small area such as the treble 20 with the darts.
The traditional knurled and grooved styles of barrel are still used today but the advanced milling machinery used by Target has allowed a wide variety of different grips to be developed.
Steve Reed, Production Manager at Target, said: “The advancement in milling machines makes the production process more precise and allows us to keep evolving our barrel styles.
“Historically capstan lathes were used to produce a dart, which weren’t automated and made for a very laborious process. The dart would be drilled, tapped and then you had to swap tools for grooving.
“The new CNC machines, which we are constantly investing in, now include turning and milling stations as part of the machine. This type of machinery allows far more complex designs, that are higher quality and greater accuracy, which makes way for further evolution in the sport. This allows us to produce products never before seen in darts.
“The level of detail in a dart’s design significantly affects the length of time it takes to produce. For example our second edition Elysian darts take over an hour per barrel just for the machining time.”
Elysian was Target’s limited edition concept dart of the future.
With only 200 sets made it became a showcase of Target’s manufacturing capability.
Teams of designers at Target are involved in continual product development and use advanced CAD systems and product testing.
Grip and coatings are a huge part of how players choose their darts and preferences.
Garry Plummer, Managing Director at Target, explained: “Phil will spend time with the Target team developing his next barrel. We share with players the latest technology on grip and coatings, they think about what they want then we work together.
“An example of this is the Vapor S flight now used by Phil Taylor.
“Phil wanted a smaller flight to free up space on the board but to maintain the same flight through the air characteristics, we worked closely with him testing the aerodynamics of different flight shapes and materials to get it right.”
Target, who have been based in Harlow, Essex, for over 40 years, have an ethos to produce industry-leading, premium products and lead the evolution of darts engineering and design.
They manufacture their darts in their own state-of-the art factory in China and have invested significantly in their production equipment.
Their presence in Asia isn’t only with their Chinese factory, Target also have offices in Tokyo.
Target Japan looks after their rapidly growing business in Asia.
Georgina Beasley, Target Marketing Executive said: “Target Japan are part of our global brand and look after sales and marketing across the far east. We have a lot of young, upcoming Japanese darts stars that are picking up a large following. However, it is predominantly a soft tip game in Asia.”
Target, however, is heavily invested in grassroots darts as well, supporting young and emerging players.
They are committed to supporting darts organisations across Europe, Asia and America. They are involved with darts academies and youth organisations as well as University darts societies.