The refurbishment market is now mature and in some countries, this accounts for up to 50% of overall sales. An interesting and worrying observation we see whenever we are involved in the refurbishment of old pitches is the legacy of poor base construction found in facilities that are 10 to 15 years old.
Hybrid systems were spawned from early iterations of soil-strengthened systems where soils were ameliorated with fibers or plastic mesh. These modifications enhanced or reinforced the soil structure to improve the root anchoring and retention, thus allowing some extended play to be sustained on natural grass surfaces that were suitably treated.
The FIH quality programme for hockey turf incorporates a significant update to the testing requirements for products and the field of play. The previous 2012 handbook provided an edit and more detailed account of test methods to be used to evaluate products and the playing surfaces. The 2016 manual goes a step further by adding new tests and new compliance criteria which will help shape future hockey surfaces.
Player welfare is a core theme which World Rugby have at the front and centre of its thinking. A few weeks back I was privileged to attend a workshop and assessment of a group of organisations that manufacture systems or technologies used to assess a player who suffered a concussion from a head impact on the field.
Recently the global governing bodies we interact with the most issued a guidance document aimed at providing owners, municipalities, manufacturers, etc., with a one-stop shop standard to cater for multi-use artificial fields.
So, what does planarity mean? The word planarity is rooted in the Latin word plānus, which means flat, and the late Latin word plānāris, which means to be on level ground.
Force Reduction Testing, which is also sometimes referred to as shock absorption testing, is the measure of the ability of a surface to reduce impact forces when compared to a standard concrete surface.
An early claim to fame for Sports Labs was the implementation of Key Stage Inspections (KSI) to the construction of the whole of the base works of an artificial pitch or track.
Rotational Resistance (or traction) is a test which was developed for natural turf fields to assess the amount of grip the field returns to the athlete when a plant-and-turn or change in direction is performed.
Playing surfaces of all compositions and descriptions have the potential to cause minor to severe head injuries whenever athletes come into contact with them.
Artificial pitch requirements have been set in stone for a long time now. The first working limits on the performance of artificial turf for soccer appeared in the publication of the Winterbottom report in 1984.
I thought artificial pitches were maintenance free? Yes, that old chestnut. It's convenient to think that artificial pitches are maintenance free, but the only truth in this is that you don't need to cut the grass!
The largest number of facilities in a region we examine is in the United States where we test over 700 fields per year against the GMax requirements. In Europe, we perform either a FIFA, World Rugby or International Hockey Federation test on over 600 fields.
I call them an insurance policy. Why? Because a shockpad is there to provide a permanent shock-absorbing layer within the artificial turf system. It is an underlayment which sits between the substrate* and artificial grass. Normally it provides a minimum guaranteed shock absorption value when tested using an AAA device.
Artificial turf used in sports facilities will, in general, come with a certification from a national or global governing body. You should not consider the purchase of an artificial turf system without first assessing the results of its tests and evaluations under laboratory conditions prior to leaving a factory.
A Light-Weight Deflectometer (LWD) is a fantastic tool for testing the prepared formation of your pitch or a stone foundation which supports the turf system of your pitch. It works equally well for the assessment of the base of an athletic track or court.
2017 has flown by in what was an incredible year for the turf industry globally. Sports Labs responded to this increased activity by opening a new laboratory and becoming an innovation partner of KNVB in Zeist, Netherlands.