New synthetic systems and equipment
As Rick Doyle, Synthetic Turf Council president, says, “The industry is constantly innovating.” Some of those innovations are coming as incremental changes to existing products, others are new introductions developed to fill a specific need.
With so many options in the marketplace within the various components of synthetic turf systems and in the types of equipment to maintain it, sports field managers have much to consider when making recommendations for their facilities. We’ve asked industry suppliers to provide information on their 2010 introductions, highlighting areas they feel are significant in making comparisons.
Synthetic turf systems
For those considering a synthetic field, suppliers encourage sports field managers to check multiple options, visit a number of different fields and get feedback from the sports field manager and the field users. Also, check the references of the field builders, and ask about their professionalism during the installation and their response to any problems or repair needs. Consider all the possible uses of the new field and ask the hard questions to determine how the system will need to perform to stand up to those uses.
A-Turf Titan is the 2010 synthetic turf system introduction from A-Turf. Rick Krysztof, A-Turf senior sales and project manager, says, “With a 50-ounce base rate, the three-fiber matrix involves a parallel-long slit style (XP) in combination with a triangular monofilament and a spined monofilament fiber on a 3/8-inch gauge. The XT is the durable workhorse that keeps the infill contained, and the monofilament fibers give the natural aesthetic. The primary backing is one part with three components: polypropylene, polyester and fiber reinforced with the secondary backing 22-ounce urethane. A key factor is we infill to within .5 inch of the top of the fibers. Our recommendation is a combination of SBR rubber and rounded silica sand, two-thirds rubber to one-third sand by volume, 50-50 by weight, using over 6 pounds per square foot.”
Clients could choose to use other infill material with A-Turf synthetic systems and to have the seams either sewn or glued. Typically, the architect will determine if testing at specified intervals will be included as part of the contract and what Gmax levels are stipulated. Krysztof notes their systems will meet and surpass all the Gmax levels. He says, “One out of every five synthetic turf system installations goes in with the pad. Yet you wouldn’t just put carpet in the house without the pad. The pad makes the turf carpet last longer, and gives the feel and shock absorption more like natural grass.”
The A-Turf Titan synthetic system has been installed at Morrisville State College, Morrisville, N.Y. Greg Carroll, director of athletics, and Tony Dow, head football coach, say they are impressed with the new field and report that the players love it.
FieldTurf Duraspine PRO
John Belanger, marketing coordinator for FieldTurf, calls the company’s newest synthetic turf system, Duraspine PRO, “The best of both worlds. Our spined fiber, known for its durability and resistance to matting, is now coupled with a patented polymer technology. The combination retains those attributes, yet is 50 percent softer. Like natural grass, each blade features a single spine. The seams are sewn.”
According to Belanger, the fibers are tufted into a backing of permeable woven and nonwoven polypropylene. He says, “Each row of fibers is sealed with our patented SureLock coating system that leaves the backing 40 percent porous for drainage, while providing 9 pounds of turf bind.”
FieldTurf’s infill installation process is patented, with multiple passes involved. Straight washed silica sand is applied first, followed by a mix of specially sized cryogenic rubber particles combined with washed silica sand and topped with straight, larger-sized cryogenic rubber. Up to 21 passes of layering take place, putting down over 9 pounds of infill per square foot, with the mix 70 percent sand and 30 percent rubber by weight.
Belanger says, “The first installation was at Gillette Stadium, where the playing surface will host the New England Patriots for football and the New England Revolution for Major League Soccer, as well as multiple other events.”
Bobby Alfaro, business development manager, says that the factor differentiating the new synthetic turf system from Geo Turf by Limonta Sport USA, is their patented organic infill, called InfillPro Geo. It’s comprised of coconut fibers and cork and claims to have “unmatched Gmax absorption, extraordinary permeability ratings and the ability to retain moisture creating cooler surface temperatures.” It’s 100 percent recyclable and can be used as a thermal barrier in natural plantings or as a planting medium. “The system has endorsement from the U.S. Green Energy Council for an eco-friendly sustainable system, FIFA 2-Star turf rated fields and is one of five FIFA Preferred Producers worldwide.”
Equipment for synthetic fields
Time and usage have proven synthetic turf systems do have maintenance needs. There are many innovations in equipment to fill those needs. Do your homework to determine what fits best for your fields and your program.
Jeff Scott, of SGM Industries, LLC, says the company’s Groomer Brush, the TB 200, works well on synthetic turf surfaces. Scott says, “It’s engineered for strength, quality, durability and ease of operation. The brush height is easy to adjust. I’ve been doing demonstrations at several field sites in Illinois so sports field managers can see the results on their own heavily used fields. I’ve determined the best method of cleaning the debris off a field is by using the technique I use to brush sand topdressing into a putting green, starting in the center of the field and spiraling outward to the outside edge. All of the trash and a small amount of the crumb rubber are brushed to the sidelines in a windrow where it can be picked up by a vacuum or a sweeper. At the same time, our unit fluffs the matted-down canopy and redistributes the infill as topdressing.”
Turf Teq has introduced a kit for the front of their Power Broom that can be used to install infill and maintain infilled turf. The Power Broom features an 18-inch diameter, 46-inch-wide brush on a two-speed drive unit. Brush pressure and brush speed can be adjusted from the operator position. James Day says, “The K1305DT kit uses a set of tires that holds the rotating brush to a very specific height for brushing in the infill, as well as revitalizing it. The white plastic sheet deflects the crumb rubber back into the brush path so there is a constant base of material being brushed into areas that need more material. The same kit can be used for dethatching natural turf.”
According to Chuck Simmons of Kromer, the Field Commander “Chameleon” uses the “one machine, one operator” concept to groom, condition, level, paint, stripe lines, apply logos, end zone markings, yard markers and coaching boxes on both natural and synthetic turf. It also sprays water, chemicals and disinfectants. Simmons says, “For multipurpose synthetic fields, it allows the operator to remove current painted lines and logos and make new ones in just a few short hours, reducing labors costs and allowing more events to be scheduled to create additional revenue. The Baltimore Ravens have a Field Commander, and there’s one at the new Meadowlands Stadium where the New York Giants play.”
Paul Hollis, executive vice president for Redexim North America notes that Redexim Charterhouse has recently added to its Verti-Art line of equipment developed for use on synthetic turf systems. One of the 2010 introductions, the Verti-Top Tow Behind, incorporates, “the same innovative cleaning technology as the tractor-mount version, quickly and effectively removing debris from the surface while gently brushing and grooming the turf fibers.” Brad Delay, supervisor of field operations for the city of Overland Park, Kan., selected this unit for the 12 synthetic fields of the Overland Park Soccer Complex. Delay says, “Its agitator is a little more aggressive, working into our particles as we wanted, without being tough on the turf fibers. It pulls the debris and some of the rubber into a vibrating shaker with the screen sized right to transfer the clean rubber down to the turf and send the debris into the two bins. We can pull it behind our utility vehicles, so it doesn’t tie up a tractor.”
Toro’s new Synthetic Turf Conditioners feature stainless spring steel brushes with controllable down pressure designed to loosen, redistribute and level the infill on synthetic fields. They are available in two models: a tow-behind for use with any utility vehicle and a Quick Attach System (QAS) for use with the Sand Pro.
Wiedenmann North America
Will Wolverton of Wiedenmann North America says the company has introduced the new Terra Clean M, a self-contained synthetic turf sweeper that collects debris on the surface and can be adjusted to reach the top layer of infill. Wolverton says, “The infill is then separated from the debris with a vibrating sifter and is redistributed back onto the field while the debris is collected in an easily removable hopper. The Terra Clean M is powered by a Honda GX 240 gasoline engine and can be pulled by most vehicles.”
Synthetic Surfaces, Inc. has introduced two new one-part urethane adhesives with high and fast development of green strength in cool and cold weather. These adhesives were designed to extend the outdoor installation season for synthetic turf athletic fields, according to company president, Norris Legue. He says, “The NORDOT Adhesives #34P and #34N-4 will permit synthetic field installations and repairs to continue longer as late fall turns to winter, and begin sooner as late winter turns to early spring. In regions without snow, these adhesives will extend the installation or repair season with easy application and spreading in lower-temperature ranges, which will benefit suppliers, installers and sports field managers.”
The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.