From turf and infill to maintenance equipment, the synthetic turf industry has introduced a wide range of new products to meet the demands of field care pros. Here’s a look at some of the latest synthetic turf systems and equipment to hit the market.
Photo courtesy of FieldTurf.
One of the factors that turf manufacturers have been striving to improve is the temperature of field surfaces. FieldTurf has been researching and developing solutions to lower surface temps, including a new infill system.
Darren Gill, FieldTurf’s vice president of global marketing, says, “FieldTurf introduced our CoolPlay infill system, which is laboratory tested to reduce surface temperature by up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. CoolPlay was recently installed by the University of Arizona, University of Louisville and University of Tulsa.”
The company has also been an innovator in developing new fibers designed to increase durability. Revolution, Classic HD and XM6 are some of the newest introductions available from FieldTurf.
Photo courtesy of Sprinturf.
Synthetic turf systems have evolved considerably since their introduction in the ’60s. Technological advancements have led to materials that provide more durability and a more natural appearance. Webb Cook, director of sales for Sprinturf, says, “Combine the evolution of fiber performance with system durability, infill composition (materials used) and quality of the installation, and you can see how deeper consideration of these factors now provides better turf systems across the board.”
Sprinturf’s Ultrablade DF Elite System combines monofilament and parallel-fibrillated fibers, creating an interlocking system of fibers that prevents the infill material from “flying out.” This dual-fiber technology creates a dense canopy and provides a natural look.
Cook stresses that before deciding on a synthetic system, field managers should get at least three quotes and also review a manufacturer’s references and customer testimonials.
Photo courtesy of Redexim.
Redexim North America
Just as synthetic turf fields have improved throughout the years, so has the specialized equipment used to maintain them. Paul Hollis, executive vice president of Redexim North America, says there are a variety of factors that field managers should consider before purchasing maintenance equipment.
“They should consider the atmosphere in which they are working. For instance, how much use will the field see per year? The more the field is used, the more attention that it needs to keep it clean, to keep the fibers upright and so forth. Are there environmental concerns such as dust, leaves, litter or other debris? If so, they need something more high tech that can remove the finer particles from the playing surface,” he says.
Redexim offers a range of synthetic turf maintenance equipment, including the Verti-Top 1800, which uses a rotary brush to pick up surface debris and some infill. All the material is thrown on a rapidly shaking filter, which collects the debris, then redistributes the infill material back to the field. For infill removal, the Eliminator removes the material from playing surfaces and transfers it to a conveyor belt system, which must be driven alongside the Eliminator, for collection and disposal.
There is no such thing as a maintenance-free synthetic surface. Jason Sentell, director of sales and marketing for STEC Equipment, says that grooming, deep cleaning, compaction and infill loss are just some of the maintenance issues synthetic turf managers must deal with. Fortunately for field managers, there is a variety of equipment specially designed to maintain artificial turf.
“There are tons of products coming out to tackle the previously mentioned topic of making sure the surface does not carry a broad spectrum of hazardous materials. This is anything from metal, glass and other objects to bacterial concerns. We see several methods like brushes, vacuums and magnets, as well as UV rays and cleaning agents,” he says.
STEC’s NTS Synthetic Sweeper utilizes a 4.5-foot-wide, PTO-driven brush to lift and screen infill, removing unwanted trash and debris. For added flexibility, the unit rests between two rollers, allowing the working depth to be adjusted for either regular maintenance or deep cleaning. The unit is lightweight (485 pounds), causing minimal impact on the subbase.
Photo courtesy of Wiedenmann.
According to Will Wolverton, general manager for Wiedenmann, one of the biggest advancements in synthetic turf fields is the development of subbase and infill materials.
“When these fields first came on the market, there was basically a piece of carpet lying on top of a concrete pad with a rubber pad between the carpet and the concrete. Today with the new fields you have a soil and gravel foundation with drainage, usually some sort of a shock pad, and monofilament or fibrillated fibers that are being held down with rubber (and sometimes sand) infill material. This design provides for a better cushion and allows for some movement of the infill,” he says.
Maintaining fields with infill material can be challenging, but there is a variety of equipment designed specifically for the task, including Wiedenmann’s new Terra Clean 100 ground-driven sweeper. The rotary brush of the Terra Clean 100 brings debris and some crumb rubber or infill onto a vibrating screen that separates the debris from the infill material, which is then redistributed back onto the field.
Photo courtesy of Synthetic Surfaces, Inc.
Synthetic Surfaces, Inc.
So, you’ve done your research and decided on a synthetic system for your facility, but have you considered what will be the glue that holds it all together (literally)? Mike Glassett from Synthetic Surfaces, Inc., maker of NORDOT Adhesives, says that the method chosen to hold the turf together is an important consideration.
“Will it be sewn, or glued, or both? If glued, will it be a total glue down, spot glued, or loose laid and glued at the seams only? The method by which the turf panels, lines and other markings are installed, and the quality of the products used to do the installation, can have a significant impact on the appearance and long-term durability of the field,” he says.
NORDOT Adhesives are available in a variety of formulations for both indoor and outdoor turf installations in a range of temperatures and conditions.