Artificial Grass Feature - PanStadia magazine - May 2005
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a text draft of the artificial grass article
published in May 2005 issue of PanStadia Magazine.
The Development of Artificial Grass
Artificial grass has provided a durable surface that can be utilized in all-weather conditions since the 1960’s. As the artificial grass industry has matured, so have the technological advances in the products. Each technological advance has added features to benefit the buyers of artificial grass. For instance, in the 1970’s, polypropylene fibrillated fibers were introduced to reduce skin abrasion compared to the original nylon-based product.
Then in the 1980’s sand-filled systems were
introduced which greatly reduced the costs. In the
1990’s rubber-infill systems solved hardening issues
with sand and provided additional shock absorbency.
During the past several years, infill-based
artificial grass systems generally feature excellent
shock absorption and soft, polyethylene fibers that
are UV resistant.
New Technology to Focus on Biomechanics
Due to feedback from athletes and trainers, sport
organizations such as FIFA and UEFA have conducted
extensive research on the biomechanical properties
of natural grass.
Higher Standards through Research
The ideal artificial grass systems will encompass the performance characteristics of natural grass relative to the interaction of the surface with both the athletes and the ball. The performance standards include the following criteria:
Improvements through Scientific Engineering
Each component of the artificial grass system effects the performance of the entire artificial grass system. For example, a company may add additional polyethylene fiber weight in order to improve durability. However, too much fiber weight may have a negative effect on the ability for the athlete’s foot to interact with the infill.
To illustrate another example, it is known that rubber infill improves shock absorbency. Although players want a shock absorbent surface, they do not want one that is too soft. Vertical deformation or foot stability is also very important. Sand not only adds dimensional stability to the system, but will also prevent the system from undergoing excessive surface deformation, which can lead to over-stretched ligaments. An artificial grass company must then understand how to properly maintain a field with sand and rubber infill to avoid compaction issues and promote the long-term performance of the artificial grass system.
It would be rather confusing for a buyer of artificial grass to try and understand the complexities of each system component. To help ensure that the proper performance, safety and quality standards are met, FIFA and UEFA have approved certain independent laboratories to conduct the system testing. A buyer can then simply select an artificial grass company that has met all of the standards as collaboratively set by FIFA and UEFA.
The artificial grass companies that have met
these new, higher standards have successfully
replicated the natural grass experience.
Global Sports Systems Achieves Higher
Global Sports and its Xtreme Turf and ACTurf brands, represent an ideally engineered artificial grass system. For instance, instead of simply adding more of the polyethylene fiber (and risk proper infill interaction) just to pass durability tests, Global Sports utilizes a stronger fiber. Instead of avoiding sand infill (and risk proper foot stability and fatigue prevention) just to avoid compaction issues, Global Sports provides a comprehensive maintenance manual based upon facts.
Global Sports Systems has achieved UEFA certifications on three of its Xtreme Turf products. It has also passed independent laboratory tests on the newer, test criteria related to skin abrasion, shock absorption, foot stability and ball interaction.
Quality is further reassured when Global Sports
adheres to a Total Quality Management methodology.
This includes each of the following phases:
Benefits of Technology Improvements and
By specifying a company that can demonstrate adherence to international artificial grass standards, a consultant can add value to the buyer. The consultant can deliver a system that goes beyond “carpet” specifications, and is proven to meet athletic performance and quality standards.
From an athlete’s point of view, the artificial grass system by Global Sports replicates the natural grass experience. It offers consistent playability, passing, sprinting and turning. The ball behavior is predictable. Most of all, the athlete does not have to adapt his or her skills to the surface – the focus is on the game.
From a team manager perspective, intense training can be performed in all weather conditions. With Global Sports’ uniform playing surfaces, there is less chance of injury. With good care and utilization, a field can last for 10 years while having more playing hours.