Analysis of the infill in a sand filled synthetic grass pitch
Just imagine that a few years ago you spent thousands of pounds on an all weather hockey pitch, or tennis courts, and as you look out of the window at it now and see ducks wading about on it you’re aware that all is definitely not well. Maybe closer inspection reveals sludge patches, and green ribbons of broken fiber running across the surface? If so then it is a signal that the infill is becoming contaminated with all manner of biological contamination and this has reached such a level where it won’t drain the rain water away, or at least only very slowly.
A quick panic call to a specialist installer might bring back the comment that “Oh yes it’s quite common, but the synthetic grass surface needs replacing at a cost of £ thousands”!! As you stare at the ceiling and wonder why you are lying on the floor, it all comes flooding back. Your groundsman finding you there says “Don’t worry boss we can get the surface tested by Sweepfast, and see if we really do need a new pitch” Following a brief call to Sweepfast, and a site inspection carried out, you are now in possession of a sedimentation test report with the results that show:
the pitch isn’t worn out and actually has only worn a few millimeters from it original height
the infill is contaminated and the levels are well over 10%
the pitch can be “refurbished” for a fraction of the cost of a replacement
Test results in the past have shown, particularly on RAF pitches near the sea where sea gulls spend a lot of time dumping “fuel” on the pitch, contamination levels reach over 70%, and a full refurb and sand replacement have dropped this down to less than 1%.
An indication backed up by facts that the Hydrofast System from Sweepfast is extremely effective at extracting sand from long pile sand filled synthetic grass surfaces, cleaning the pitch to ‘as new’, and even cleaning out the drainage holes in the backing, a thorough job indeed.
For more information call Sweepfast on 0121 747 9255 or simply visit www.sweepfast.com.
With the huge amount of artificial grass surfaces now in use, and with more being installed every month an in house maintenance regime coupled with a professional contractor maintenance plan has never been so important. I know this works out as an unexpected expense but there really is no other option, and bad advice from poor quality contractors can be even worse. I’ll give you one recent example.
The recent spell of wet weather has brought home once again just how important maintaining artificial sports surfaces is. On a recent visit to a customer where the maintenance regime had simply been regular drag brushing. What is worrying is that more recently a “contractor” had advised that power brushing off the top surface and replacing a tiny amount of old sand with new would “revitalise” the pitch. But within one month the pitch had started to retain water once again, now rendering the facility totally unsuitable for use.
The only procedure to discover exactly what is going on beneath the surface is to take samples of the infill then return them to the warehouse and set about processing them. So after giving them this advice and at the request of the customer we took 9 samples from locations all over the surface, from high use areas to areas where there was very little foot fall. These have now been sampled and analysed and the results indicated that the contamination levels are way in excess of the standards for safe play, and the continuous free draining of the surface.
The conclusion of my report is going to indicate a spend in excess of £10,000.00 now to put things right, where if they had been given the correct information and acted on it the pitch would have still been playable now, with an annual spend of less than £2,000.00 and no loss of play and earnings.
It’s so frustrating in this industry that there are so much bad advice from convincing salesmen leading to spending money for the wrong reasons, with only one consequence, the customer has to eventually pay twice.
This is why at Sweepfast we pride ourselves in taking care to visit every site to assess its requirements whether it’s a small private tennis court or a university multi sports complex. We take every measure to ensure the advice we give is based on truth and not on assumptions, and we know then that we can rest easy.
For professional synthetic sports surface advise and service from the first site visit to completion of the works call 0121 747 9255 visit www.sweepfast.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality Machines From The German Manufacturer Hoerger
Why Choose Horger?
Horger manufacture artificial turf equipment for the maintenance of synthetic sports surfaces. This synthetic turf maintenance machinery is hand built by German engineers in their factory near Hamburg, but unlike other manufacturers they are purpose built to do a specific job and are not just modified industrial sweepers or grass mowers.
The KBR System for the deep cleaning of porous and non porous rubber running tracks.
Hoerger started by manufacturing athletic track cleaning machinery (the KBR) in the 1980’s then started work on designing the SKU machines for deep cleaning artificial grass surfaces in early 2000.
The SKR System for deep cleaning water based synthetic grass surfaces
In 2001 Hoerger developed the SKR head water based hockey pitch cleaner to run in conjunction with the existing rear tank on the KBR for deep cleaning water based synthetic grass surfaces
The SKU system for deep cleaning of sand filled, sand dressed and 3G synthetic grass sports surfaces
The first Hoerger SKU machine to clean artificial turf was introduced in 2004 with sales starting in 2005. By the end of 2007 100 of these machines were working across Europe.
In 2008 the SKU Trac (pictured left) was introduced with a custom built 24hp hydrostatic tractor unit powering it.
A new SKU1200 rear mount and front mounted unit was introduced and then front mounted unit to fit Avant loaders was introduced (pictured right) .
There is now a 1500 Basic machine (left) added to this range with electric fan dust extraction to introduce an economical variant to the range.
Hoerger surface brushes.
At the end of 2010 the BS2000 range of brushes was introduced with the first one ready for the IOG Saltex show in September, and this has been augmented by the addition of de-compacting tines with depth wheels and a squeegee blade for levelling out the infill especially when re-filling a pitch with new sand and or rubber.
How do you extract the sand infill from an Astroturf pitch? The most successful way to extract contaminated sand and the associated contamination from a sand filled synthetic grass pitch, or tennis courts is using a high pressure injection system to displace it to the surface for collection. Sweepfast has developed the Hydrofast System which utilises high pressure water delivered at a precisely controlled height from the surface to lift out the material and also to wash the fibres of the synthetic grass clean as it goes. The system is built around an Avant telehandler which travels across the surface at around 0.5 km/hr lifting out the material as it goes and leaving it in a line to be collected by the following machinery.
The results can be very dramatic as demonstrated with the Sweepfast Infill Contamination Test Kit, with a total contamination ratio of around 70.49% on an extremely badly maintained pitch we have reduced that down to 1.38% in just 5 days, see the two images below for examples.
To see more of this impressive system visit www.sweepfast.com or call 0121 747 9255 for a free site visit, assessment and quote.
Maintaining an artificial grass tennis court is no easy feat, and it’s so easy to ignore the leaves etc etc until they decay and can’t be seen any more. But do this at your peril because this WILL BE the kiss of death for your artificial grass pitch or tennis court. If left to decay on the surface the leaf and tree litter will cause the infill material to become clogged, causing more problems as the water refuses to drain through. Black sludge patches rapidly begin to appear as the water which by now is lying on the surface brings this decaying matter to the top, and suddenly you will notice the results of your neglect. When this begins to happen there is only one way forward and that is a full refurbishment, where the sand infill is completely removed and replaced with new. This produces great results and you’re left with a virtually new surface that drains and plays as good as the day it was first installed.
But take this back a step, if the surface was maintained in the first instance this procedure would probably not be needed for many years, instead of after just a few. Brushing with a stiff broom was the traditional way to keep an artificial grass surface looking good, but brushing dead leaves across a synthetic grass tennis court is not good practice and will simply grind in the debris and push it into the sand infill. So what is needed is something light, easy to use but still collects the leaves as it goes.
Enter the Cleansweep synthetic grass cleaning mat.
This device with a little forward motion provided by a reasonable walking pace will sift through the sand infill and separate it from the debris, working it back in as it goes. The debris can be shaken off every few passes and the court will be swept clean in about 10 mins. If done every time before play then the risk of walking the leaf litter into the surface will be almost completely removed, and with no noise created or additional cost input from fuel it rapidly becomes an economical piece of equipment despite its initially high purchase cost. There’s simply nothing else on the market that does what this device can and they are always in stock in the Sweepfast Midlands Depot.
Sweepfast have been involved in outdoor sports surface cleaning for many years, and finding a safe reliable product that can be applied time and time again has been a persistent problem. With health and safety a major concern most of the active products have been removed from the market place leaving various products available some with wild claims regarding their performance. Here at Sweepfast we take an active interest in evaluating every product that comes our way, with some surprising results. Click Here
Our particular problem is preparing a surface ready for our machinery to perform a deep clean service, this means treating the surface for biological contaminants such as moss and algae. A difficult problem especially given the climate we in the UK suffer at the moment. persistent and recurring showers mean that timing the treatment is essential, and a product that works effectively and quickly is necessary.
In the latest batch of trials we discovered that RBT 247 produces a very fast effective control of algae in water based hockey pitches, whilst Algon produces a rapid clean up of moss infested surfaces. Both are safe products to use when applied in the prescribed manner, also both products can be used on the sports field and around the home. Where RBT 247 has been used, we have found that moss and algae is reluctant to grow back so a long term control is obviously a very important benefit worth considering.
Both products are available from our web shop and will be delivered on a next day basis. Full backup, technical advice and safety data sheets are readily available, just log on to sweepfast and register to be able to download documents.
Water based or water filled synthetic grass pitches are another variation on the old Astroturf idea for artificial sports surfaces that can be played on safely all year round irrespective of the weather conditions, with no detrimental effect on the surface. These water based surfaces are much used in the sport of Hockey, and the principle is that they are filled with water from overhead cannons prior to play, this acts as a wearing factor and it also affects play and it is essential that they are kept wet. However this amount of water will, if left untreated, lead to algae growth as debris and water gather in the base of the surface inhibiting free drainage and causing even further build up of contaminants and algae. All this will need treatment immediately if your valuable asset is to be kept in operation. Treatment of the water from the cannons is the front line of attack and careful choice of chemicals is essential. The surface is permanently wet so a chemical that requires high volumes of water to be effective is the main criteria here, however many of these water based pitches are near a water source, such as a river, or stream, or drains that lead to a water source and this in itself will rule out many.
So this leads to another question, how on earth do we control this ever persistent problem. The simple solution is to remove the contaminants along with the algae by employing a contractor such as Sweepfast who have years of experience in this field, and who use purpose built systems and not just converted street sweepers.
The system Sweepfast use is built by the specialist machinery constructors Hoerger in Germany and is called the SKR system. This uses the same pump and tank recovery unit as the KBR for cleaning running tracks, however the front head unit is completely different and is built just to clean water based surfaces. It utilises an extremely powerful pump which drives high volume water under high pressure into the surface displacing the algae, debris, moss and remaining water to the surface
where it is immediately picked up by the head unit, this pumps it straight into the holding tank which is emptied as soon as it’s full into a suitable drainage area.
Microscope close ups of a contaminated pitch before and after the deep clean process are below, this particular pitch was in a dreadful condition with untreated algae almost filling the pile to the top. In this instance it is always best to dry the pitch down, treat with a suitable chemical about 10 days prior to the deep clean. The results below explain why.
With most top level football clubs now feeling the need for 3G training pitch to train on when the weather’s poor, regular maintenance is essential to retain the playing characteristics it had when installed. Maintenance has never been high on the agenda for any synthetic grass facility in the sporting sector and the football clubs are no exception. But once the procedure is in place the benefits are immense, even the most inexperienced player can’t ignore the benefits from an even clean surface, more feel under foot and no smell!!! The smell from an indoor pitch can make you feel breathless and this can be remedied by treating with a santising product such as RBT247 Sanitiser, applied once then again within one week will kill off the bacteria that produces the odour and all that is needed is regular treatment to maintain this level.
The infill needs to be regularly cleaned and de compacted with an ATC2000 or ATC1400 surface cleaner, this will keep the infill free from larger debris such as studs, bottle tops, broken plastic, pens, grips cigarette ends etc etc, it also keeps the infill loose and even, avoiding the risks from torn ligaments, twisted ankles etc etc associated with uneven surfaces.
Once or twice yearly depending on the usage the pitch will need to be deep cleaned with a Hoerger SKU machine to lift out the infill make it free from dust introduced by the players from skin, from foot transfer and from blowing in through the open doors. It will also separate out the more coarse debris and store this safely on board. then it will re introduce this back into the pitch and work it back into the fibres. The SKU machine will also, once this has been done allow the operator to work the machine right down to the bottom of the carpet and relieve the compaction deeper down. The finished result is a pitch that looks, feels and smells clean.
For more details on this and any other service follow the link below: