• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

European standard levels playing field for shock absorbing layers

Open-cell or closed cell prefabricated shockpads, either from virgin or recycled materials, in-situ shockpads or e-layers are all expected to meet the same minimal requirements in terms of performance. Yet, they are inherently different products. A new European standard will assist buyers and specifiers in distinguishing the different products and their characteristics.

Different parts of the world have different preferences. Some are driven by promoting local or national brands or products, others by a more prone focus on sustainability or believe that their national requirements are superior to others. But in the global market the world has become, the absence of a consensus about how performance or characteristics should be measured and noted, makes it incredibly difficult for specifiers or buyers to separate the wheat from the chaff. The recently adopted NEN-EN 15330-4 specifies minimum performance and durability requirements for shockpads used within synthetic turf and textile sports surfacing systems. The document also specifies appropriate performance tolerance for production and on-site quality control procedures. The new norm will replace any national standard that was used anywhere in Europe. By specifying minimum performance and durability requirements for these products, CEN has alleviated the pressure on the authorities in those markets in particular that didn’t have a quality standard thus far, and safeguards buyers and users of synthetic turf from investing in inferior shockpads or e-layers.

Some take-aways

NEN-EN 15330-4 specifies a minimum impact attenuation index (IAI)of 18 for the product. It also states that the shock absorbing layer must be durable and able to withstand the wear and tear of regular use. The standard specifies a minimum wear resistance of 50,000 cycles, something that is established by means of a Ball Impact Durometer Test. The water permeability should be 100 liters per square meter per hour and the product must be resilient and able to return to their original shape after being compressed. The standard also specifies a minimum resilience of 80% for shock absorbing products used with sports. Furthermore, it is expected to be dimensionally stable and not shrink or swell when exposed to moisture. The standard specifies a maximum dimensional change of 2% for shockpads used with sports surfaces that are intended for ball sports.

To ensure buyers and specifiers can correctly compare details of various products or suppliers, NEN-EN 15330-4 specifies the format for the technical documentation of synthetic turf and textile sports surfacing systems.

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Guy Oldenkotte

Guy Oldenkotte is senior editor of sportsfields.info and has been covering the outdoor sportssurfaces market and industry since 2003

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