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The evolution of synthetic grass ... reached the madness.

In recent years, the market of the construction of the synthetic turf in Italy, crossed the line of common sense and professional integrity.

The industry has introduced a 100% organic infill made from natural materials such as coco fibres, cork, rice husk, cob of corn, pine bark, peat moss, etc., in complete replacement of rubber in an attempt to simulate a natural feeling playing surface with the combination of artificial turf and 100% organic infill. In some cases, the playing surface is nice but there are strong limitations on the duration of organic infill.

At the same time consumption of water is relevant, higher than the consumption of water for a natural field, since the evaporation in bare soil in combination with higher temperatures on the synthetic surface is much greater than natural grass evapotraspiration. This contrasts with the one main advantage of artificial turf that should reduce the costs of the maintenance.

And as if that were not enough, some argue that a synthetic field with 100% organic infill, end-of-life, if economic resources are scarce to replace the pitch and take the old one in authorized landfill, is possible to grind the synthetic grass together the infill (all in defiance of the rules for the environment) and reseed the surface with natural grass. We have no comment on this idea and hope that customers are sufficient informed before making any choice.

On the other hand, playing on natural grass field, when the anchorage of roots is insufficient that often occurs on sandy mediums during the winter and/or the player's action exerts excessive pressure on the surface, the turf tend to raise and form dangerous divots. The evenness of the field is irregular and the safety of the players is less. At the same time restoring the turf sods after every single game is expensive.

The idea

This last statement, in the spring of 2011, brought forth an idea to Dott. Niko Sarris: "why not build a natural grass field from the beginning, sowing grass in a synthetic turf, special designed to promote natural grass growth, creating a real strong Natural Grass reinforced with synthetic turf, capable of withstand up to 6 hours of play per day, enough to meet the needs of most of the sports club, which is about 1200 hours per year."

The idea was good, but the costs of construction were higher than pure artificial. Wouldn't have found a great interest to the public, except of course the professional players who love to play on natural grass.

A few months later, in July 2011, comes the first opportunity in the Italian market: to built a Rugby field in natural grass reinforced as an alternative to synthetic turf, but had to be less expensive.

The budget was limited and we studied different solutions to contain costs, but eventually we've reached the desired balance and the interest increases exponentially: an hybrid system, at low installation and maintenance costs, is a great opportunity to provide the system both to professional players as well to amateurs.

The first tests, confirmed the theory

No choice but to begin a process of experimentation to identify the type of synthetic grass suitable and the type of mixture for the growth medium above and below the backing. After numerous tests in the company, Dott. Niko Sarris reaches the initial conclusions. Studies the problems and limits of existing systems and find the suitable technical solution to ensure the coexistence of natural grass with synthetic turf:

  1. Conscious of the limits of old hybrid systems, he was looking for something completely different. The market standards were much higher and expectation too. He had to think different.
  2. He studied the artificial backing and the grass density,
  3. He tried to incorporate any type of sand with many natural organic components to determine the best solution for the best soil conditioner, specific for hybrid systems, to maintain surface soft for the players and increase porosity for better drainage and gas exchange in the soil above and below the backing of synthetic grass, which is essential for the roots penetration and growth.

In February of 2012 Sarris is ready, he deposits a European Patent Application and start up promotional activities to find out the market reaction and achieve the first pilot fields.

The best surprise was customers reaction, fed up with artificial turf they really appreciate the features and their expectation were high. Later, in the summer of 2012, two pilots areas are ready to be installed:

The results were better than his expectations and the customers were satisfied, to confirm the idea and the project value.

Organic infill floatingOrganic infill floating

In the artificial turf, the organic infill has a low density and often floats on the surface, and then is transported to the sidelines, especially if the background is not draining

Stability on surfaceStability on surface

The other hand, a sand based natural filed does not provide a stable playing surface for intensive use

Trials in GermanyTrials in Germany

A good idea is always experienced.

Results in GermanyResults in Germany

And then sooner or later get good results.

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