Synthetic Turf

What is Synthetic Turf?

Synthetic Turf has been used as an alternative to natural grass since the 1960’s and has developed over the years to create performance surfaces for Hockey, Netball, Tennis, Rugby and Football as well as other sports. Historically, synthetic turf also known as Astro turf, Artificial turf or Artificial grass has been installed where it’s difficult to grow natural grass or the volumes of play have not made natural grass a feasible option.

More recently the research and development of playing surfaces especially in football and rugby has lead to the creation of a Hybrid system in which both synthetic turf fibres and natural grass combine to produce a durable playing surface.

Synthetic Grass is manufactured from polyethylene, polypropylene or in some cases nylon. The manufacturing process brings together raw materials as plastic granules (polymers) to be extruded into yarn. Depending on the type of surface to be produced the yarns can be produced straight or curly (textured).

Fibrillated yarns

Fibrillated yarns – a wide tape (yarn) is perforated creating a strong lattice structure which splits into individual blades after use to produce a multi-fibre appearance. PP and PE usually used in sport.

Monofilament yarns

Monofilament yarns – Individually created filaments which are twisted or wrapped together to form the yarn strand. Manufactured process enables different profiles and thicknesses offering increased durability, resilience and ability for higher usage – PE; used in al landscape products and as a profiled version.

Both yarns have benefits with straight yarns generally used for football and rugby with 40mm-60mm pile heights and textured yarns used for short pile products 13mm – 24mm (hockey, tennis and netball).

Texturised Yarns - Straight yarns that have been heat set to produce a tight curly appearance. Texturised yarns are used as thatch layers in landscape products to help support the monofilament yarns and stabilise infill material.

Profiled Yarns – these are shaped droning the extrusion process (monofilamentrs) in order to offer various performance qualities. C shapes encapsulates infill and S shape – springs back upright.

Research and development of both yarns and sport specific performance allows manufactures to produce synthetic turf taking into consideration, colour, pile height and yarn types.

Synthetic Turf Production

Once the yarn has been selected the tufting machines stitch the yarn onto a first layer (primary backing) which is a nonwoven textile fabric. This secondary backing or coating layer is polyurethane or latex. Polyurethane PU can be lighter in weight and provides a more durable weather resistance backing. The backing is then perforated to allow drainage through the system.

‘Yarn Extrusion 1’ – Show Monofilament fibres during extrusion process, before being loaded onto a bobbin

‘Yarn Bobbin 2’ – Post extrusion, yarn twisted onto a bobbin, ready for tufting process

‘Yarn Creel 3’ – Bobbins loaded onto creel ahead of tufting

‘Yarn Tufting 4’ – Yarn running through the needles, during tufting process

Synthetic Turf Products

Synthetic Turf products are recognised as:

  • First Generation - sand filled systems are short pile products typically less than 24mm. These are used for Hockey, Tennis, Cricket, Football and MUGA’S (Multi Use Games Areas)
  • 2G - sand dressed with sand infill brushed into the pile but not filled. 2G products rely on the yarn as the playing surface rather than heavily sand filled first generation systems. 2G sand dressed products are suitable for Hockey, Tennis, Cricket, Football and MUGA’S (Multi Use Games Areas)
  • 3G products are long pile between 40mm – 65mm with infill of sand and rubber SBR infills. Alternative infills such as cork, EPDM and PU / SBR. Some of these performance infill products are recycled material. 3G products are suitable for Football, Rugby and 40mm Multi Use by some manufacturers.
  • 4G products are design to have no infill and rely on a combination of straight yarn and texturized to support the pile. However, these not currently recognised by governing bodies

Synthetic Turf Management have created a colour range of 24mm sand dressed play product. This Astro turf product is specifically designed for Primary Education on playgrounds and MUGA’S. Soft, safe and massive visual impact.

Synthetic Turf Courts and Pitches are also design with colour scheme to support multi use sports markings and two tone colours for Tennis Courts.