Taking advantage of UV stabilizers in field hockey turf production

Have you ever wondered whether the grass used in hockey stadiums is natural or artificial and what difference it truly makes? It’s an appropriate time to ask the question, as August marks the 2019 Euro Hockey Championships in Belgium, an event where artificial turf is front and center.

Hockey (often known as field hockey) was actually one of the early adopters of using artificial grass for sports fields, now almost 20 years ago. Whether to use natural or artificial grass is a decisive choice because it can affect players’ playing style as well as the pace of the game. With so many variables to consider, what motivated hockey clubs to adopt artificial turf playing fields?

The International Hockey Federation, FIH, developed an internationally recognized quality-assurance program (The FIH Quality Program for Hockey Turf), which includes consistent and dependable industry standards and test methods that turf producers need to comply with if they want to become FIH certified.


Where Solvay and Polytex play for sport and leisure applications

Polytex, one of Solvay’s customers, is a recognized technology market leader of artificial turf for sport and leisure applications, providing the market with artificial turf and its components such as masterbatch (a mixture of pigments and additives used to color and to stabilize polymers), fibers and coating material. Solvay provides Polytex with UV stabilizers used in the turf production, specifically the CYASORB® product family light stabilizers added to the artificial fibers to extend their outdoor durability. Through ongoing collaboration, Solvay and Polytex are attempting not only to extend durability but also to improve the sustainability profile of sporting materials, one application at a time.

“We work closely with Polytex to provide them with the best UV stabilizer for this application. CYASORB® light stabilizers are exclusively produced by Solvay,” says Sophie Poelmans, Global Marketing Manager for Polymer Additives at Solvay’s Technology Solutions global business unit.

“Polytex develops and manufactures artificial turf. It’s a daughter company of Polytan, which focuses on the commercial and installation aspect of the business. Polytan is FIH certified, thanks to the artificial turf range of products we provide. Solvay works with us on the continuous development of high-quality artificial turf products,” explains Stephan Sick, Managing Director at Polytex and Global R&D Director of SportGroup.

artificial turf fibers
zoom on artificial turf fibers

 

Artificial turf is much more resilient than natural grass and can withstand the stress of a hockey match much better than natural grass.

Sophie Poelmans, Global Marketing Manager for Polymer Additives at Solvay’s Technology Solutions global business unit

Artificial turf need a high performing UV stabilizer to be built to last
 

Due to the high demand to play sports every day for several hours and in climates where natural grass can’t be grown, synthetic turf is the preferred choice because it’s more resistant, requires less maintenance and is more sustainable.

“Artificial turf is much more resilient than natural grass and can withstand the stress of a hockey match much better than natural grass. Furthermore, artificial grass needs much less maintenance. One pitch of artificial grass replaces three pitches of real grass in terms of playing time; these characteristics have led to its increased use. If you look at natural grass after one season, it’s destroyed and has to be replaced every year while artificial grass can last up to 15 years,” says Sophie.

“Special UV stabilizers go in any product made out of polypropylene, polyethylene, or plastic that is used outdoors or exposed to sunlight, or used in specific applications where strength is required. CYASORB® light stabilizers show the best performance in comparison to our competitors’ products. The UV stabilizer is a component of the Polytex masterbatch used to produce their artificial turf fiber. It provides high longevity and lasting playing performance, and it augments the turf’s stability and durability,” further explains Stephan Sick.

Additionally, artificial turf allows for a more even playing field, permitting the ball to travel faster and uninterrupted, which changes the pace of the game. It also possesses the durability needed to withstand normal game time wear and tear, without the formation of holes typically caused by scoops from hockey sticks. 

So the next time you watch a hockey game, keep an eye out for the grass …

 

Contacts

For additional information about Solvay’s CYASORB® light stabilizers, contact Sophie Poelmans.

For more information about Polytex products, contact Sonja Lorenz, and for any questions about Masterbatch products, please contact color@polytex-gmbh.com.