How Schmitz stays ahead of a changing synthetic turf market

Chief Technical Officer Ron Moors heads new Quality & Development department

As of the 1st of March we have a new central department: Quality & Development, led by our CTO Ron Moors. With this new department, we will be able to anticipate even better the everchanging synthetic turf market

Over the years, Schmitz has developed itself as a well-known and respected shock pad producer for the global synthetic turf market. This market, which is the biggest sales market for Schmitz, is everchanging. Ron Moors: “Every day we hear of new systems, like non-infill and alternative infills, and with the current microplastics discussion these new systems will  evolve at an even faster pace. Therefore, it is only logical for us as a leading shock pads producer to anticipate these changes.

In addition to these changes, there are also new demands from sport associations on national and international levels. Whether it’s the new norm of the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) or World Rugby that now allows synthetic turf with a fiber length of just 50 mm, the demands of the industry are always increasing. With these changing norms from the customer side, it is important for us as a producer to anticipate and meet these expectations.  The market simply expects to receive a system that meets these ever changing demands. Of growing importance in the synthetic turf market is recycling. “This is a development that we at Schmitz applaud loudly, since recycling is in our DNA and plays a role in all our developments. It is with reason why we at Schmitz, with years of knowledge and experience, are at the forefront of this trend.”

Growing Company
With the growing demand for ProPlay worldwide, we opened a second production facility in 2017 in Coldwater (United States). In opening this second production location, we are able to better meet the demand of the US market, and ensure shorter delivery times as well as reduced freight charges. Since the end of 2019 we also deliver a ‘hybrid’ shock pad, which combines recycled and virgin foam. Moors calls this “The best of both worlds”. In line with these developments, we also will start with our own foam production in the Netherlands in 2021. This process, currently in the startup phase, will enable our company to grow further and create possibilities for new products for the synthetic turf market. “Everything is moving and our organization cannot stay behind”, according to Moors.

Anticipating New Developments
With all these changes in mind, we made the commitment to create a Central Quality and Development department, situated at our Dutch headquarters. Moors explains: “This department is best seen as a combination of all capabilities we have both in Roermond and Coldwater. Here, we anticipate the latest market development and ensure that our quality is up to the highest standard, which is important in a constantly evolving market . After all, quality is the basis of our process. Additionally, this new department will build on the synergy we currently have between our two production facilities”. Moors will be the head of this new department leading a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of quality assurance, equipment and process engineering, application engineering and product development.

Accepting the challenge
Of course, the big question is: Will customers notice this change? According to Moors it will be mostly noticeable in our technical capabilities and ability to innovate. “The market expects a certain innovative mindset of us. After all, we are a leading global shock pad producer, which means we should stay ahead of trends and be the ones that set the trend.  Be it on sport technical segment or on subjects such as circularity. We see meeting these challenges head-on as a fun experience that we will take with the utmost confidence.”

Jason Douglass named new SAPCA Chair

Jason Douglass, Group Director of S&C Slatter, has been appointed Chair of SAPCA for a two-year term. Jason, who was elected at today’s Annual General Meeting (15 December), will replace Andy Reed OBE in the role.

Jason is a highly experienced industry professional who has spent over 20 years in the sports construction sector. He joined the SAPCA Board as Chair of the Pitch and Track Divisions at the end of 2019.

Following a challenging year for the industry, Jason is looking forward to leading the association through the next two years and has revealed his intention to take SAPCA to the next level.

“I’m pledging my commitment, my time and my energy to do the very best I can in this very important role,” Jason said.

“2020 has been a year of change for everybody and we’ve seen different types of change – forced and deliberate.

“Among the forced changes have been webinars, video calls and virtual meetings, but it’s been interesting to see how some of these changes, which we thought were temporary at the start of the pandemic, may turn out to be permanent – and ones we’ll embrace beyond 2020.

“I’m really pleased how SAPCA has adapted to these forced changes during the year and how the association has addressed the challenges.

“The webinar programme has really been embraced by the membership and we also saw the SAPCA Technical Meeting 2020 attract a record number of people. I’m sure the membership would also agree that the greater emphasis on communications from SAPCA has been noticeable over the past few months.

“But there’s also an opportunity for deliberate change. I think we, as an association, can either sit back and let change happen to us, or we can implement deliberate change in response to the challenges we’re facing.

“Therefore, my vision for SAPCA is deliberate change and progression – built on the foundations of an already strong association.

“One of the areas of change we’ll talk about in detail with the membership next year is our board structure. We’re going to implement a new system of specific roles and responsibilities for each board member.

“We’re going to complete the transition to having skills-led roles and create a SAPCA board which has a dedicated Director for areas such as governance, environmental sustainability, business development and, crucially, for membership.

“Ultimately, I want SAPCA to be at the front of mind when architects, consultants, local authorities and estate managers are looking to procure sports and play facilities.

“I want each SAPCA member to feel they are in an advantageous position over competitors who aren’t SAPCA members.”

Jason’s appointment was welcomed by Andy Reed OBE, who will step down from his role as Chair after three years.

“I’m sure I speak for everyone associated with SAPCA when I say that I look forward to Jason leading SAPCA in its next stage of development,” Andy said.

“It will be a period of constant change from the very start and I think Jason will ensure a very strong strategic direction for SAPCA, which stems from his passion for the sector.”

Chris Trickey, SAPCA chief executive added: “I have no doubt that Jason’s considerable experience and knowledge of the sector will enable him to be a great champion for the sports and play industry, and that his ambition for the Association will certainly help to strengthen SAPCA during the next two years.”

GreenMatter wins Plastics Recycling Award 2020


GreenMatter signed up for the prestigious award of the Plastics Recycling Award Europe already in September 2019. After the event had already been postponed several times, the award ceremony finally took place beginning of December.

“These prestigious awards are intended to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the European plastics recycling industry. They provide an insight into current developments in the use of recycled materials, product design and innovative manufacturing. The Plastics Recycling Awards Europe 2020 received a record number of entries this year. The influx of projects, mainly in the Product Technology category, from across the entire value chain including brand owners, raw material producers and machine and equipment manufacturers testifies to a genuine commitment by all actors to making plastics circular,” said Ton Emans, PRE President.

GreenMatter received the award in the category ‘Building & Construction Product of the Year’.

GreenMatter is honoured to be named among the great innovators within the recycling industry and sees it as an important recognition from their colleague plastic recyclers that they are on the right track and have brought a beautiful concept to the market.

This award reinforces GreenMatter’s mission to reduce the growing artificial grass waste mountain.

GBN AGR officially certified to recycle end-of-use synthetic turf

GBN AGR has received the first unique certificate for the recycling process of End of Life artificial grass  from Kiwa.

The certification process is conducted by quality assurance institute Kiwa. Kiwa is an autonomous global organization in Testing, Inspection and Certification. Kiwa is strictly independent and not involved in manufacturing, trading or other activities that might endanger the impartiality. Jan Klapwijk, Unit Manager at Kiwa, explains: “The certification is brand new, as the plant of GBN-AGR is the first synthetic turf recycling plant in the Netherlands. In the absence of any other synthetic turf recycler operating in the Netherlands, we had to define a new way to certify recyclers of synthetic turf. Therefore, we opted to write down all commitments GBN-AGR makes and the processes they promise they will follow. Compliance will be established twice a year.”

With operations having commenced earlier this year, certifying that GBN-AGR works according to defined processes and adheres to all steps defined is a vital step in the quality assurance process. “It is important that we are transparent and that our clients know upfront how their old synthetic turf will be processed, as well as them receiving confirmation the old turf has been processed the way it was intended,” says Director Eric van Roekel. “We are able to prove how many old synthetic turf fields we have accepted for processing, that they have been processed, and how much raw material we collected at the end of the process.”

The certificate that GBN AGR received guarantees the circular processing of End of Life artificial grass by GBN AGR. It also certifies the high-quality circular raw materials that are produced, such as SBR Rubber granulate, TPE Rubber and Infill sand.

GBN AGR offers full guarantee, transparency and sets the benchmark for circular processing and a consistent supply of high quality, circular raw materials.

A circular economy….. it’s necassary, it’s possible and GBN AGR does it!

Genan adds a sixth tyre recycling plant to its list of high-technology production facilities

As of 1 July 2019, Genan has added a sixth tyre recycling plant to its list of high-technology production facilities, acquiring Portuguese Biosafe.

The strategic focus of Genan is to continue to optimise and develop its core business – and adding a production unit in Southern Europe has thus been a logical next step.

It is Genan’s priority to strengthen innovation, developing new products and defining new, environmentally friendly applications for recycled end-of-life tyres.

Welcoming the Biosafe team in the Genan family, combining ideas, efforts and experience, will take Genan even further on its quest, striving for a sustainable future.