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.”
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.”