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3. IAKS-Seminar “Synthetic and artificial turf for sport and leisure facilities”

From 24 – 25 August 2011, the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) held a seminar on the subject of synthetic and artificial turf in the Olympiapark Clubhouse in Berlin.


The first day of presentations began with a lecture on the production and technical demands of artificial surfaces. This was followed by explanations of contractors’ cost estimates, the different base courses and expert soil analysis you should always call upon when you would like to have an artificial surface installed, and what action to take in the event of damage to the surface. Ernst focussed particular attention on a list of criteria that a sports club should consider before deciding what type of ground is suitable for them. First and foremost, the club should ask itself how often the pitch will be used, how time consuming it is to maintain, whether or not the surface is suitable for the volume for which it will be used, and what demands the pitch must be capable of meeting. Giving examples, Ernst also looked at the care of artificial pitches and explained that intensive care of the pitch is essential for longer-lasting fun. If moss gathers on overly damp surfaces, which can be caused by a poorly cleaned drainage system, height differences and uneven surfaces can arise or even burst stitches.

Following on from this presentation, the event sponsors had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their portfolio to the participants. One company in particular was able to provide direct examples of the subject addressed by Mr. Ernst: Among others, Heiko Koch from Berleburger Schaumstoffwerke (BSW) (lit. Berleburger foam works) spoke of seamless fall protection, Markus Hertner from PERROT presented different types of irrigation systems for sports facilities and explained how important the regular irrigation of sport facility surfaces is during the summer for temperature regulation. Jan Lauterbach from Polytan delivered a historical outline on the subject of artificial surfaces and their continued expansion and usage in recent years as well as looking to the positive future prospects thanks to growing acceptance and their multi-functional use.

Following the presentations, Mr. Ernst led the collected participants and sponsors over the famous grounds, which are steeped in history, and explained what had changed in past years and which facilities have been preserved. An organised tour through the stadium allowed a glimpse into its rich history and the different levels of development it has experienced since 1924 to the present day as a multi-functional arena with a tartan track and sports field; it also made it possible to examine the natural turf and training complex of Hertha BSC football club.

The series of lectures was rounded off with a practical example by Dipl.-Phys. Bernd Härting from the IST Institut für Sportbodentechnik (Institute of Sports Floor Technology). The condition of the surface could be ascertained through a series of tests, such as ball roll behaviour as well as landing behaviour on an artificial field on the Olympiapark grounds, and how the result differed from the norm.
To conclude, the participants, sponsors and the speakers, too, had the opportunity to exchange professional experiences at a get-together in a traditional Berlin pub.

The second day of the event began with a presentation by Thomas Kubitza and Jörn Koonert from Melos GmbH on the chemistry and environmental performance and characteristics of synthetic materials and artificial turf surfaces or pellets. It focussed on the environmental performance of pellets and was followed by Dr.-Ing. Stefan Bosewitz’s lecture on the recycling of synthetic pitch surfaces, the legal foundations behind it, who carries product responsibility, and what guidelines would be preferable for a recycler, namely having a defined standard for fill material, for example, or that owners can request the stringent verification of the retention of the material or what challenges present themselves during recycling in terms of adhesive removal, pollution and fill material.

The final speaker was Marion Träger from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport for the State of Brandenburg, whose lecture addressed the subject of mini playing fields in the State of Brandenburg and explained which criteria were used when 85 mini playing fields were put out to tender, planned and built, or are still being built.
Siegfried Hoymann said a few final words to close off the meeting in Berlin.

Diana Doll
Photos: IAKS

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