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Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) Tiles Revolutionise Play Area and Sports Pitch Construction

EPP under surface tiles bring safety, time, cost and unrivalled performance benefits for play area and synthetic sports pitch provider Notts Sport.

Ten years ago, DS Smith Plastics was approached by Notts Sport− a leading provider of synthetic surfacing systems for children’s playgrounds and artificial grass sports pitches− to help develop a safe tile to be used on playgrounds. Through an extensive Reseach and Development process, both companies’ collaboration and technical expertise led to the creation of a brand-new market-leading ChildsPlay® impact absorbing system for playground surfacing made of expanded polypropylene.

Taking that success, in 2013 DS Smith Plastics, Foam Products and Notts Sport teamed up again and began to re-engineer the ChildsPlay® tile and create a compliant combination shock pad and upper base solution for use in 3rd Generation (3G) sports pitches used for football and rugby throughout the UK. 

The challenge

The initial design received for the ChildsPlay tiles was a perfect starting point, but benefitted from some small improvements recommended in a couple of key areas.

After the initial design consultation with the customer, DS Smith Plastics, Foam Products worked closely with Notts Sport to improve on the tile fit, drainage and tight tolerances required for the project. This second phase development of the new sports tile required a higher density than the original design to support adult bodies and advanced compensation for the higher velocities and pounding forces from running on the surface.

Our approach

Using many of the strengths of the original tiles under the ChildsPlay brand, DS Smith Plastics and Notts Sport created the new ShockWave EcoBase® for 3G sports pitches meeting all performance requirements for FIFA and World Rugby compliance.

To allow for various critical fall height requirements the tooling of the ChildsPlay® tiles were developed in such a way that three different thicknesses of tile could be moulded (40, 55, 65 millimetre). For maximum cushioning, the tiles were moulded in black EPP at a low 30 grams per litre density in a size that could be easily palletised.

The new ShockWave EcoBase tiles interlock together on all four sides using a clever dove tail joint. While the top side of the tile is completely flat the underside is covered in hundreds of rounded hemispheres that improve drainage and create an air void through which energy is dispersed on impact. The new tiles are durable, long lasting and 100% recyclable at the end of their useful life.

The result

ShockWave EcoBase EPP tiles are durable, lightweight and slot together in a simple dovetail formation. The above reduces installation time as they can be laid quicker and easier onto a carefully prepared aggregate base. Customers refurbishing Notts Sport’s original playground ChildsPlay won’t be out of commission for long due to the long-term performance and durability of the system meaning that only the artificial grass top surface will need replacing

Both these systems deliver time and labour savings that help to reduce cost. Additional cost and environmental benefits are achieved because 50% less aggregate is required due to the performance of the EPP-based product. EPP is a critical part of the product’s performance and offers benefits across the board to customers, installers and end users in terms of:

  • Speed of install
  • Reduced raw materials
  • Temperature control
  • Finished surface performance
  • Lightweight and easy handling
  • Long-term performance compliance
  • 100% recyclability

About Notts Sport

Notts Sport are the leading specialists in the design, advice, and supply of artificial turf for cricket, tennis, football, hockey pitches to mutli-sports and playgrounds with over 34 years’ experience of schemes throughout the world. 

To find out how we can help develop your new facility contact us at +44 (0)1455 883730 or visit www.nottssport.com.

Contact us to learn how EPP can be customised for your business

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