Everybody interested in sports knows them: the mostly reddish running tracks in stadiums, athletics facilities and sport halls. But only a few know that EPDM granulate produces the special properties of these floors. Melos GmbH has 150 employees and is a manufacturer of this material and market leader in Europe.
It is a well known fact that particularly tough requirements are demanded of planners and manufacturers in the design of schooling, sporting and recreational facilities. Paving stones and tiles have been considered quite adequate until only a few years ago. But this has changed and municipalities and private investors demand quite different properties of floors today. Budget limits demand that floors installed in kindergartens, adventure pools or stadiums are virtually maintenance free, wear resistant and usable for a long time. Adding colour and thus visual "appeal" and attractiveness is another important aspect. Top of the list of investors however is safety: in particular parents place their top priority on optimum safety of floors as far as fall protection and minimizing risks from injury is concerned when selecting a sporting or educational facility for their kids.
The One-Stop Solution
Until only a few years ago it has been virtually impossible to combine all requirements in a sensible and cost-effective solution. Today, this is possible with elastic floors based on granulated synthetic material. Granulates have optimum properties quite in addition to being available in practically any colour and thus transforming recreational facilities into real pieces of art: specific additives can be used to "refine" the granulate and make it completely water resistant or provide it with the highest fire-protection rating. Sound insulation and wheelchair friendliness can be generated in the same way. However, the most important aspect is: elastic floor as used by schools and kindergartens today provides the highest safety standards.
A foundation of EPDM granulate is particularly suitable for this purpose as it protects joints and spine, prevents the formation of puddles as it is water resistant and still retains its slip-resistant properties. The risk of fall injuries for kids is reduced considerably when elastic floors are used instead of paving stones and tiles. Jörg Siekmann, MD of Melos GmbH and father of two sons has his own story to tell: "A kindergarten, school or playground equipped with protection against fall injuries not only calms down parents but looks much brighter and is more attractive. Kids are much more eager to play outside and this is good from a health and sporting viewpoint too."
Melos has a long list of references that shows that a combination of long-term use, good visual impression and safety works just as well in other areas. More and more fair grounds and office floors are added to the list of kindergartens and sport halls. Moreover, the Olympic Stadium in Berlin is the most prominent example. A few years ago Melle produced the athletics running track around the soccer field. Special feature: the 6-lane running track shines in the Hertha club’s blue colour.
Using EPDM granulate in combination with artificial turf is a relatively new application, while rubber and fall-protection floors are already established tools used by architects, planners and other manufacturers. Granulate provides a constant dissipation of impact force as well as constant bounce and roll behaviour of balls when scattered on the grass. It even eliminates the risks of hardening, abrasion or burns. Independence from climatic conditions and minimal maintenance are additional benefits when scattering granulate on artificial turf. Siekmann: "It’s virtually impossible to compare artificial turf from yesterday with that of today. Lawn and granulate combine so perfectly that they approach the properties of natural lawn.
Consultation and Planning
Siekmann adds: "A planner should define his or her wishes and requirements and use the consulting services of Melos before using EPDM granulate, regardless whether it concerns a kindergarten, adventure pool or artificial turf." The reason is simple: by adding or mixing (compounding) special substances completely new granulate characteristics can be produced. The same applies to the colour of granulate. A colour generator shows examples of hues.
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