Sustainable grass - markets and process
Despite the economic crisis, the market for synthetic turf is a long-term growth market. The American, Asian and European markets together represent approximately 85% of global demand for synthetic turf. The greatest increase in demand for synthetic turf comes from football and recreational applications (landscaping).
A large part of the growth of the football market is driven by financial considerations. Synthetic turf offers avenues for income growth because synthetic turf fields can withstand much more intensive use. In the recreational sector the major reasons for growth are the opportunities for an increase in membership, more natural-looking products, water shortage and low maintenance costs.
The synthetic turf tennis court of HKFC (Hong Kong)
Preconditions for the development of the market are a combination of climatic conditions, density of population, the popularity of sports, landscape and recreational preferences and financing (at national, local and administrative level). In Europe particularly the market is strongly affected by public sector budgets, as local authorities are often owners of sports complexes.
There are three production locations. Synthetic turf yarns are produced in Nijverdal (the Netherlands), Dubai (Middle East) and Dayton (Tennessee, USA). Backing is produced in Nijverdal. Dubai concentrates mainly on large volumes. The yarns are sold to customers worldwide. These products are stocked at inventory locations in Europe, America and China and even at the customers’ premises. In Nijverdal and Dayton a greater diversity of products is produced. Because these companies are relatively close to their largest customers, it is possible to respond rapidly to customer requirements. One of the products that Dayton makes is TenCate Tapeslide™ XP synthetic turf yarns, and specific yarns are also produced there for landscape and sports applications.
The same applies to backing. Although TenCate takes a critical attitude towards the building up of inventories, the synthetic turf market is seasonal and several volume products are produced to inventory and stored at a number of locations. Other products are customer-specific.
The facililities of TenCate Grass operate more efficiently and more flexibly than ever. In order to continue to safeguard the quality for which TenCate Grass is known, product quality and quality procedures are continuously monitored. The grass companies work closely together worldwide in innovation through an effective R&D structure. Sustainability and the environment play a significant role in the development of products. The sustainability principle of cradle to cradle also applies to synthetic turf. So a critical eye is kept on the raw materials used and on production processses.