Why the quality of artificial grass differs
There are huge differences in the quality of artificial grass. The way artificial grass is produced has a big impact on the look, feel and durability of artificial grass and the health of its users. In this article, we will explain the differences in artificial grass quality and why they matter.
A simple example: the thread used by Signature Turf, so the grass itself, contains no heavy metals. That’s special because many other types of artificial grass have color pigments that contain tiny concentrations of heavy metals. For plastic toys there are very strict regulations about this, but for artificial grass this does not apply. That’s why Signature Turf uses fibers that are guaranteed to be clean and safe.
What else do you have to know in order to choose the right type of artificial grass for yourself and your customers? Let’s have a closer look at the production process.
Step 1 – Tufting
Initially, there are two resources: fiber and backing. The fibers come on big spools and the backing comes on rolls of over 4 meters wide. In the first step the fibers and backing are brought together.
The fibers are transported through tubes that are hanging on top of the machine into needles. Those needles stitch the fibers into the backing. A hook then pulls the thread back, creating a loop. This process is called tufting
The difference between tufting and sewing is that the thread disappears in the fabric and the grass needs to stand up straight in the backing.
Step 2 – Coating
The fibers are now still loose in their backing. The bottom side will now get a protective layer to prevent the fibers from falling out. A coating of glue makes sure that the fibers will stick to the backing.
There are two ways in which the coating can be applied: With most machines, the artificial grass enters the machine with the backing facing up. The coating is then pulled over the backing.
We, however, choose to insert the artificial grass with the backing face down. The coating is then ‘licked’ to the bottom side. This process results in a more equal and smooth result.
How important is the thickness of the coating?
Very important. This is another difference between high and low quality artificial grass. The thinner the coating layer, the lower the cost price. But it is obvious that the fibers will be less solid in the backing, and will come out easier when the grass is installed. That’s why we choose for a thicker coating.
Step 3 – Drying
Usually, artificial grass goes straight into the oven to dry. Signature Turf decided to put the grass into an infrared booth first. In this booth the grass is given a ‘wallop’. The grass gets a good scare, so to say. This way the coating will already lose much of its moisture. The advantage of this is that the oven can do its work on lower temperatures. This is important because the more time you give anything to dry, the better, more beautiful and stronger the result.
Step 4 – Perforating
Artificial grass needs to be perforated to give water the chance to run off. However, the more wholes you put into the backing of the lawn, the less stable the backing gets. That’s why Signature Turf uses a double layered backing. This makes it solid, while being permeable at the same time.
Step 5 – Rolling
The grass is 4 meters wide when it is dragged onto cardboard spools. The big challenge here is to make sure the tension that comes onto the grass is exactly – and we mean exactly – the same across the entire width of the spool. If the pressure isn’t the same, the grass will ripple in places where there is less tension. Try to roll up a piece of carpet by hand. It will be tight in the middle, and somewhat loose on the edges. If you then unroll the carpet after a week, the edges will curl up. And that is something we definitely do not want. We strive for uniform quality, across the entire width of the spool.
So after these 5 steps, artificial grass is ready to be wrapped, distributed and sold. That is the production process in a nutshell. We hope it helps you to make a well thought decision when you have to select artificial grass.