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March 14th 2016

Why the Fiber Performance Index Will Change How We Buy Artificial Turf

Almost everything we buy today — from books to cars — is subject to a rating system designed to help consumers invest in the best possible product. The more reliable the source or individual reviewer, the greater the public trust put in that particular ranking.

For years, organizations investing in artificial turf, did not have an objective source of information to turn to when it came to factors such as durability and resilience in competing surfaces.

All that changed with the advent of Labosport’s Fiber Performance Index.

Responding to the needs of architects, facility owners and venue operators, Labosport — a sport-surface certification company — introduced the Fiber Performance Index in late 2015. Considered the first true measurement of fiber quality, the FPI establishes a rating for turf fiber and helps turf consumers understand and weigh the qualities of an individual product’s turf fibers.

The completely independent FPI focuses on three key factors:

  • Durability, measured by UV exposure and fiber wear resistance

  • Resilience, measured by the recovery of the fiber after compression

  • Softness, measured by the feel of the fiber

These key aspects are measured by 4 specific tests:

  • Tear: Measures a fiber’s cross tenacity; this test is commonly used by the plastics industry for quality control purposes.

  • Recovery: Measures fiber resilience after an exhaustive 6,000-cycle compression test; this test uses specially designed equipment to reproduce athletes running on a field.

  • UV: Measures a fiber’s resistance to UV exposure; this test is designed to match the most demanding standards.

  • Feel: Measures a fiber’s softness using an innovative method from the consumer goods industry; qualified technicians conduct this test, and results are processed through a statistical model to ensure repeatability and accuracy.

Fiber is measured after undergoing this battery of tests and is then assigned a grade based on a scale of 1 to 100 in each category. The result is a final Fiber Performance Index number, which describes the overall fiber quality. The higher the number, the better.

The best way to ensure that you get a quality fiber is to specify an FPI score.

It’s important to remember that the choice of fiber is only one of many important decisions that need to be made when installing an artificial turf field. As significant as the FPI is, other components of the turf system — such as infill, backing, drainage and construction — are equally important.

The best combination of them all results in the artificial turf field of your dreams.

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