Monthly Archives: December 2013

Synthetic ice…even in the coldest climates.

SmartRink Synthetic Ice recently installed the new Millenium Square Synthetic Ice Rink in Pickering Ontario. A lot of people have asked me why would a place like Pickering Ontario need synthetic ice? That’s a great question. The fact is when we installed the surface it was a balmy minus 21 that day! But the reality is that in another week it could be plus 10 and real ice just won’t hang around long in that kind of weather. So for a community synthetic ice rink like this one, it provides a very predictable skating surface day in and day out.

The week after we installed the surface they had a major ice and wind storm which frankly is not great skating weather on any kind of rink. Cleaning the synthetic ice surface, just like real ice, would have to be maintained on a regular basis. But once the weather calms down a bit it will be skating as usual on this heavy duty synthetic surface.

The Millenium Square synthetic ice surface will be open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Sharp skates are recommended. Go check it out. Have fun, bring a friend or your family.

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Heavy Duty Synthetic Ice

heavy duty synthetic ice

SmartRink is a company that actually does have a heavy duty synthetic ice system. Other companies may call their system “heavy duty” or “commercial” synthetic ice…but those interested really need to know what to ask the venders of so called “heavy duty” synthetic ice. They can call it whatever they want to but please don’t embarrass anymore by continuing to call your product “heavy duty” becasue very simply it isn’t.

The strength of conversely the weakness of any synthetic ice system is both the material and the connection system. First of all let’s focus on the connection system. A dovetail system is not a heavy duty system. It does not matter if it has a patent or not. Having a patent does not make it heavy duty. Having a connection system that won’t come apart is a step in the right direction however. Dovetail or jigsaw connection joints are very common. They have decent horizontal pull out strength but they have almost no vertical strength in terms of coming apart.

In terms of shear strength, there is absolutely no equal on the market today of the SmartRink H-Tongue Heavy Duty connection system. Any company out – please take on the challenge – we’ll do a test anytime for vertical pull out strength. The only product that might come marginally close would be those companies using the plug / dowel / flat tongue connection system. We have used that as well but in a large scale project it’s not practical becuase of the time it takes install it. But it does do the job quite well.

The second criteria for being “heavy duty” is the material. North American sellers use extruded sheet material. Extruded material simply wears out faster. Any standard industry lab test shows this. The results are clear. Sinter pressed sheets kick the heck out of extruded sheets anytime in any test. The simple reason being is that sinter pressed sheets can use a much higher molecular weight resin. It’s far more abrasion resistant and will therefore last far longer.

So the next time you see a seller of synthetic ice claiming to have heavy duty panels you’ll know what to ask about. Chances are they will just start dropping their prices because they know they can’t compete in this category unless they are much less expensive – and even then it’s comparing apples to oranges.

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Sales of Synthetic Ice

Tis the Season! Then again it seems it’s always the season for hockey training these days! It’s become a year around sport for training, and what better way than to have sales of synthetic ice year round as well. Players want to be able to train when they want, where they want. More importantly – so do their parents! I can tell you first hand how awesome it really is to have your kids grab their skates and head down to the garage rink and take a few hundred shots.

When I decided to get into sale of synthetic ice I knew that it was going to have to be a better product than what my kids had been paying to practice on at a private training facility. Whatever it was it was extremely difficult to turn on and forget about doing a nice smooth pivot. Basically it was only good enough to takes shots with skates.

I discovered a company in Europe that manufactured sinter pressed synthetic ice and once we tried that it was all the difference. When people skate on our panels they notice right away that something is different from the typical EXTRUDED panel material. Not only are they gliding better but there is no tell tale white dusty powdery residue coming off the surface. In our home rink that’s been skated on for years there is nothing to clean up on the synthetic ice surface – except dirt. Sales of synthetic ice proved to be a rewarding experience as well because not only did our clients really love our product, but it got my kids involved in the business from time to time doing exhibitions, skating demos, and taking care of the home practice rink.

SmartRink is a Canadian company that started sales of synthetic ice from scratch back in 2007. Since then we have become the largest Distributor and reseller of OKULEN and NOICEONE in the world. We have sales of synthetic ice all over the world and have successfully built hundreds of rinks during this time. Our biggest sale of synthetic ice was a full sized surface including all the hockey lines and markings. Its located at the Horizon Camp outside of Fort McMurray Canada. We believe it to be the largest permanent synthetic ice rink in the world. Others have tried where we have succeeded.

Sales of synthetic ice is not always easy. There are significant technical challenges especially in climates where the temperature variance between winter and summer can be a swing of 70 degrees centigrade. We compete and have sales of synthetic ice in these climates because we understand the value of a proper application based joint connection system. Other synthetic ice companies attempt to say that their system is “heavy duty” – but ours truly is and we have the data to back up this claim. Heavy duty synthetic ice is not a term describing the thickness of the material – but it refers to the material in combination with the connection system. If you are interested in sales of synthetic ice and a company suggests their “heavy duty” system – simply ask them to show you their test results for “sheer pull out strength”. Those test refer to horizontal AND vertical pull out strength tests. I certainly know of several rink failures that wished they had understood what these terms meant! They would would have selected a different product. But life is a lesson and we try to educate the industry one application at a time. We love sales of synthetic ice as much as our competitors do but we do not compromise skater safety and our success rate by sales of synthetic ice that are less than what a client deserves.

Some of my competitors in sales of synthetic ice say they have been in the business for over 30 years and that if not for them there would not be a synthetic ice industry!! Well, to them I say then they should know better and learned more! How can they still be selling panels that come apart with a temperature change? When it comes to sales of synthetic ice – please do your homework!


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