Monthly Archives: June 2021
Looking to Rent Synthetic Ice for a Special Event?
Renting synthetic ice – especially in the winter – has become both a popular and attractive option for company, community and special events. Synthetic ice surfaces can generally be laid down quickly, don’t require much in the way of special tools, and don’t cause large disruptions to the existing area under consideration. Renting a synthetic ice rink can offer great ‘bang for the buck’ because of this, especially the larger installations that have higher capacities.
If you’re interested in seeing some final results of temporary ice rink installations, please see the following links for a gallery (and breakdown of costs) regarding SmartRink‘s installation of synthetic ice rinks in Palm Coast, Florida, the Donalda Club in Ontario, and The Venetian, in Las Vegas. These projects all had unique challenges but were ultimately very successful.
Synthetic Ice Rental Considerations
There are a few things that one should understand prior to selecting a company for renting synthetic ice. For starters, let’s consider if the surface will be inside or outside; if outside, then what weather factors you are likely to be facing? If the surface is to be outside during the winter in a cold and snowy environment then you will want to select a synthetic ice product with a stronger joint connection system. Most connection systems use a dovetail joint which is potentially weak vertically. When there is a good chance of rain, followed by freezing temperatures then this can result in a situation where water freezes and builds up under the panels and pops the dovetail joint upwards and separates it. This is not only annoying to the operator, it’s very unsafe to the unwary skaters. SmartRink for example has multiple heavy duty joint connection systems that will easily deal with these kinds of harsh conditions.
When renting synthetic ice it is also important to understand the size of the surface you are considering relative to the number of expected skaters – or rink capacity. There are different rules of thumb, but we use approximately 40 square feet per skater. So, for example, if you want to rent a 3200 square foot surface then you can max the skaters out at 80 people. The general rule is that the lower the ability of the skating group, the larger the area that each individual skater safely requires.
Synthetic Ice Rental Maintenance
All types of synthetic ice requires maintenance. The main consideration is keeping the surface clean from dirt and also periodically removing any plastic residue caused from skating. If the rink is outside then cleaning is a relatively simple process of pressure washing and then removing access water using a squeegee. For products requiring spray on glide enhancer then that will need to be re-applied after washing. As for the plastic residue, that can be swept off or vacuumed off at regular intervals. Skating on certain brands of products creates much more plastic shavings than other products. Its good to understand that before the rental to know what to expect. Sinter pressed synthetic ice sheets have less residue as this material typically has a much better abrasion resistance than an extruded product would have.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Synthetic Ice Rink?
The cost to rent a synthetic ice surface can vary greatly. Some of the variables include the size of the surface, duration of the rental term, staffing hours, skate rentals, sharpening services, maintenance, location, perimeter barrier systems, and so on. Cost of the rental be easily be offset however through sales or rink advertising and of course through the rental of skating time. In the right location a good weekend of skate rentals can bring in between $3,500 – $5,000 top line revenue – even more.
Synthetic Ice Rental – The Bottom Line
Renting a synthetic ice rink, whether for a short term event or a longer term revenue generating operation, can make sense for a lot of reasons compared to a traditional refrigerated ice surface. It’s best to fully understand your objectives and then see what the best solution is that can deliver on that. Any reputable synthetic ice company can answer basic questions about your unique application requirements. Talk to a few companies, get references, and take the time to plan. You’ll be very glad you did.
You can reach out to us at SmartRink via our contact form here.
There is no doubt that the majority of requests we receive inevitably are about product pricing. What I would like to do is walk you through the type of information that can affect synthetic ice pricing so you can make more informed decisions. After all, if you are going to spend a good chunk of your hard earned dollars then you need to be properly informed on synthetic ice. Understanding factors that go into synthetic ice pricing will help you make a better decision.
Synthetic Ice Material
First you have to understand that not all material is the same. There are several categories of materials used and they typically differ by the molecular weight and also by the way its actually manufactured. Molecular weight categories can be LDPe (low density polyethylene), HDPe (high density polyethylene), HMWPe (high molecular weight polyethylene), VHMWPe (very high molecular weight polyethylene) and UHMWPe (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene). Puck board or arena board is typically LDPe for example.
Molecular Weight of Synthetic Ice Sheets (VHMW)
Generally speaking the synthetic ice pricing will be greater per panel where the material is VHMWPe or UHMWPe (Very High and Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene). The vast majority of products we have come across on the market are HDPe grade material. The reason we know this, is because the vast majority of panels produced are extruded sheet material. Extruded sheets are going to be LDPe or HDPe (Low Density or High Density Polyethylene). Molecular weight is typically measure in grams/mole.
Extruded VS Sinter Pressed Synthetic Ice Material
Extruded sheets can also be problematic in terms of stresses due to expansion and contraction forces. Extruded sheets are not de-stressed to the degree that sinter pressed sheets are simply because of how they are manufactured. During the sintering process the sheets are heated under enormous pressure, then cooled, then heated again. This takes stress out of the material and the result is a sintered sheet will not only be machined more accurately but it will lay flat whereas an extruded sheet can curl up on the edges and react poorly to temperature variables such as warping or coming apart at the joint connections. The process of sintering the material is more capital intensive and typically will affect the synthetic ice pricing. The result however is a much superior wearing and higher performance material. That means better quality skating over the long term.
Synthetic Ice Pricing…what effects the price?
So to summarize the effect on synthetic ice pricing, the two main drivers are the manufacturing process itself and the raw material resin or more specifically the molecular weight of the resin. The higher the molecular weight of the resin the more expensive it will be as the main cost input when determining the synthetic ice pricing.
How Would a Consumer Compare Synthetic Ice Pricing?
Admittedly, it can be difficult for a consumer to determine these things on their own. Unfortunately this industry does a poor job in communicating these topics in a way that consumers understand enough to compare products. Personally, I believe consumers need to get to the heart of the matter when it comes to synthetic ice pricing. Intuitively consumers are smart enough to know that every company can’t be the best, the fastest, and the cheapest. Sorry life doesn’t work that way. We understand the dilemma and so we have taken steps for consumers to test our product before they ever have to buy it. We have essentially removed any buying risk from the purchase. Obviously we have to be competitive price wise and so our approach is that we offer multiple products and different price points and we explain the differences then based on the consumers budget they select the best product for their budget.
Synthetic ice is usually not a “spur of the moment” purchase decision. Generally buyers do their research and consider various options such as material, connection systems, application, supplier location, pricing, and customer service. Just be careful of the marketing hype and boastful claims from a lot of companies. Make sure you call and talk to a representative. Ask for references and testimonials, and call them or email them to see what their experience has been.
Synthetic Ice Peace of Mind
So, it’s the moment of truth and you want to feel good about dropping thousands of dollars on the right product. If you still are not really sure and 2 or 3 suppliers seem like the right fit, then consider going with the company that offers a free trial: which we do! You can use the product before making a decision – and if you like it you keep it, if you don’t you send it back. Before you know it your kids will be skating around at home and having a ball. Make a smart decision, with SmartRink synthetic ice.