People interested in investing in synthetic ice want a good product. They deserve good value for their money, but they also deserve factual information. I came across very misleading information the other day so I want to write about and set the record straight.
There are several popular connection systems available on the market today. Some of the best systems have been around for decades with minor improvements here and there. By far the most popular connection system is the “dovetail” or interlocking joint system. I came across some misleading information the other day on a product website. Here is what they write on their site as a matter of public information on the internet:
Dovetail Connection: Our Extreme Glide interlocking dovetail style synthetic ice panels, which out-performs the traditional Spline and Square Edge style panels, make installation and removal of the floor very quick and simple. Dovetail panels have quickly become the #1 choice in synthetic ice amongst commercial and residential users. Dovetail panels offer numerous advantages over spline and square edge:
Will not separate during expansion and contraction caused by temperature & humidity changes.
Allow for a variety of floor shapes and installation options resulting in a very strong and durable surface.
Have a very small contact tolerance resulting in the safest & smoothest skating surface.
Can be easily cut to customize your desired skating surface.
Are virtually indestructible and will not break, bend or warp under normal indoor or outdoor usage.
The most popular choice for commercial and residential users.
They are not being very specific here about spline systems but one popular system that is used widely around the world is the H-Spline system. This system is extremely strong. It literally takes thousands of pounds of both vertical and horizontal shear force to tear these joints apart. This has been tested and verified. There are also spline systems out there that also use dowels inserted into the splines that lock the panels together. I’m not sure what the specs are for vertical and horizontal shear strength of this system but I can guarantee it would certainly be far stronger vertically than any dovetail system.
As for square edged style panels – no serious user has built a rink with that system so it’s not worth discussing here.
What is indicated above: “will not separate during expansion and contraction caused by temeprature and humidy changes”. That is absolutely false. Vertical separation due to temperature changes followed by (humidty) rain then freezing temperatures can be absolutely problematic for all dovetail systems. Frankly – single dovetail systems should never be recommended for outside use – especially in Northern climates. You are asking for trouble under winter conditions not to mention risking severe safety hazards due to panel separation.
SmartRink sells dovetail panels, Hybrid-Lock(TM) dovetail panels, H-Spline panels, spline and dowel panels in thicknesses ranging from 6mm to 22mm. We understand there are panels for every application. To suggest that a dovetail panel is the most popular choice for both commercial and residential users is to also suggest that there is likely a lack of understanding of other panel joint systems and their appropriate applications.
Interested buyers and serious buyers of larger more sophisticated commercial synthetic ice systems need to understand and come to appreciate how significant a decision the connection system is to their applications for commercial synthetic ice.
If this is a concern for you, contact us and we can match your application the best product for the job.