Tag Archives: synthetic ice

Cleaning your synthetic ice

cleaning your synthetic iceNo different than any flooring surface – synthetic ice gets dirty and it should be regularly cleaned. The dirt comes from a variety of sources. Most of it is simply airborne dust that settles on the surface. Since most products are either white or light blue it tends to show up and can become unsightly if not taken care of.

Cleaning your synthetic ice surface does not have to be difficult, but that being said, the longer you postpone the job, the tougher it will become. Larger synthetic ice rink surfaces are clearly more work – unless you are fortunate enough to have a mechanical floor cleaning machine at your disposal. Over the years I have experimented with a variety of methods.

For smaller surfaces used at home probably the most common form of cleaning your synthetic ice is the old mop and bucket method. A good wet mop will loose up the dirt. Put a liberal amount of water on the surface and then wring out the mop and use it again to remove the dirty water. Repeat as required until you achieve the required result. If you have really stubborn ground in dirt then I have found that a stiff deck brush works wonders on puck marks and stick tape marks along with a little elbow grease. If nothing else its a good rigorous workout!

I am one of those people who happens to have a small mechanical floor cleaner which works great for synthetic ice. These devices have a scrubbing cylinder in front with a stiff brush. Water sprays out of the unit onto the ice surface and the scrubber works it into the surface and cleans it. The nice part is that it also sucks the dirty water back up into the unit’s holding tank. It usually takes me a few passes to get it looking nice again.

By far the most effective method has to be pressure washing. Most people own a pressure washer and they do an outstanding job on even the dirtiest synthetic ice surface. Some models even have a covered hood on the front of the machine with two rotating spray heads that really do an excellent job in removing stubborn dirt.

Finally, many people wonder if a detergent or degreaser is recommended? What we usually advise is if the surface becomes clean using only warm water then don’t worry about a cleaner. If you find water is not working well enough then use a neutral (low or non foaming) cleaner. What you don’t want to do is leave behind a foam or cleaner residue. Although this won’t harm the product, it could leave an unwanted residue behind. If you do use a cleaner then just make sure that it is rinsed off really well.

I hope you find this article useful for cleaning your synthetic ice and if done regularly you should be able to maintain a nice clean looking surface for the life of the product. Ensuring that your surface is clean will make for a better skating experience on your synthetic ice rink.

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What is synthetic ice

When people ask what is synthetic ice it can be a challenge to answer in a way that they can truly understand and grasp the both the concept and the product capability. So in this post I am going to do my best to give you a brief education and overview on what is synthetic ice.

Synthetic ice is a plastic

Yes, in it’s most basic form synthetic ice is plastic. To be sure there are a lot of different kinds of plastic. There are also various ways that plastic is made. So what is synthetic ice made of? Generally speaking it’s made of polyethylene although there are a few that appear to be made from other material as well.

Polyethylene and synthetic ice

There are various grades of polyethylene. I have written about this before so check out some of our earlier posts about that topic. Typically though what is synthetic ice polyethylene? We generally see products in the HDPe – VHMWPe classifications and even within these there can be quite a variety of molecular weights. For example HDPe can range from 300,000 g/mole to 500,000 g/mole.

What is synthetic ice manufacturing methods

Typically any product we see being made in North America is extruded. Extruded polyethylene does can have a molecular weight that is over 500,000 g./mole. This is a limiting factor for this method. The result is a decent sheet suitable for skating on but it won’t be the best material. Some companies claim to use a higher molecular weight and also claim they extrude the material. The only explanation for this is that they mix materials such that it will work in the extruder. The other method of manufacture is sinter pressing. This process uses extreme pressure along with heating and cooling of the material. This is advantageous because it de-stresses the material. Sinter pressing also allows for a much higher molecular weight material to be used and will produce a superior glide and far superior durability over the long term of the product. There are standard industry tests such as the sand slurry test that will demonstrate how much better sinter pressed material with higher molecular weight is to abrasion resistance than standard extruded material. That test shows how durable a product will be over time.

Ask questions about synthetic ice

So when people ask “what is synthetic ice” it is important to understand that there can be vast differences between suppliers. Clients tell me that other suppliers they talk to are reluctant to share very much product information with them. That’s unfortunate, but in order to do a proper analysis between products it’s essential to understand more about material, glide enhancers and connection systems. Then once you have all the basic information you can be better armed to make some legitimate price comparisons. Otherwise you are potentially relying on some companies marketing or sales pitch and that could lead to disappointment. Hopefully that is never the case.

What is a synthetic ice Free Trial?

It is understood that this can be a complicated and confusing purchase. SmartRink offers a Free Trial to assist you in making an informed intelligent decision. On our website just enter the Synthetic ice Free Trial button and you’ll be on your way to skating at home or anywhere, whenever you like.

Learn more about what it is like skating on synthetic ice.

 

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Skating on Synthetic Ice by SmartRink

Players face off on SmartRink Synthetic Ice

Players face off on SmartRink Synthetic Ice

Is there an adjustment period to skating on synthetic ice? 

With any training product there is always an adjustment while you learn how to use it and become comfortable with it so you can improve your skills.  Synthetic ice is no different! Skating on synthetic ice will force your body and muscles to practice proper skating techniques so that when you transition to real ice, you will be that much quicker and have increased agility.  You will see an improvement in your stride and you will develop quick feet that gives you an competitive edge amongst other skaters.

How long does it take to adjust to skating on synthetic ice?

Depending on your skating ability and how sharp your skates are, your adjustment period could be anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes for skating on synthetic ice.  Keeping your feet moving will give you the best experience, which is no different than on real ice. If you don’t move your feet, you won’t be able to glide.  Start out with something simple such as a T-push or long strides.

 What’s it like to skate on synthetic ice?

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve been skating for over 25 years and have played hockey for the majority of those years.  When it came to skating on synthetic ice at first, it was a bit different. But after about 5 minutes of skating around and getting the “feel” for skating on synthetic ice, there was nothing I couldn’t do on synthetic ice that I can do on real ice.  I can tell you with 100% confidence that if you or your child were using our synthetic ice product regularly, not only will they have no trouble skating on synthetic ice, but you WILL see an improvement in their skating ability on real ice and watch how their confidence increases along with it.

Is synthetic ice good for beginners or those learning how to skate?

Using synthetic ice for those just learning to skate is a phenomenal training tool. It helps them keep their balance more so than real ice because there is a bit more resistance.  This will help improve their confidence and encourage them to keep pushing forward whether they be hockey players or figure skaters.  Having the resistance also helps them stand up longer which gives them a better opportunity to take their hands off of the sides and skate all by themselves.  It might still hurt when they fall down, but at least it’s not as cold!

If you would like more information on skating on synthetic ice, check out our website or contact one of our representatives and they would be happy to help answer your questions.

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