Your Options With Synthetic Ice

Posted: January 19, 2015 in HDPE, UHMW
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Plastic synthetic ice is an increasingly popular “do-it-yourselfer” project for hockey fans. The ice allows year round training regardless of weather conditions. This blog is supported by Redwood Plastics, a plastics distributor, and increasingly we’ve had “synthetic ice” inquiries that actually refer to two different applications. “True” synthetic ice is a skating surface and the application can take a couple forms. Primarily training arenas will have the player suspended by a harness while skating on a single sheet. Because synthetic ice requires about 20-30% more effort to skate on, this improves strength and conditioning. The other format is having a full rink of sheets essentially as a replacement for ice.

There are two types of plastic used for this. One is HDPE polyethylene that has additives to make it optimal for skating, this would be “true” purpose-manufactured synthetic ice. Secondly, white-virgin UHMW polyethylene sheet is used. The UHMW is slicker and stronger than the HDPE but, as you might expect, it’s more expensive to the tune of about 25% more. The issue you need to solve as a “diy’er” taking on this project is how to make your rink. The sheets are just that – flat sheets.

There’s no set hardware for the application, though synthetic ice specialists may be able to offer some help. Otherwise you’re on your own and you essentially need to find a way to put the sheets together, tightly, but without hardware or holes sticking about the surface of the sheet. Usually this means the sheets are placed in a cavity that holds the sheets together and prevents them from moving. For example, a frame made of 2×4 wood bolted into the ground along the perimeter. Do not listen to what you might hear on the internet: adhesives or glues for the sheets will not work!

The second reason people approach us as a distributor for synthetic ice is for a simple platform to shoot pucks off of (or at). In this case, the customer requests UHMW polyethylene or ‘synthetic ice’ but they don’t really need that. It’s “overkill”. Truth is, a cheap plastic sheet – HDPE puckboard – will work just fine in this application, taking a beating and still slick enough to shoot pucks off of (but not skate on). When you’re working on a synthetic ice project you really need to know what you’re looking for!

For more information contact us.



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