New machine transforming the disposal and treatment of artificial turf

A highly efficient machine is transforming the hitherto expensive, time-consuming and labor-intensive exercise of artificial turf deconstruction, disposal and treatment. Even when synthetic sports surfaces are regularly maintained and good care is taken, experts predict a life of no more than 15 years depending on the degree of use. And whenever an artificial turf field is eventually replaced, the old surface must of course be disposed of.

It used to be the case that the turf, with all its infill materials, was simply rolled up or taken directly to waste disposal sites. However, such methods are now – at least in Europe – regulated by statutory requirements, meaning that synthetic sports surfaces are no longer simply thrown away but are incorporated into a cycle of reclamation. One common method is to separate the roll from the infill material at a recycling facility, but recently there have been far better ideas implemented that also save on cost and time.

SMG – known worldwide as a manufacturer and supplier of complete machine programs for the installation and maintenance of synthetic turf and track surfaces – now also produces solutions for the complete deconstruction of such products. One method devised by SMG is to directly separate the infill material from the lawn in one step during the reeling process. This method removes as much as 98% of the filling from the lawn, while also separating the sand from the rubber. The lawn is then rolled up tightly and stapled on to the back of the machine so that the grass, sand and rubber are easily separated, transported and recycled as valuable raw materials for recovery.

This deconstruction, using SMG machinery, not only saves time but also money, as individual pieces of old artificial turf with infill often weigh as much as 35kg/m2 (830lb/ft2), resulting in substantial transportation costs.

A particular highlight is SMG’s new self-propelled TurfMuncher TM2000D artificial turf remover. This highly efficient machine has transformed the disposal and treatment of artificial turf, which was previously a problematic and labor-intensive exercise. The TurfMuncher has been specially designed to wind artificial turf into compact 2m rolls and separate out the infill materials. It is driven by a water-cooled 44hp Kubota diesel engine with a maximum operating speed of 7m/min and a material discharge of up to 500kg/min (1,100lb/min). This enables the removal of a standard artificial turf pitch in just 14 hours. The elastic substructures are protected during operation, meaning they can be used for longer.

For the dismantling of elastic base layers and the reclamation of all artificial turf, including separation of different infill materials, SMG provides a number of other devices, techniques and special machines such as the TurfSaw TS 350 or the TurfWinch TW2500.