01-24-2011 05:39 PM CET - Industry, Real Estate & Construction

AIJU researches on the best properties of playground surfacing

Press release from: AIJU
Figure 1. High-impact capacity tester (HIC)
Figure 1. High-impact capacity tester (HIC)
The high-impact capacity can be improved by optimising the design factors on rubber surfacing installed in our playgrounds.

Rubber surfacing is an environmentally sustainable product, as a high percentage of recycled rubber from tyres no longer used is used in the manufacture of this material. This kind of material is perfect for playground surfacing, due to its impact mitigation properties in case of falling from playground equipment, such as swings, seesaws, slides, etc., as it is an accessible surface easy to maintain. This surfacing and these applications are relatively new, that is why it is necessary to improve control over them. In fact, an adequate control of their properties increases quality, safety and durability, thus improving the competitiveness of the product in the market.

For all these reasons, AIJU is developing an R&D project awarded and funded by the Institute for Small and Medium Industry of the Generalitat Valenciana (IMPIVA) and co-funded by FEDER funds, “Children’s Playgrounds: correlation between physicochemical parameters and the high-impact capacity of surfacing. Requirement guide for the business sector – SAFESURFACE”, aiming to research on and be aware of the current offers of rubber surfacing located and installed mostly in the playgrounds of our towns, as well as analyse the potential impacts or factors (positive or negative) associated with the use and location of these products.

The analysis of this data will help us, on the one hand, assess how appropriate is the market for this kind of products and, on the other hand, establish a series of recommendations for synthetic surfacing manufacturers, thus offering them solutions to develop coatings with a higher high-impact capacity, higher durability and a lower manufacturing cost, thereby offering a greater guarantee of safety.

In this project, with an expected duration of two years (2010-2011), we will identify and select those factors in design that can affect the high-impact capacity. This property is the only feature regulated through technical standards due to its significant impact on the number of serious accidents at playgrounds: it is estimated that 70% of accidents happen due to the poor condition of the surfaces.

The Research Association of Toy Industry and Allied Workers (AIJU) was established in June 1985. Located in Ibi, in Alicante, AIJU is a non-profit association focused on researching, developing and improving the quality and safety of children’s products. Accredited for toys since 1989, the laboratory is currently increasing accreditations; it is the first laboratory accredited by ENAC for testing toys, childcare products, playgrounds, play equipment and playground surfacing and materials in contact with food. Besides, AIJU is an Inspection Institution accredited by ENAC for playgrounds.

One of the main objectives of AIJU is to help the children’s products industry to improve its competitiveness, advising on educational and developmental aspects of children and new needs and social situations related to them, their welfare and the products intended for use by them.

AIJU is the only European center specialised in all aspects of children’s products, from research of raw materials, product design or safety assessment to pedagogy and child development studies in relation to children’s products.

AVda. de la Industria, 23
03440 Ibi
Tel.: 965554475 (Ext. 220)
Encarna Alemañ
e-mail: fisicosparques@aiju.info

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