Artificial Grass Machines - The Inside Story

 inside_1.jpg    A personal view of the development of tufting machinery for synthetic grass,  by Tom  Hesmondhalgh,  founder of THOM.  
I first became involved with tufting machines for the manufacture of synthetic grass in the late Sixties. At that time the gauge used was 3/16, and the end-use was mainly decorative.

Manufacturing was normally carried out on a standard-built tufting machine, as otherwise used for the production of carpet. The difficulty with polypropylene tape with problems relating to machine breakages ensured production was low.

How things have changed now, with the manufacture of synthetic grass with gauges ranging from 5/32 upwards to 3/4, and with usages ranging from football and rugby on the larger gauges to hockey, tennis, golf and decorative use on the finer gauges.
  Machine manufacturers have listened and learned mainly from grass manufacturers that a standard machine was insufficient and uneconomical.

Now, machinery manufacturers build machines of a rigid construction and high specification and also take advantage of modern servo drives and inverter machine speed controls, which have helped make synthetic grass production much more efficient.
  Repairing the grass at loom state also became a problem, especially on the high pile grass, so a special heavy-duty mending gun had to be developed to combat this difficulty.  
  inside_2.jpg   Handling of the synthetic grass at loom state on high pile production  also caused problems, mainly when re-rolling, as the rolls would start to telescope-out after the diameter became larger than 100cm. The answer was to lap the grass into trucks with 120m lapped lengths, which would then be transported in the trucks to the finishing plant  (see layout diagram here).

All in all, machine manufacturers and synthetic grass manufacturing companies have worked together effectively to achieve a purpose-designed machine developed solely for manufacture of synthetic grass, and which is contributing to the widespread growth in this branch of tufting.
 inside_3.jpg   We have found that there is no better way of learning about improving the production of grass than by talking to grass manufacturers and asking about the problems they experience with manufacturing. I am sure that between us we have improved the machines.     
Technical Specifications    
General Arrangement Drawing    
'The Inside Story' Article    
Grass Machine Video

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