Monday, November 8, 2010

How is our WOOD SURFACING produced?

Our wood surfacing is IPEMA certified. IPEMA is the International Playground Equipment Manufacturing Association. This is voluntary compliance, but requires strict adherence to standards. The reference standards for surfacing are developed and published by the American Society of Testing and Materials, as document F2075-04, Standard Specification for Engineered Wood Fiber for Use as a Playground Safety Surface Under and Around Playground Equipment. Compliance to this standard also requires compliance to F1292: Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surfacing Materials Within the Use Zone of Play Equipment. Testing of materials is rigid and conducted by Detroit Testing Laboratories. Inspection and follow up to equipment and process is maintained by IPEMA inspections of facility and product.

Here are key criteria that are utilized in manufacture:

1. Materials must meet particle size requirements and tests, both wet and dry. This is achieved by a cutter to reduce sizes and a sieve to filter particles too small. Sieve, shaker, oven and balance test gauges and process are specified by ASTM C136, and meet F963 specifications. Our process is thereby TWO steps, ground and then filtered again.  Most surfacing manufacturers only utilize a one step process, "cut."

2. Material must meet metal particle limits and concentrations, including hazardous metals and soluables such as mercury. This requirement is easily managed, as we do not utilize any recycled materials. We do not use pallets or post consumer materials. ONLY virgin hardwood materials are utilized. Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium , Lead and Selenium are commonly found in wood products, tests are conducted to ensure processing is below threshold.

3. A minimum on 8- one gallon samples are taken at random from a 50 cubic yard test lot to ensure adequate volume of material to tests.

4. Tramp and magnetic tests are conducted to ensure protection from embedded material.

5. Our facility is deliberate in the selection of materials that are processed. In addition to not accepting reclamation material, the product accepted is ONLY harvested hardwood. Our sources are known and documented. Pine, a highly acidic wood is NOT utilized, EVER. Sub grades of lumber are not acceptable to our milling process.

6. Materials are NOT stored for long periods of time. Materials have generally been cut within a 48 hours prior to delivery. This ensures fresh material free from contamination and premature deterioration.

7. Materials are transported in equipment specifically designated for this material. Vehicles are NOT shared with other products, to eliminate contamination. As this is not landscape grade material, vehicles are not utilized to carry manure, sand, dirt, gravel or recycled materials.

There are about 6 pages of tiny 6 point font, double column specifications that are tested against by our testing laboratory. This is an expensive process, but a welcome and defining difference in an engineered and certified wood product.

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