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Product Innovation

Tom Walker takes a look at the latest technology and innovation currently making waves across the world of sport

by Tom Walker, Leisure Media | Published in Sports Management Mar Apr 2017 issue 130
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Bertrand Chaumet Gerflor is bringing maple back

Bertrand Chaumet, Gerflor MD
Bertrand Chaumet, Gerflor MD

Flooring specialist Gerflor’s acquisition of US-based Connor Sport Court International in November 2014 has played a “crucial” role in expanding the firm’s global market reach and sports product range, says Gerflor’s managing director Bertrand Chaumet.

Founded in 1872, Connor Sports is the US market leader in hardwood sports flooring and currently has two manufacturing sites in the US. The company has built flooring systems for a number of elite sporting leagues – including the NBA, in which more than 14 of the 30 teams play their matches on Connor hardwood courts.

Last summer, the 2016 Rio Olympic Committee selected Connor’s QuickLock floors as the surface that would be used throughout the Games’ eight basketball and wheelchair basketball courts.

“Being involved with the Summer Olympic Games in Rio was a testament to the quality of our overall sports flooring offer and the ongoing development we undertake as company to produce the very best products that we can,” Chaumet says.

“Four new Connor sports flooring systems are being introduced into the UK market this year – Neoshok, Rezill Sleeper, QuickLock portable system and Alliance.”

Sport-kit keyword: Gerflor

Gerflor flooring provides a high quality surface for sports at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks
Gerflor flooring provides a high quality surface for sports at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks

Dave Withey Temporary structures becoming a trend

Dave Withey, marketing director of Arena Group
Dave Withey, marketing director of Arena Group

“There’s definitely a trend emerging as an increasing number of facility operators and event organisers are opting for temporary infrastructure when creating – or improving – fan experiences,” says Dave Withey, marketing director at Arena Group.

Arena recently completed an ambitious project at London’s O2 Arena, where the company’s new I-Novation temporary building helped transform O2 into a tennis venue capable of hosting the Barclaycard ATP World Tour Finals – where Andy Murray cemented his World no 1 ranking (see Sports Management 2016 Issue 128).

Arena also recently worked on Bath Rugby’s new grandstand at the historic Rectory ground. The company’s contribution went beyond merely installing 14,000 seats.

“The work we did at Bath involved refurbishing an environmentally sensitive site and creating a facility fit for elite level rugby,” Withey says.

“The Rectory ground’s renowned West Stand now combines a permanent substructure with a semi-permanent seating grandstand incorporating custom media. We were able to offer a unique stand at a fraction of what a club could expect to pay for a new stadium.”

To help cater for the increased demand for temporary structures, Arena Group recently acquired RIM Scaffolding – a specialist event scaffolding provider – to expand the group’s services.

Sport-kit keyword: Arena Group

Arena Group transformed London’s O2 Arena into a tennis venue using temporary structures
Arena Group transformed London’s O2 Arena into a tennis venue using temporary structures

Martin Symcox Launch of new extraction board completes a “three-year journey” for the Royal Life Saving Society

Martin Symcox of RLSS says the new PXB will transform rescues
Martin Symcox of RLSS says the new PXB will transform rescues

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) has launched its new Pool Extraction Board (PXB), which is set to transform the way swimming pool rescues are carried out.

“We spent almost three years reviewing models from around the world, working with medical experts and safety equipment specialist Ferno to design what we believe is the best extraction board on the market,” says Martin Symcox, director of RLSS’s trading subsidiary IQL UK.

According to Symcox, the new design creates faster rescue times, offers improved safety and has the potential to reduce the demands placed on staff.

“The PXB requires just two trained users to carry out a pool rescue for deck level pools, as opposed to the traditional four,” he says. “This means fewer lifeguards are drawn into a rescue, enabling them to manage the emergency, other pool users and perform other key roles in a rescue situation.  

“It can also be used in place of an assisted lift and accommodate heavier or pregnant swimmers, reducing the manual handling risk of injury to a lifeguard or staff.”

The new board has so far been well received by the leisure sector.

“Within its first six months, more than 450 boards have been sold and delivered to leisure centres across the UK and around the world, including Europe, China, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.

“The demand has been high from leisure centres across the country with over 1,600 RLSS UK Pool Lifeguard Trainer Assessors qualified to deliver training on the PXB.”

Sport-kit keyword: RLSS

The PBX requires just two lifeguards to carry out a rescue
The PBX requires just two lifeguards to carry out a rescue

Eric O’Donnell hails new laboratory as a “great moment”

Eric O’Donnell of Sports Labs
Eric O’Donnell of Sports Labs

Sports Labs, Scotland’s only FIFA-accredited football turf test institute, has opened a new test laboratory in Livingston. The 20,000sq ft facility houses a sample preparation room, heat and humidity controlled specialist testing rooms, a physical properties lab, five Lisport XL wear simulation machines, a research and development laboratory and store and quarantine areas.

“The new laboratory provides a modern set up in which to efficiently deal with customers’ samples,” says O’Donnell. “It offers the capacity to deal with larger volumes. The handling and processing of the samples has been streamlined to reduce the time it takes to test and report the results.”

Founded by O’Donnell in 1998, Sports Labs offers sports surfaces testing and certification, as well as goal-line technology testing, to clients all around the world.

O’Donnell adds that the new facility will enable the company to develop and begin offering new services – as well as speed up existing testing practices.

“The new laboratory will allow us to expand our services and offer a much more efficient service to clients,” he says.

“We will be able to increase capacity, conduct R&D work and bring innovation to the sector – we’re looking forward to setting a benchmark for other labs to aspire to.”

Sports Labs’ new laboratory houses specialised and efficient testing equipment
Sports Labs’ new laboratory houses specialised and efficient testing equipment
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