SofSURFACES Inc. designs, manufactures, distributes, and installs fitness center flooring, roof tops, and playground safety surfacing. Based in Petrolia, Ontario, Canada, they produce an impact attenuating, interlocking surfacing tile system manufactured from recycled rubber.
SofSURFACES was founded in 1989 by two brothers, John and Ben Prins.1 At that time they provided poured-in-place (PIP) playground surfacing for their region of Canada. Four years later in 1993, they expanded their business to include manufacturing playground equipment. Ben led the new company, Active Playground Equipment, while John continued to develop SofSURFACES.
Finding it difficult to insure the quality of PIP surfaces, SofSURFACES introduced their interlocking tile system in 1992.2 After continued research and development, their original product, the Shiplap, evolved into the KrosLOCK system. Their research addressed and resolved the four key characteristics they believe necessary in playground surfacing: SofSURFACES Inc. designs, manufactures, distributes, and installs fitness center flooring, roof tops, and playground safety surfacing. Based in Petrolia, Ontario, Canada, they produce an impact attenuating, interlocking surfacing tile system manufactured from recycled rubber. Their tile system offers durability, fall protection, long term value, and a secure system to eliminate vandalism.3
Further research led to their “hollow-core impact pedestal” tile design, which was launched in 2001. Based on the shock absorber concept, their tiles have a Head Injury Criteria (HIC) rating of 570, which is nearly half the ASTM International (ASTM) F1292 maximum standard. This 570 HIC benchmark complies with the maximum air bag impact on children in car crash situations as recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.4 They believe that “Children deserve the same protection from head injury when on a playground as they do when traveling in a motor vehicle.”5 In 2011, SofSURFACES began to provide free impact testing of all their installed surfaces to insure compliance.
These two designs features, the interlocking tile and the hollow pedestal construction, are the basis for SofSURFACES' DuraSAFE series of interlocking playground surfacing tiles. These products have been certified by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) third party certification process.
In 2011, SofSURFACES became a fully automated manufacturing operation, which utilizes human machine interface (HMI) technology. This approach to manufacturing was adopted to quantify a consistent product as well as to reduce energy consumption.6 Another use of new technology is the inclusion of “In-Play” colored granules for their Premium product lines. These granules are free of phthalates, lead, zinc, sulfur, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals; resist abrasions; retain their color; and remain supple with age.7
SofSURFACES' manufacturing and raw material policies, including utilizing recycled rubber, qualifies them for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points in the MR 4.1 and MR 4.2 categories.8
Besides being associated with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), they also have alliances with Let Kids Play!, an accessibility and play inclusion consulting firm, and Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a physician-led organization dedicated to preventing children's injuries.9
- 1. Prins, Ben. Personal correspondence to Playground Professionals. 9 Dec. 2009.
- 2. “SofSURFACES Company History.” SofSURFACES. < http://www.sofsurfaces.com/about_company_history.php > 26 Jan. 2012.
- 3. “Did You Know...” SofSURFACES. < http://www.sofsurfaces.com/ > 29 June 2011.
- 4. “SofSURFACES Inc., established leader in playground safety surfacing.” SofSURFACES. < http://www.sofsurfaces.com/news_1.php > 26 Jan. 2012.
- 5. Op.cti., “SofSURFACES Company History.”
- 6. “Sustainability.” SofSURFACES. < http://www.sofsurfaces.com/products_softile_sustainability.php > 29 April 2012.
- 7. “Introducing 'In-Play' Colored Granules.” SofSURFACES. < http://www.sofsurfaces.com/products_softile_premium_series.php > 29 April 2012.
- 8. Op.cit., “Sustainability.”
- 9. “Certifications & Affiliations.” SofSURFACES. < http://www.sofsurfaces.com/about_certificates.php > 26 Jan. 2012.