There are many things to consider when purchasing a synthetic ice rink including whether to purchase an "infused" or "non-infused" surface. The most important thing to consider while trying to decide on a surface is WHO will be using the rink and for what purpose? Residential or commercial? Training or pleasure? Need and affordability just to name a few. Both surfaces can be utilized for many different types of projects depending on the application.
Infused or "self-lubricating" synthetic ice panels are manufactured with a slip agent additive and have less surface friction or "Coefficient of Friction" and does not require a surface glide enhancer lubricant. Self-lubricating does not mean self-cleaning as infused surfaces do tend to attract more dust and dirt and require a little more work in keeping them clean over the lifetime of the rink.
Not all infused synthetic ice sheets are the same, however, depending on the Manufacturer. Some companies act more as an OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturer) distributor and resell their ice under their own assumed brand name. Other companies actually create and their own formulation that works for their branding products
Non-infused surfaces do require a glide enhancer spray to reduce the surface friction. This is a great option for heavy foot traffic areas or hockey shooting galleries. Though spraying the surface has been looked upon as a "negative" with regards to rink maintenance it does help keep the rink free of dirt and dust and cleaner over the long term.
Regardless of kind of rink surface is chosen, both types of surfaces need to be kept clean to maintain optimal performance. Infused surfaces need to be kept clean and re-conditioned to avoid the look of "frozen mud" over time. If not, panel seams will become more pronounced with darkened "grout lines" that will appear making your ice rink panel seams more prominent.
By Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice
For additional information call: 855-765-9423