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How the FPI is Simplifying the Way We Purchase Artificial Turf

Over the past two decades, thousands of collegiate institutions, high schools and municipalities have opted to convert their natural surfaces to FieldTurf’s artificial turf systems, with many stadiums now installing second - or third-generation surfaces. Now new to the artificial turf industry, projects are requesting a new criteria: a minimum Fiber Performance Index (FPI) score — an independent ranking that is increasingly becoming one of the most desirable turf specifications available.

Responding to the needs of architects, facility owners and venue operators, Labosport — an international sport-surface certification company — introduced the Fiber Performance Index in 2015. The higher the FPI score, the higher performance the fiber.

FPI has become a standard requirement in numerous turf projects, with many venues requiring FPI in their specifications, specifically the University of Utah, the University of Regina and the University of Southern Mississippi.

“When we launched the FPI in 2015, we knew it would take some time to properly educate the industry on the program.” Said Xavier Nicolau, Group Head of Sales & Marketing, Labosport International. “Now in 2017, we’re proud to have numerous major turf manufacturers aboard and over 40 assessed fibers. It’s exciting to see the program gain such popularity among not only manufacturers but also field owners. The FPI will soon be extended to the landscape market which will bring added improvements to the program.”

How does the FPI work?

Considered the first true measurement of fiber quality, FPI establishes a rating for turf fiber and helps facility operators, as well as coaches, players, parents and fans, better understand and weigh the qualities of an individual product’s turf fibers.

FPI focuses on three key factors, durability, resilience and softness. These key aspects are measured by four specific tests:

  1. Tear: Measures a fiber’s cross tenacity for durability
  2. Recovery: Measures fiber resilience after an exhaustive 6,000-cycle compression test
  3. UV: Measures a fiber’s resistance to UV exposure 
  4. Feel: Measures a fiber’s softness using an innovative method from the consumer goods industry

Turf fibers are measured after undergoing this battery of tests and is then assigned a grade based on a scale of 1 to 100 in each category. The result is a final Fiber Performance Index number, which describes the overall fiber quality. The higher the number, the better.

The best way to ensure that your field contains a high-performance fiber is to specify an FPI score.

Remember: The choice of fiber is only one of many important decisions that must be made when installing an artificial turf field. As significant as FPI is, other components of the turf system — such as infill, backing, drainage and construction — are equally important.