Fast-Cure Urethane Solution Helps Make Skate Parks Forever Lasting

October 5, 2000
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Scituate Concrete Pipe was asked to provide a skate park for its native town of Scituate, Mass.

No good deed goes unrewarded. Just ask Scituate Concrete Pipe. The company, a leading manufacturer of concrete pipes, manholes and other precast products for over 40 years, was asked to provide an unlikely concrete solution for its native town of Scituate, Mass. – a skate park.

When the town passed a law banning public skateboarding, an enterprising Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) officer approached the company with a proposal to construct an in-line and skateboarding park for the local children. Complaints from residents and business owners had led to the new ordinance, and he sought an alternative that would please both Scituate townspeople and their children.

An Unusual Proposition

According to Bill Hoffman, president of Scituate Concrete Pipe, “Certainly it was an unusual proposition, but we specialize in custom concrete products. Furthermore, we knew the project would benefit our hometown; that incentive alone encouraged us to find a viable solution.”

Hoffman and company improvised, and, using wooden molds, cast concrete forms of varying geometric shapes and sizes. After the product was cured overnight in a temperature-controlled environment at the Scituate plant, it was delivered to the park site with 25-ton boom trucks. Employing a “building block” approach, the concrete was configured into various skating structures, such as 1/4 pipes, 1/2 pipes, ramps, grinding rails and fun boxes.

The result was a solid, durable skating arena that was both cost-effective and long-lasting. “The response from the town was overwhelming,” said Hoffman. “The park appealed to children and adults, and soon, surrounding towns were contacting us with additional orders. I never expected that our philanthropy would grow into a full-time business.”

New Obstacles

Indeed, that inaugural skate park, which was donated to the town by the Hoffmans, became the first of many built by Scituate Concrete Pipe in the New England area. In fact, the subsequent demand for municipal skate parks has evolved into the creation of a subsidiary company, Skate Parks, Inc. (SPi).

However, with the success of the Scituate skate park came new obstacles to overcome. With the newly established SPi, Hoffman sought new methods to streamline the manufacturing process and reduce set-up time and overall costs. “We realize most

municipalities don’t have the funds to allocate to build an expensive park. We have worked hard to keep the costs down to about $10,000 to $30,000, depending on size,” said Hoffman.

He modified the molding process by replacing the wood casts with steel, which last longer. In addition, Hoffman looked to reduce the on-site installation time. The most labor-intensive task was sealing the joints in-between the concrete forms so that the seams are uniform.

Fast-Cure Urethane is the Solution

To solve the problem, SPi turned to a reliable source, Devcon Corp., a world leader in maintenance, repair and adhesive-bonding technology. “Scituate Concrete Pipe has been using Devcon’s products for over 25 years; we had relied on their expertise for numerous custom applications. Therefore, it was not inconceivable to us that Devcon could find a more effective method to seal the joints,” said Hoffman.

Subsequently, when SPi installed a skate park in Devcon’s native town of Danvers, Mass., Devcon representatives visited the site personally to assess the problem. Devcon recommended Flexane™ FC Rubber Repair Liquid, a fast-curing urethane liquid used for filling expansion joints in metal or concrete.

Traditionally, the joints were sealed by mortaring the concrete, which was a cumbersome, slow process. The concrete had to be hand-mixed, applied with a trowel and leveled to eliminate any grooves or rough edges that could cause injury to skaters.

Conversely, Flexane FC, which is available in convenient, 400-ml cartridges, can be easily applied with a pneumatic gun for a fast, economical application.

According to Hoffman, “The difference is remarkable. Applying Devcon’s Flexane FC is a one-step process that saves us valuable time and money, which we ultimately are able to pass on to the customer.”

Moreover, Flexane FC hardens to touch in approximately 30 minutes – an important feature when you consider the crowd of onlookers often waiting anxiously to test the park. Because of the urethane’s fast-drying properties, Hoffman is able to complete the skate park and leave at the end of the day, confident that Devcon’s urethane is strong enough to support the skaters.

Typical commercial-grade urethanes have slower curing times. As a result, the concrete forms can be easily damaged if people use the park before the needed cure time has taken place. With Flexane FC, damage to the joints experienced after skating was virtually eliminated. This cut out costly rework time and reduced the threat of skater injury caused by catching a damaged, rough edge. Devcon’s Flexane FC provides a uniform, durable seal that ensures years of skating fun.

“Our skate parks are unequivocally the most durable, weather-resistant available today; that’s why we call them ‘Forever Lasting Skate Parks’,” says Hoffman. “And the Flexane FC is integral to that claim.”

For more information about Flexane FC, contact Devcon Corp., 30 Endicott St., Danvers, MA 01923-3786; phone 978-777-1100; fax 978-774-0516.

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