When it comes to deciding which product is best for a hockey rink, one must consider whether it would be better to go with the acrylic or polycarbonate option or choose the tempered glass. Of course, each product has its pros and cons, and what will be best for one rink might not necessarily be the right option for another. The decision may come down to whether the finances exist to support one of the preferred options, how often the rink is used or the frequency of damage to the panels. Is the rink used more for skating and leisurely activities, or is it used more for training or practicing by hockey players? Before deciding which option you would choose, take a moment to review some of the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
Acrylic and Polycarbonate Panels
Both Acrylic and Polycarbonate are light weight and easy to handle, meaning fewer operators are required when changing out pieces. This is especially beneficial if a piece needs to be replaced during a tournament. Some of the other positives with choosing acrylic or polycarbonate:
The unfortunate drawback for the acrylic or polycarbonate is that it usually costs more than the traditional tempered glass but has a shorter life cycle due to its tendency to scratch easier and scuff when cleaning. The result of the scratches and scuffing mean the product becomes cloudy over time. This material also requires support at the sill level, so the sheets do not come out of the posting due to its flex.
Tempered Glass Panels
One may wonder why anyone would go for the acrylic/polycarbonate option when tempered glass would at first appear to be the more superior material. After all, tempered glass is
Tempered glass also has a more aesthetic appeal and remains clear for viewing and photography.
The issue with tempered glass is that is it heavy and more cumbersome to replace. Special orders for custom glass often require more time to produce and ship. If a glass piece breaks or shatters in the rink, there is more cleanup that can take more time due to all the shards and the weight of the glass. As a result, a broken piece of tempered glass can mean a longer delay in returning to the game if it should happen in the middle of a play. Lastly, there is a higher risk of injury if a player should collide and break the glass, and there is more opportunity for an operator or staff to suffer an injury when handling the broken glass or working to replace a complete and heavy panel.
Both the acrylic/polycarbonate and tempered glass panels have their benefits, despite some of the cons of each. If you were building a rink, which would you choose and why?
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