Did You Attend the NRPA Congress in Houston, TX This Year?

swingsetLast month was the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Congress and Exposition, an annual event for the park and recreation industry. Thousands of attendees took part in the event with the goal of networking, learning about new trends, and showcasing their industrial solutions.

More than 400 exhibitors were present at the Congress, including Urethane Systems Plus. We exhibited at booth #953.

The event included numerous educational sessions, ranging from accreditation facts, to playgrounds and facilities that accommodate special needs, and general workforce management. A full list of the event sessions is available online. There wass truly something for everyone in the recreation and park industry at this annual event.

The expo also included many helpful workshops for professional development. Topics included finance, customer service, fundraising, conservation, and more. There were even Off-Site Institutes (OSI) for a more hands-on experience.

For those unable to make it to the conference in person, NRPA created the NRPA’s Virtual Congress Live! Online participants had access to educational sessions, presentations, and the ability to earn continuing education credits. More information is available here.

And in case you missed the conference this year, you’ll have ample time to make it up in upcoming events. Next year’s Congress is taking place in Charlotte, NC, from October 14th to 16th.

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Protecting Athletes with Soft Touch Bases

Base ManufacturingAs baseball season draws to a close, business at Urethane Systems prepares to get a big boost in sales of our specialty, Soft Touch Bases. Recently featured in BizTimes.com, Urethane’s Soft Touch Bases make safety a priority for baseball and softball players.

During a game, a player might enter an uncontrolled slide towards a base with enough force to cause serious injury to the foot, ankle or leg. Soft Touch Bases minimize that risk through a system called “progressive release.” This system allows the base to disengage from its mount to reduce sliding injuries for players. The base slides along with the player instead, reducing impact.

There are five different series’ of Soft Touch Bases, which each boast modified features for specific applications. The most recent series, called the T series, features spikes that insert into synthetic turf. It does not require a mounting system. The company also offers Soft Touch Bases that are compatible with older stake or sleeve mounting systems, as well as spike down mounting systems, and even smooth indoor fields.

The Soft Touch Bases are a great option for local Little League teams which, in response to a new rule, are now required to “utilize bases that disengage their anchor.” Soft Touch Bases is one of only four companies that are licensed and recommended by Little League International for disengage-able bases.

Soft Touch Bases have a 20 year history of proven performance as a safe sports accessory. They’re especially in high demand between November and May, when the company experiences a rush of orders in preparation for the start of the spring season.

To read more about Urethane Systems’ Soft Touch Bases, check out the BizTimes article here!






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Made in the USA

FlagYou may have heard that American manufacturing is making a comeback. Jobs that were once moved overseas are returning in force. American companies like Ford and Apple are pledging to create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs in the USA instead of in other countries. Many industries predict that this new “reshoring” trend will continue, and while there are many reasons for this, there’s also a simple fact; working with a domestic manufacturer offers many advantages.

A manufacturer like Urethane Systems Plus is uniquely suited to handle the needs of customers in many different industries. The primary benefits of working with an American manufacturer are numerous. First of all, you can expect a quicker turnaround time. When we manufacture small and mid-level orders of polyurethane components you can be sure that orders will be fulfilled quickly, and you won’t have to wait for items to ship from overseas. Nor do you have to pay for the cost of international shipping. Our clients know that the money they spend is for a quality product, and not for shipping costs from transporting components halfway around the world. Another benefit is that, on the rare occasion a mistake is made, it’s likely that an American manufacturer can be more quickly notified and can work faster to rectify the error. And, perhaps most importantly of all, when you’re dealing with a domestic contract manufacturer, you know that you’re going to get a high-quality American-made product.

The reshoring movement is here to stay, and for good reason. Nothing beats working with a domestic contract manufacturer. Remember that not only when you’re ordering quality polyurethane parts from us, but also when you need to fulfill needs for other products. Stick with an American manufacturer, and we’re positive that you won’t be disappointed. And stay tuned to this blog for more info about US manufacturing and custom polyurethane products.

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Safety in Sports: An Overview of Soft Touch Bases

June is National Safety Month. As such, this is a great opportunity to review safety procedures for one of the United States’ most popular pastimes: baseball.

For youth and adult players alike, safety is always a priority. Everyone knows the importance of wearing a protective helmet at bat, and wearing a mitt when catching the ball. But did you know that even the bases should have safety features in place?

baseball slide

Think about it, if a player is sliding home with an outstretched leg, coming into contact with a stationary object (a bolted-in base) could cause serious injury. The ankle may twist and sprain if it makes contact at the wrong angle.

On the contrary, a base that releases under these conditions can prevent this type of injury. The base will only “release” when enough pressure is applied, however, such as the case with our enthusiastic player sliding into home. For regular base-running, it will stay put.

The basic design involves a flexible polyurethane base that snaps onto a main anchor unit or mat. The flexible material itself provides some give, but when the force of the slide is a bit too strong, the base pops off its mounting.

Numerous studies have been conducted that show a substantial reduction in injuries when releasing-type bases are used instead of the traditional kind.

In addition to these benefits, Soft Touch Bases are made in the USA, and are the only brand of releasing bases that carries this distinction. For more information, please visit our About Us page.

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Manufacturing I-Skin Foam

While continuing the discussion of the versatility of polyurethane, we’d be remiss if we didn’t explain how the production of polyurethane products can allow for further customization and enhanced features. Even if you’re already familiar with polyurethane’s advantages (you can check out our last blog), you might be interested to learn more about how polyurethane products are manufactured. One method actually creates a type of protective coating, or outer skin, on the polyurethane product during the molding process.

In some cases, products can be created through hand mixing the material and then machining the final product. However, another method, known as Reaction Injection Molding (RIM), creates a range of polyurethanes via a chemical reaction inside the mold of the final product.

One such type of polyurethane that can be achieved through this process is the type with the protective coating: integral skinning foam, or I-Skin. When I-Skin is catalyzed through RIM, an additional, external layer is added during the molding process. This layer is a protective, flexible, and tear-resistant addition to the final product. I-Skin offers the additional benefits of color matching and it’s able to be imprinted with patterns by the tooling used.  We often see applications with heavy traffic and use as ideal candidates for this foam. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions on which polyurethane might be right for your product!

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Is Polyurethane Really Better than Plastic or Rubber?

At Urethane Systems Plus Inc, we devote our working lives to the manufacture of quality polyurethane products.  So you may wonder: what’s so great about polyurethane? The answer is in the versatility and many advantages over competing materials. If you’re curious as to why design engineers and production managers ought to make a point of considering polyurethane as the base for their parts and products, read on to learn more.

What is Polyurethane? Polyurethanes (also called “urethanes”) are any of a family of elastomers, an artificial rubber. They are unique in combining the strength of rigid plastics with the flexibility and elasticity of rubber. Hoses, automotive bushings, seat foam, skateboard wheels, and Spandex are all common polyurethane applications.

Advantages of Polyurethane: Substituting polyurethane components for rubber or plastic may offer the following advantages, just to name a few.

  • Durability.  Polyurethane has exceptional abrasion and tear-resistance, typically better than rubber. It also has increasing load-bearing capacity, impact-resistance, and excellent wear properties.
  • Density Range.  Polyurethane can be fabricated to be as soft as seat foam or hard as a table top!
  • Flexibility.  Polyurethane’s outstanding elastic memory makes it a popular choice for furniture components.
  • Pliability.  The combination of durability and pliability makes polyurethane the material of choice for medical supplies like feeding tubes or anatomical models.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss how the manufacture of polyurethane is an advantage in and of itself.

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Is Polyurethane the Answer to Your Product Design?

Whether you’re manufacturing a soft cushion (maybe one that needs to be extra comfortable for a desk chair) or you’re looking to design a new, durable handle with shock protection for the seat of a theme park ride, polyurethane might just be the best material for your seating or other products. It’s a fact that in many areas, polyurethane outperforms plastics and rubbers. Its superior resilience to oil, grease, weather, wear and tear from age, abrasives — just to name a few — make it a perfect solution for many rigid and flexible products.

Intro BlogSince its development in the 1930s, polyurethane applications have expanded, positioning it as a material with immense versatility. Some common (and distinctly different) uses of polyurethane are spray foam for insulation and novelty items such as those seen on the heads of enthusiastic Wisconsin sports fans! At Urethane Systems Plus, Inc we’ve taken the high-quality foundation of an existing product line of over 20 years, Soft Touch Bases, and added capabilities to become a full-service manufacturer and distributor of polyurethane products. We have consulted with chemists and industry professionals on developing new materials to bring custom solutions to our clients.

Our products, all Made in the USA, serve niche markets. We know our foam types and have fun creating affordable and safe solutions.  We’ve enhanced our double first base to optimize player safety, and developed new products for use on artificial turf –base, home plate and pitching rubber.  Stay tuned here to learn more on our newly patented product line! In the meantime, keep in mind that for novelty products to healthcare resources, and ranging in small to mid-level quantities, you can contact us for a free material analysis to see if polyurethane might be the answer to your product design!  


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