Søve Lekemiljø, in the Telemark region of Norway, has been producing playground equipment for nearly 30 years.
For a long time, wood was the dominant material. But the problem of wear created the need for impregnation, with both health risks and a negative impact on the environment as a result.
So the company developed a completely new product range based on aluminium extrusions and high-pressure laminate. Today, only aluminium and laminate are used and the days of wood are at an end.
Overall view of the environment
The market for Søve’s products includes public places, schools, parks, shopping centers, residential areas and campgrounds.
For customers, it is not only a question of the bottom line – taking a comprehensive view of the environmental impact is increasingly important.
“With this new range, we have created environmentally adapted and hard-wearing products that are virtually maintenance free,” says Søve Lekemiljø’s managing director, Tarita Ueland. “This provides positive effects for the users, and for us the change has also meant technical, production and financial advantages.”
Major development project
Making such a change in a whole range was a major project. For the aluminium, Hydro was invited to be a technical and development partner at an early stage. Based on demands for design, durability, functionality and simple assembly, some 20 extrusions were developed, which today form the basis of Søve’s range. The extrusions are used for things like the uprights, crosspieces, beams and fastening components.
Clear environmental vision
Products to be used by children are automatically subject to scrutiny regarding safety and the environment. Søve is the only company that has had its range tested, approved and certified by German TUV. In August 2007, the company was also awarded the Swan Ecolabel for its playground equipment, an important symbol that confirms Søve’s clear environmental vision.
Second generation under development
The second generation of playground equipment based on aluminium is already being developed, and is expected to be launched in 2009. Designs with softer curves, rounded beams and more flexible ways of assembly, together with a more open and airy construction, softer colors and an overall more modern design, are keys to the success of the development work.
Backed up by the TUV certification and Swan Ecolabeling, success looks as though it is going to be child’s play!
Some 20 extrusions are used in the Søve product range. They are used as uprights, tie bars, beams and crosspieces, among others.
The extrusions are designed to be strong and stable, and the easy assembly of system components. The extrusions are powdered lacquered with a chrome-free pre-treatment. The uprights in the picture have tracks for the easy fitting of fasteners. The grooves are part of the design but also prevent small tongues from becoming frozen onto the equipment at low temperatures by reducing the surface area.