Birch Vale, England -- Soccer Circus, a football-themed attraction in Brahead, Scotland, has selected a polyurethane foam specially formulated by Dow Hyperlast to form the player figures for its interactive football games.
Soccer Circus centres on a series of football skill games, which aim to enable everyone to play, using real footballs, in interactive, fully automated games.
The attraction has been developed by former football manager and international footballer Kevin Keegan, Scottish entrepreneur Peter Barr and engineer Clive Mockford. The team invested more than six years and £5 million ($8 million) in research and development for the new visitor attraction.
"The project has been very thoroughly researched and we believe we have a soccer-based attraction that is second only to the thrill of taking part in a professional match," explained Keegan. "The unique nature of the attraction is the result of the combination of real football activity with advanced technology, enabling visitors to develop their football skills, compete with each other if they wish, and to have fun in a safe and controlled environment -- whatever the weather."
Soccer Circus has a broad appeal to families and to football followers, combining individual football challenges with a team game in an immersive‚ stadium atmosphere, where players can view their scores on league tables of all visitors and teams.
Dow Hyperlast formulated an energy-absorbing foam for Soccer Circus's player targets. The foam has to absorb the energy of a football travelling at speed, so that it does not bounce back from the target. Dow's experts customised a material specifically for this use, to offer the required maximum absorption of energy in a tough, long-lasting material. A soft thin polyurethane skin on the surface gives a tough exterior which is paintable, so the models could be decorated as footballers.
"Working in close collaboration with Dow Hyperlast throughout the project, from concept through to delivery, has been a key part of our success. The team in High Peak [Birch Vale] has invested significant time and expertise in developing the materials and production process that we use for the player targets," said Mockford, who managed the project all the way through. Dow Hyperlast "provided high quality technical advice and development work to tune the materials meet our needs. We now have a technical foam that absorbs the majority of the energy from a very elastic object, a football, whilst delivering high levels of durability," he commented.