It’s no secret that precast concrete manufacturers are innovators. From solar roads to water cribs, fish ladders and beyond, the industry is well-known for its ability to provide solutions for nearly any conceivable project. Now, with the addition of one special product at Tremaine Park in Kitchener, Ontario, the industry can lay claim to yet another innovation.
To further build a sense of community in Kitchener – and to have a little fun – Unit Precast of Breslau, Ontario, manufactured and installed a precast concrete ping-pong table in the park. Scott Robinson, director of Unit Precast, formulated the idea while performing research on glass fiber reinforced concrete for a new product line.
“I had been looking into some GFRC products and saw a really cool concrete ping-pong table,” he said. “After showing my wife Brooke, we both were determined to make this a reality for our neighborhood.”
So the two got to work. Brooke took the idea to a special city committee focused on improving neighborhoods through citizen-generated initiatives, where the plans were well-received. Scott then came up with a design and worked with city officials to ensure that the table would meet safety standards.
With the design settled, Unit Precast cast the pieces, which consisted of two legs and a table top. Thanks to its precast construction, the 1,800-pound table can withstand even the harshest Canadian weather. The steel net – engraved with “#lovemyhood” – also helps guarantee the longevity of the piece, along with a special anti-graffiti coating.
According to Robinson, working on the table meant Unit Precast had to experiment with new production processes. The company created custom forms and worked with different polishing techniques to get the look and performance of the table just right. Dave Schnider, Kitchener city councilor, was extremely pleased with the outcome.
“I think it’s a really good-looking design,” he said. “When you think of a concrete ping-pong table, I was thinking it was going to be really heavy-duty, like something out of ‘The Flintstones.’ Then comes this really beautiful, polished-looking ping-pong table.”
Robinson is also pleased with the result, specifically because of the benefits the table brings to the neighborhood.
“We are thrilled with how the table has been received by the community and that it has been a busy feature of the park,” he said. “Our favorite part of the project has been seeing the table constantly in use.”
Robinson added that he is very appreciative of his production staff for rising to the challenge and exhibiting the eagerness and dedication necessary to work on something new.