Turf Tank Automatic Solution to SETU Line Marking Problem ..

As pitch use grew at Ireland’s South East Technological University (SETU) Arena, Grounds Manager David Grant needed a solution for increased pitch marking times, and the Turf Tank One was the automatic answer.

The Waterford-based site is primarily for SETUs student societies and clubs, but the impressive multi-pitch facility is used by up to 250,000 people a year, including children as young as eight learning their sports and elite athletes playing in the League of Ireland and representing the country at the Olympics.

High-quality playing surfaces and indoor facilities are a significant draw, but as demand to use the site grew, David’s team spent 630 hours line marking a year. Using the Turf Tank One, that has reduced to 120 hours.

David explains: “We started looking for an automatic solution to a problem because we were getting busier. We were finding that we were starting to cut corners manually lining.

“We had a man spending 630 hours lining every year. The Turf Tank does that in 120 hours. So, I now essentially have 15 weeks of extra labour that I would normally not have had. I can concentrate that on all the other small jobs that were always on a long list that we would get to but never did because we always had to go lining again. 

“Now, the pressure for lining is gone. We don’t have to worry anymore. If a booking comes in that we didn’t know about last minute, it’s not a big problem. The pitch will be lined in less than an hour.”

Using Turf Tank One, the SETU team can mark a soccer pitch in 23 minutes and a GAA pitch from scratch in an hour. Reducing what used to take six and a half hours is significant for David, and it allows the facility to take last-minute bookings while always knowing the lines will be perfect.

“Before, if we had anything out of the ordinary, a smaller pitch, a different line marking, it was panic stations, really,” David said. “How are we going to do it? How long is it going to take? How are we going to fit it into our routine? Now it’s not a problem.

“There are so many variations of what we want on the tablet. We can literally select it and send it off. It’s doing its job while we’re off doing something else. And we know it’s going to be done perfectly. It’s the exact same line from the exact same spot every time.

“There’s no variation. There’s no worry that a new guy who’s brilliant at lining is going to go out, but he’s going to be different from me or someone else. The robot’s going to do the exact same thing every time and has done since we’ve been using it.”

Along with time savings and consistency, SETU has also halved its paint usage within the first three months of having the robot. The cost was around €11,000, and the money saved has been used to pay for the Turf Tank One.

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