Field markings do more than define the parameters of the game, they give grounds crews the opportunity to create unique works of art for fans to enjoy. Like all aspects of field management, expectations are constantly getting higher, and turf pros are looking for new products and improved methods of creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces on their fields. Advancements in both field paint and equipment have resulted in products that are more environmentally friendly, efficient and versatile.
Field paints have come a long way over the past few decades, with advances in chemistry enabling the creation of “green” formulations that are healthier for the turf. Ray Krebs, sales director for Newstripe, noted that field managers’ demand for environmentally safe products has dictated the development of more turf-friendly paints.
“Field managers are now asking that paint and its application need to fit into sustainable management of the sport field. Everything from chemical effects on the turf and reusing water to removal and drainage come into play, forcing evolution that will continue to allow the industry to grow and create better and safer playing fields,” he said.
Brite Stripe Ultra-Friendly paint, from Pioneer Athletics (www.pioneerathletics.com), is the industry’s first zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, and the first turf paint to receive EPA recognition.
Brite Stripe Ultra-Friendly’s “Design for the Environment” rating comes as the result of a pioneering partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency to formulate products with environmentally preferable chemistry. The bright and long-lasting Ultra Friendly line of paints is the result of years of research and development and the company’s quest to make the most eco-friendly paints available.
Doug Schattinger, president and CEO of Pioneer Athletics, said, “We turned out the most environmentally friendly product we knew how to.”
Pro-Stripe field marking paint, manufactured by Whitlam Paint Company (www.whotlampaint.com), is another environmentally friendly option. Pro-Stripe is nontoxic, halogen-free, and formulated to stimulate root growth and turf development. Pro-Stripe contains Optiwhite and UV brighteners to make the line bright under stadium lights or sunlight, and colors can be custom mixed using the Pantone Matching System. Need to make a quick paint change for a special event? Whitlam’s Temp-Stripe is a temporary turf paint that can be removed with moderate water pressure and scrubbing, or with the company’s Port-A-Scrub paint removal machine.
Advancements in technology have allowed equipment manufacturers to develop multifunctional machines to help grounds crews mix and apply paint accurately and in record time.
Krebs of Newstripe (www.newstripe.com said, “Equipment design now has to address things like mixing the paint as well as spraying it, or new pumps and nozzles like the airless pumps to spray these new paints, while reducing the amount of paint used.”
Fleet US Ultimate Line paints are super-concentrated and ready to use with no mixing.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FLEET US.
One of Newstripe’s newest introductions is the NewRider 1700 HPA, a high-pressure, airless, ride-on athletic field striping machine. The 25-gallon paint tank can stripe up to four soccer fields with one filling, and the airless paint pump can be adjusted from 0 to 3,000 PSI. The unit has a hydrostatic drive and a 10.5 hp Briggs and Stratton OHC engine with electric start.
Newstripe’s NewRider 1700 HPA is a high-pressure, airless, ride-on athletic field striping machine.
PHOTO COURTESY OF NEWSTRIPE.
Krebs said technology will continue to lead the way in product development, as manufacturers meet the needs of the constantly evolving and highly educated industry.
“Though there have been steady improvements throughout the years in machinery, field construction and personnel, it seems the last five have seen the greatest changes in technology. We see real science applied to both natural and artificial turf fields, the equipment used and the most striking is the educational level of field managers and their personnel,” he said.
Also new to the field painting market, the Line Racer from Fleet US (www.fleetus.com) is a compact battery-powered unit that has the convenience of the aerosol can-type machine with the performance of a big sprayer. Line Racer utilizes Ultimate Line paint, a sealed 1-gallon jug of paint that plugs cleanly into the machine. It features a two-jug capacity and enough battery power for several fields.
Graco’s FieldLazer S90 is the industry’s first battery-powered, high-pressure airless sports field marker.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GRACO.
John Klesk, worldwide product marketing manager for Graco (www.graco.com), agrees that environmental concerns have influenced the design of new equipment to help meet these demands.
“Eco-friendly has been a focus for not only paint, but also equipment. This has been driven by industry professionals and the general public,” he said.
The company has taken eco-conscious field painting to a new level with the introduction of the Graco FieldLazer S90. New on the market this month, the FieldLazer S90 is the industry’s first battery-powered, high-pressure airless sports field marker. The unit features precision spray tip technology to reduce waste and a Tilt-N-Pour 6-gallon hopper.
Klesk said there are a number of factors that field managers should consider when purchasing painting equipment, including: how many fields will be marked, line quality, stencil and logo work and, of course, budget. Klesk encourages turf pros to invest in quality equipment, rather than taking shortcuts and using quick-fix products for field painting.
“Field maintenance is an event- driven job, meaning when game time comes, there are no excuses. The field must be ready and look good,” he said.
With all of this great new gear on the market, choosing which machines are right for your field can be a daunting task. Liam Philpotts, general manager for Fleet US, said, “The best advice before purchasing is do your research, understand what the options are and the benefits of each option. Understand the true costs of each system and don’t be afraid to challenge your supplier.”