Guildford Borough mark pitches 90% faster with 33% less paint


With over 60 pitches to maintain, the sports team at Guildford Borough Council had a difficult time marking their pitches with a manual process.


They decided to try a robotic solution for their grounds maintenance. The Turf Tank robot proved to be a real asset, as it considerably reduced the line marking costs, increased the grounds team’s productivity and the standard of the facilities.

Wellbeing is an important topic for the Guildford Borough Council and it is dedicated to offering a wide range of opportunities for the enjoyment of its residents and visitors. On this line, the council invested in over 60 pitches that provide the necessary space for an active lifestyle.

Jonathan Quirk, the Team Leader for the sports team at Guildford Borough Council, and his staff oversee the maintenance of all the outdoor facilities in the borough, from football pitches to rugby, lacrosse, cricket, and running tracks.


Before being allowed to get the Turf Tank robot, Jonathan had to justify the investment. He elaborated a comparison between the costs of the manual line marking process they were currently using and the Turf Tank robot.

“Turf Tank has a six-year warranty. So, we’ve done a comparison over six years. We have been buying a number of pedestrian line markers every two years. We say with the Turf Tank is going to cost us this much for a six-year life. In that time, we would’ve replaced our pedestrian line markers three times. We’ve also looked at the amount of manpower required to operate the pedestrian line markers. And on that basis, the Turf Tank came out ahead. The fact that we’re using less paint wasn’t actually calculated in because we didn’t know that, but that’s an added bonus and that will keep on going year after year.”

The Turf tank has been a great addition to our fleet of equipment. We are able to mark out the pitches with much greater accuracy, and our initial marking is much, much quicker.

Jonathan Quirk, Team Leader for the sports team at Guildford Borough Council

The council understood that the robot would offer a great return on investment, just by looking at the life expectancy and manhours, which would save the community thousand of pounds every year.

Now let’s get a deeper look into the actual numbers to better understand the real savings the borough recorded.


less time to mark a football pitch


cut in paint consumption


In the past, Jonathan’s team performed line marking using the traditional pedestrian line markers, which proved to be a time-consuming job. The initial marking of a football pitch used to take minimum four hours, involving a staff of 2 people, who would use strings and tape to measure the pitch, then pushing the line marker along the strings to lay down the lines.

Now, once we’ve programmed the pitches into the Turf Tank, we can turn up on site, select the pitch we want to, set the robot going, and 25 minutes later, there’s a pitch.

Jonathan Quirk, Team Leader for the sports team at Guildford Borough Council

One important thing to mention here is the increase in productivity the staff sees now due to the robot’s autonomous design. While the robot can mark the pitch all by itself, the team at the Guildford Borough Council are free to look after other important tasks around the site.

When we were pushing pedestrian line markers, that’s all we could do. But now we can set the robot painting and turn our attention to other tasks.

Jonathan Quirk, Team Leader for the sports team at Guildford Borough Council

One good example is mowing. The team uses a tractor to mow the pitches, which cannot cut the grass in the very close proximity of the goal posts. That means that one person needs to go around with a hand mower and cut the grass in the spots right next to the goal posts.

In the past, a different person needed to go around and do this job, but now with the Turf Tank, the same person that set up the robot can go around the pitch and take care of mowing, while the robot marks the pitch.


The paint savings were not even taken into account before the investment, so the cut in costs came as a pleasing surprise for the team. With the old setup they usually needed around 3750 litres in a year. With the new setup, the paint consumption dropped to 2500 litres.

The disappearing lines on a pitch are a real issue for any facility, and that is the case for the pitches in the Guildford Borough, too. Once the lines are laid down, the job is not complete. With every rain and every mowing, the lines keep fading. By letting them fade away, the team would have to go through the laborious initial marking process again the next time the pitch would be needed. So, the solution is usually to remark constantly to make sure the lines remain visible.

Even though this solution reduces considerably the effort and manhours involved in line marking, it doesn’t completely remove it. Plus, you can imagine the waste in paint consumption involved.

Now, with the robot, the team doesn’t need to worry about the fading lines. The robot uses advanced GPS technology, which helps it save the location of the initial lines, remarking with maximum precision in the exact same spot every time. Jonathan and his team can now remark only when needed, thus reducing the paint consumption and hours spent on overmarking.

Football pitch ready in 25 minutes instead of 4 hours10%
2500 litres of paint instead of 3750 litres33%


Apart from the time and paint savings, the team observed another important advantage when they switched to robotic line marking solutions:

“We can’t replicate anything as straight as that by pushing a pedestrian machine by hand, even following a string”

Jonathan is happy to see how the standard of the facilities improved. On hand due to the perfect lines, but on the other because the staff now have more time to dedicate for tasks that used to be neglected when pitches were marked manually.

The team at Guildford Borough Council completely transformed their line marking operations when they switched to robotic line marking. They are relieved to have a reliable assistant on the pitch, which saves them time and allows them to give more care to the ground in areas that usually get neglected. Plus, the community will feel the impact too, with an efficient tool, which improved the productivity and saves them thousands of pounds every year, all while providing beautiful parks and sports facility of high quality.