Pitch-perfect pitches
at Aston University

THE CHALLENGE

The Covid pandemic put a lot of pressure on the grounds staff at Aston University and the maintenance of the 48-acres sports facilities fell into the sole responsibility of Marc Peters, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor.

THE SOLUTION

Marc is certain he would not have had the manpower to manage the entire site without the help of the Turf Tank robotic line marker. It took a load off his shoulders, freeing him time to take care of all the tasks around the facilities while improving the aspect of the pitches.

Aston University is a friendly campus in Birmingham, enjoyed by students from all around the world. Apart from studying a fascinating curriculum that builds essentials skills for their future careers, the students also have lots of opportunities to have fun and work out in the sports facilities around the campus.

Marc Peters, the grounds maintenance supervisor for Aston University has found himself working on his own for the past few months, due to the Covid pandemic. He managed the whole area of 48 acres, consisting of five dedicated full-size football pitches, one full-size rugby pitch, an AstroTurf pitch for hockey and football, as well as a cricket outfield, which from time to time is used as a junior football pitch. And he believes he couldn’t have done it without the help of the robot.

A NEW LEVEL OF PROFESSIONALISM

I really like the Turf Tank robot, because it’s moved us to another level of professionalism.

Marc Peters, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor, Aston University

There is a lot of room for human error, when marking a pitch manually: “you can easily walk over the end of the line carry on straight over or miss parts or have a wonky line”. But with the new setup, Marc is confident that every time the robot goes out it will create perfect markings, following current regulations for the governing bodies, such as FA or RFU.

This millimetric precision can only be achieved thanks to the base station that accompanies the robot. And Marc is happy to see that no matter where he is on the campus, the robot maintains the same strong signal from the base station and it’s capable of creating the same high-quality lines.

The perfect lines are not the only thing that counts towards the improvement of the pitch. Marc believes that now with the robot, while it is marking the pitches, his time can be better spent on other tasks, which in the past used to be neglected.

“I can be doing more beneficial work to the pitches whether it’s slitting them or brushing them to improve the overall surface of the pitch while the robot is doing its work.”

Being able to take the pitches to the next level and mark more than the lines for the game is another aspect Marc appreciates. He uses the robot’s letter and logo creation functionality to customize the pitches and he is happy to see the students taking pride in their school, seeing their team’s name imprinted in the grass. Moreover, he believes that providing this service for grassroots sets their facility apart.

The quality, the lines the robot produces are spot on. Perfectly straight.

Marc Peters, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor, Aston University

The positive feedback received visitors of the facility, such as players coming for tournaments, only speaks to that fact. Marc is proud to see that people notice the quality, take their phone out and post pictures of the pitch on social media, which ultimately becomes a great source of promotion for the university.

A HELPFUL ASSISTANT ON THE PITCH

The manual process of marking the pitches used to be a very time-consuming job and would have been a real nightmare with Marc being a lone worker in the past months. He is thankful he found a reliable assistant in the robot, which helped him be more productive.

The Turf Tank enabled me to get more done by letting the robot do the bulk of its work, while I can then concentrate on other jobs and tasks that are needed to be done.

Marc Peters, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor, Aston University

A job that would require hours of physical effort, dragging stings and measuring the pitch, is now reduced to a touch of a button.

“Now you just plot it simple. Put your sizes in. And that’s it. It’s dead simple. So as long as you can use a smartphone, you can use this, no problem.”

MORE CONSISTENCY

When pushing a manual machine to lay down the lines there is a high chance the lines would not be consistent. It all depends on the walking speed of the person pushing the line marker. Whereas with the robot, Marc is convinced the result will always be consistent because the robot maintains the same speed and same spraying pressure for the entirety of the pitch.

I’m probably using near half of what I was using before. And I think that’s down to the fact the speed is consistent.

50% less paint used

This consistency translates into a 50% reduction in paint consumption , which naturally is a positive aspect for the for the financial department too.

My advice to anybody unsure about it is give it a try. Have a demo, have a look and see what it’s capable of and make your own decisions based on that.

Marc Peters, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor, Aston University

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