City Of Chula Vista Logo by Turf Tank

Top-Of-The-Art Tools For America’s Top Athletes: Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center And Their Line Marking Robot

Introducing Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

The Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center is a state-of-the-art sport venue dedicated to the development and performance of America’s future Olympic and Paralympic athletes. A 155-acre complex, this premier training center has sport venues and support facilities for more than a dozen summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, and cross-training abilities for various winter sports.

THE CHALLENGE

With a facility of this caliber, keeping the turf training surfaces in optimal condition is crucial. But for such a huge area to maintain, manually painting fields proved to be a labor intensive and time consuming process, not always achieving the desired precision, suitable for such an esteemed establishment.

THE SOLUTION

Therefore, in the summer of 2022, CVEATC decided to switch to a robotics solution for their line marking needs and so brought on board a Turf Tank robot.

Effortless line marking with a robot

Brian Melekian is the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center. When asked about why they decided to switch from manual line marking to an autonomous robot, he explains the importance of having more efficient tools for their operations.

“We’ve been here for about 30 years. We’ve got seven fields. We’ve got a track, we’ve got a lake, we’ve got indoor facilities, strength and conditioning, dining hall dorms. But those seven fields require a lot of work. As you can imagine, some of our biggest partners are US Archery, USA Rugby, US Track and Field, US Soccer. We bring in professional soccer teams, club lacrosse, club rugby, professional rugby, so we have a real diversity of sports.”

And looking at the way their line marking process worked when done manually, Brian realized that something needed to change:

“First time I saw our Turf Director, Dave, out there with the machine is how much work it is to put the machine on a trailer, take it off a trailer, unload it, hope that it doesn’t get clogged up and set it all up to paint. It takes forever.”

With the Turf Tank, you just drop the little guy off. You tell him what to do and he does it and he doesn’t need any breaks. He doesn’t complain. And he gets his job done pretty quick.

Brian Melekian, President and Chief Operating Officer

Due to its autonomous design, the Turf Tank robot requires little human intervention, which improved the productivity of the grounds crew at CVEATC and helped them be more efficient in completing other tasks simultaneously, while the robot is taking care of the fields.

Drone picture of autonomous line marking robot called Turf Tank from Chula Vista
Manual marking Turf Tank
3 people 1 person
Strings and manual mearsurements Push of a button
Free time for other tasks
Manual Marker icon

Dave Tabler, the Venue Manager at CVEATC and one of the people who works with the robot on a daily basis draws a comparison between the process in the past and the way they paint their fields now with the robot.

With the Turf Tank, it takes one person to paint the field instead of three guys pulling strings, measuring, making sure everything’s right. While we’re painting the field with one guy on the machine, the other guys are setting up benches canopies, and everything else needed.

Dave Tabler, Venue Manager at CVEATC

After mastering how to use the machine, they gained great faith in it and feel at ease letting it do its job — liberating a person from needing to remain behind in order to oversee the robot.

“Once we felt comfortable with the Turf Tank managing the painting process by itself, it freed up one of the workers to be able to go do something else.”, Brian continues.

One day I painted five fields in a day with the Turf Tank before lunch.

Dave Tabler, Venue Manager at CVEATC

Chula vista's custom wrapped turf tank robot painting a field

PHELPS – Painting Helper Ensuring Lines Painted Straight

At CVEATC, the training program attracts many high-profile teams who naturally have high expectations regarding the facility. However, it is difficult to achieve perfectly straight lines when doing tasks by hand – an issue which can compromise the overall quality of the facility.

Dave Tabler further explains the difficulties in manual field painting. Even when you have highly-skilled staff, the lines could be creeping bit by bit, without even noticing they moved from their initial correct location.

I always thought that we painted some straight lines, and we did a pretty good job. But when they brought out to demo this machine, I realized that our lines weren’t that straight.

Dave Tabler, Venue Manager at CVEATC

This accuracy is thanks to the robot’s GPS technology, which ensures the robot finds the exact position of the initial lines and overmarks with maximum precision every time.

The Turf Tank is able to paint a straighter line that we are by hand.

Brian Melekian, President and Chief Operating Officer at CVEATC

With the help of a robot, the ground crew now have peace of mind knowing that their field lines are accurately placed every time. The robot creates perfect fields according to all governing body regulations, be it soccer, lacrosse, rugby, track and field or football. Quality suitable for a facility dedicated to America’s future Olympic and Paralympic athletes!