How Pleasant Dale Park District prepares for sports events more efficiently with the Turf Tank Robot

Pleasant Dale Park District is a park district located in IL, that offers a variety of recreational opportunities for residents, including tournaments, special events, and sports classes. In order to accommodate the needs of their community, the park district must maintain their fields and facilities to a high standard.

In the past, the park district has relied on manual labor to mark their sports fields for games and events. This process used to be labor-intensive, inconsistent and inaccurate. To address these issues, they decided to switch to autonomous line marking solutions and in spring of 2022 they got a trustworthy assistant, the “Johnny Five”, Turf Tank Robot.

Preparing for events faster and easier despite labor shortage

Tony Cavazos, Superintendent of Parks and Facilities explains that in the past one of the biggest issues facing Pleasant Dales Park District was a labor shortage. Similar to many other sectors, the park district was having difficulty in finding and keeping qualified personnel. The shortage of workers made it more difficult to do things in a timely and efficient manner, especially when it came to meeting the deadlines for the sport events.

Labor right now is the hardest thing to come across finding good people that are willing to do the work and they’re willing to do it with pride.

Tony Cavazos, Superintendent of Parks and Facilities

It would often take two people three days to mark a soccer field, which left little time for other tasks. But ever since they got their Turf Tank Robot, the park district has been able to cut down on the amount of time and labor. A single person can now paint a soccer field in just 25 minutes.

This not only saves time, but it also allows the staff to focus on other tasks. Because the robot has an autonomous design, it means it does need any human intervention. Which means that while Johnny Five paints the fields, that person could be doing other tasks, such as: aerating, weed whacking, filling tree baskets. All these activities that were difficult to complete in the past, are now easier to handle.

The robot could be going out and doing its thing. And we could be doing the little things that make our park look best.

Tony Cavazos, Superintendent of Parks and Facilities

More flexibility and efficiency

Hosting lots of events throughout the season means that the maintenance staff needs to regularly change the fields layouts to fit the specifics of the current event.

That used to be a nightmare in the past, using strings and manual measurements. But now with the robot, the whole job is much easier and faster.

With the robot’s copy function, all they have to do is simply create the field layout in the tablet and then copy that initial field and multiply it as many times as needed. Then the robot will go ahead and paint all fields one after the other, creating an entire grid of fields faster and more efficiently.

What used to take three days to set up a tournament weekend, we can do in one day now.

Tony Cavazos, Superintendent of Parks and Facilities

Going back to the normal layout of the fields is just as easy. The robot saves all the different layouts, so now when Tony’s team needs to go back to the layouts before the event, they can do it without much effort.

“And then after a tournament weekend, we can easily reset back to our normal programs, we can just go in there, set up our normal fields. The robot paints it”

Another interesting use of the robot during these events is the letter and logo creation function.

“If a tournament wants to have their name or something on the side of the field, it’s easy. We programme the robot to go out there and do it. We’ve had requests now to do their logos, too.”

The versatility of the robot has been key to helping us do those things and expand the things that we offer for the kids in these programs.

Tony Cavazos, Superintendent of Parks and Facilities

Raising the standard of the facilities

Perfect lines

Another visible advantage of the robot is how the standard of the facilities increased. 

Getting accurate results in the past was a real challenge, pulling strings, ensuring the measurements are correct. Now with the robot, getting precise lines is a hassle-free process.

With the Turf Tank, we’re able to get professional lines, every time.

Tony Cavazos, Superintendent of Parks and Facilities

That is thanks to the robot’s GPS technology. Once a field is created, the robot saves the location of all the lines from the initial marking. This means that next time he needs them, Tony can just select the field and the robot will paint with maximum precision in the exact location.

“Now since we’ve done it once, all that information is in the Turf Tank. We can easily go out there at the beginning of season paint and they’re going to be laser are accurate, every time”

Tony is particularly happy with how well the robot handles the lines in difficult weather condition:

“One thing that the Turf Tank does great is no matter the condition, if it’s wet, if it’s dry, if the ground is hard as a rock, it still goes out and paints perfect lines every time. Laser straight.”

Protection from wear and tear

Another big advantage of the robot is how it helps protect the fields. So many events throughout the year and so many teams constantly playing on the grass, take a toll on the quality of the grass. Especially in places such as the goal mouths where more stepping is involved.

Tony mentions that the best solution to protect the field from wear and tear is to move them.

“There is someone in the goalmouth six hours a day, some days. Sometimes the best thing to do is just move that field 10 feet to the left.”

“One great thing for us is the ability to maintain those goal mouths and maintain the field to the level that we want to maintain them. It used to be a chore to go out and change a field or even just rotate it by 10 degrees so we can change our wear patterns. With the Turf Tank it’s easy. You go in there, move it on the tablet, and off it goes.”

Conclusion

The “Johnny Five” Turf Tank robot has been a game changer for Pleasant Dale Park District. It helped them become more efficient in their field preparation, raised the standard of their facilities and protected their fields from wear and tear. Thanks to the robot, they are able to offer a better experience to the teams using their facilities.

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