Smart Field Marking on Artificial Turf for Soccer and American Football

Artificial Sports Turf and Field Marking Robot

There are many reasons why more and more greenkeepers and ground managers are using artificial grass for their sports turfs. Less maintenance is required, the fields are always ready for use, and time-consuming tasks like watering, mowing, etc. are not necessary. So how do you get the most out of your artificial turf and how can you prepare the turf to have multiple uses for different sports? This was one of the key questions for our customer, Frederikssund Municipality, who have a multi-sport artificial turf prepared for both European soccer and American football. In this article, we will explain how Frederikssund Municipality use both permanent and temporary lines to quickly and easily adapt the turf area to suit whichever sport will be played next.

Artificial Turf Management at Frederikssund Municipality

Frederikssund Municipality have an artificial turf which they use for both European soccer and American football. Some of the field lines for both types of sport have been stitched into the shock pad underneath, which saves the groundsmen a lot of line marking work. However, in order to minimize potential confusion while games are being played and to increase the durability of the artificial turf, not all of the lines have been stitched in.

For the American football field, the following lines/items are not stitched in:

  • Hash marks
  • Player areas left and right
  • Numbers
  • 9 yard lines

For the soccer field, the following lines/items are not stitched in:

  • 8 man fields within 11 man fields (reusing the outer lines of an 11 man field)
  • Center circle
  • Goal area arcs
  • Penalty spots

This means that both sports fields can quickly be adapted to the current need. At the same time, potential “line confusion” is kept to a minimum because only some of the field lines are permanently visible.

Additionally, when lines are stitched into the underlying material, the durability of the turf decreases. This is a natural consequence of stitched lines because for each stitched line, the surface material has to be cut and sown into the shock pad. After many years of continued use, this may cause displacement of surface material and/or lines. This is why Frederikssund Municipality wanted to find a balance between stitched lines and lines to be marked regularly.

Artificial Turf Paint: How Frederikssund Use Field Marking Robot for American Football

Frederikssund Municipality have recently invested in an automatic field marking robot for their artificial turf. They acquired the TinyLineMarker Sport to make their line marking quick, accurate and efficient. Their need to switch between two different sports fields could be solved using the Advanced Edit feature of the robot.

Advanced editing allows users to ignore certain lines of a field while having other lines painted as usual. This means that for Frederikssund Municipality, they can now have the robot mark only the hash marks, the player areas and the yard numbers of the American football field. The rest of the lines are already permanently in place. The artificial turf paint used for this purpose can be temporary or, if needed, semi-permanent if the American football field will be used exclusively for a longer period of time.

You can read more about football field diagrams and the differences between automatic and manual line marking.

Screenshot of TinyLineMarker app.
The red lines indicate the permanent, stitched-in lines. The white lines indicate the lines that will be painted by the field marking robot.

Switching between Multiple Sports Fields: Preparing for Soccer

When the American football games are done and the soccer field needs to be prepared, Frederikssund Municipality can now select the soccer lines to be painted. This is easily accomplished in the TinyLineMarker app on the accompanying tablet.

The non-stitched lines, ie. the lines to be painted, have been saved as a separate field template in the app. All the operator has to do is to select that field (the white lines in the image above) and press Start. The field marking robot now marks the center circle, penalty spots etc. to complete the soccer field.

If you are curious about how to lay out a soccer field, you can read more about how to mark the lines of a soccer field.

How to Mark the Field in the Right Place – Every Time

Before Frederikssund Municipality could begin marking the artificial turf, the field marking robot had to know the exact position of the permanent field lines in order to know the position of the lines to be painted. This was completed using the robot’s ability to collect points. The operator can drive the robot manually to a certain point and have the robot pick up the exact position of that point. In this case, the corners of the existing fields were used. This allowed Frederikssund Municipality to create the “fill-in” lines on top of the permanent lines in the TinyLineMarker app and the result was perfect – all the lines were marked in the right place, both for the soccer field and for the American football field.

You can read more about the many different options for easy field management in the TinyLineMarker app.

TinyMobileRobots TinyLineMarker Sport lining a sports field

What Are the Benefits of Synthetic Grass for Sports?

As mentioned, there are many advantages of using synthetic grass for sports fields. Here are some of them:

  • Less overall maintenance required
  • No need for chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers
  • Requires no water or mowing
  • Less susceptible to weather changes
  • Always appears ready for use visually

Of course, many still prefer natural grass over synthetic grass and the disadvantages of synthetic grass should not be neglected either. Some of them are:

  • High installation costs
  • High repair costs when repairs are needed
  • Shortened lifespan compared to natural grass
  • Risk of grass heating in extreme heat
  • No smell or feel of fresh grass

The choice between artificial and natural grass of course depends on a lot of different factors, not least the different needs for sports exercise on the surface as well as the financial plan for turf management and maintenance.

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