Medway Norse, the Kent-based grounds and facilities management specialist has become one of the first users of Rigby Taylor’s robotic TinyLineMarker (TLM).
Launched at last year’s SALTEX exhibition, the company says TLM can mark a full-size football pitch in 20 minutes, compared to around 1.5 hours manually. And for Medway Norse, which has a grounds service remit that includes the maintenance of all of Medway Council’s grass playing surfaces, including 68 football pitches, “that will mean we’ll be freeing up our grounds team from line marking these pitches for at least two days a week”, says Colinda Le Gall, Operations Manager – Grounds.
“I’m being very conservative with these estimated savings, too, because I fully expect the rewards to be much greater!”
Colinda continues: “Also, as a result of needing just one person to mark the pitches using TLM – instead of two by conventional transfer wheel methods – the investment will also mean that the available resource will be able to be redeployed on other pitch maintenance tasks,” she says.
“So, for example, we will be able to carry out additional pitch maintenance all year round, rather than just the annual end-of-season renovations, and that will surely lead to better quality playing surfaces. It’s all about improving and adding services to users within the same budget model.”
The benefits of TLM don’t end there, either, says Colinda.
“Because TLM uses Rigby Taylor’s ready-to-use Impact paint [producing bright white lines that last longer than other paints], our operators will have virtually no contact with the paint either, as a flow tube is simply inserted into the paint container.
“So, we will also eliminate the need to both de-canter line marking paint from a 1,000-litre tank and mix it with water. That equates to further savings in time, labour and water, and it will make for a much cleaner, greener operation.”
Colinda Le Gall with Rigby Taylor’s technical sales representatives Simon Hughes (left) and Roy Mellis
TLM utilises the latest GPS technology with RTK receiver and antenna that connects with global satellites and mobile network connections. It takes the input of pitch line dimensions and multiple pitches via an App and re-positions them to best fit the site using Google Maps. Once stored, the lines are never lost, even if they disappear if a pitch is not used for any length of time.
Initial marking of a standard size football pitch takes less than 20 minutes - “Our initial marking of 68 pitches used to take around four weeks”, says Colinda, “but will now take just one week” - including all perimeter lines, penalty boxes, the ‘D’, centre circle, corner angles and penalty spot all with just one touch on the tablet control. Even pitches with fixed post sockets can be marked.
The company says TLM is able to mark football pitches (any length/width), and rugby union and league pitches as well as multi-lane athletic tracks, tennis, lacrosse and American football pitches, all with no need for formal measuring.
TLM can arrive on site and mark standard and bespoke shapes, which is often required for some smaller locations and events such as school sports days, fetes and even boot fairs, marking car parking on the fields.
Medway Norse – a joint venture with Medway Council and the Norse Group - has been watching robotised line marking developments for the past few years, says Colinda, “and we are confident that Rigby Taylor has arrived at the ultimate cost-effective and highly-efficient solution”.
She concludes: “While we also expect that TLM will eventually also be applied to the two grass tennis and the pair of cricket pitches we maintain [two bowls greens are also under Medway Norse’s wing], we are also confident that the expertise of our line marking and overall grounds maintenance will attract additional business, from local schools, sports clubs and our neighbouring councils”