It’s a task that many groundsmen would describe as tedious and time-consuming, but marking out pitches and courts has to be done regularly and to exacting standards. Fortunately, recent developments in line-marking machines and the products they apply mean a good choice is available. Whether it’s for inter-house school sports or championship finals, there are machines available to suit all needs and conditions.
There are three basic techniques used for creating white lines: dry line- marking using a powder, wet line-marking using a wheel or belt to transfer paint to the ground, and wet line-marking using a spray-type line-marker. The best technique and most suitable machine will depend on the weather and ground conditions, the type of surface to be marked and the number of facilities requiring marking. The density and brightness of line, its required longevity, expected grass growth, height of cut and frequency of mowing should also be taken into account.
Traditional equipment such as wheel-to-wheel transfer and continuous belt markers are popular because of their simplicity and relatively low price. They tend to be cheap to run too as most take almost any wet marking compound.
In muddy conditions it is best not to use a machine with transfer wheels or continuous belts to put the paint or compound onto the surface. In such conditions a machine with mechanical contact will simply pick up mud, grass and debris. The machine becomes clogged and a thick, messy dollop falls off at the end of the run. Such conditions call for dry line-markers or spray markers.
Dry-liners comprise a hopper and a wheel-driven mechanism that ensures the powder flows evenly through an aperture to be deposited, at a low level, onto the ground. Different line widths can be achieved by adjusting the delivery shutter in the base of the hopper.
The sprayer-type and pressurised line-markers work well in both wet and dry conditions. With these machines the paint is released from a nozzle when the operator activates a switch or trigger. Most manufacturers will recommend a specific paint solution to go through these units. Both the paint and the actual sprayer-marker can be expensive but have the benefit of giving line longevity because the paint tends to be more rain-fast and is sprayed onto the ground as well as the grass blades.
Optional booms turn pressurised markers into track-lane markers for athletics facilities and allow several lanes to be marked at one time. There are also vehicle-mounted sprayer markers suitable for mass-marking sessions where there are many pitches on the same site. Aerosol markers — available in a wide range of colours and mounted into a wheeled frame — are used for marking synthetic turf pitches.
There are several developments that, according to the manufacturers, are set to revolutionise line-marking. One of these is from Bowcom.
Bowcom’s existing line-marking machines — the GM10 and Trike — can now be fitted with Twin Jet nozzles to enhance efficiency and provide better grass coverage. Twin Jet nozzles spray at a 45? angle forwards and backwards, effectively marking both sides of the grass blades simultaneously. According to the Cardiff-based company, the new Twin Jet gives improved coverage over a standard fanjet using the same dilution of paint, while still using an equal volume of paint mix.
“This is the first product enhancement we have introduced since our recent acquisition of the business and we are expecting a tremendous response from groundsmen,” says Bowcom managing director Robert Fiddes.
The Twin Jet nozzle is available as an optional extra to Bowcom customers as it is completely compatible with existing spray equipment and can be fitted easily to any Trike and GM10 kit. The design of the jet does require a bright, diluted mix of thin, viscose paint, such as Bowcom Regular or Bowcom Super, to ensure optimum performance and enable efficient flow through the nozzle.
Have you registered with us yet?
Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletinsSign up now