In recent years, we have seen a growing trend toward increased multi-event field usage, fueled by the increased use of synthetic turf paints, removers, and related equipment. A great deal of the near term innovation within the sports turf and turf marking industry will likely be driven by the demand for field marking flexibility. The days of simply buying and applying paint without regard for preconditioning and eventual fast removal are gone, displaced by the demand for a more integrated, systematic approach to field management.
There is also an increased awareness and demand today for more ecologically sound field maintenance practices that minimize the release of potentially hazardous chemicals and materials into the environment. Residual materials can also create long-term issues with field performance caused by material buildup and chemical impact on the synthetic turf.
Our TempLine™ division is always searching for ways to improve the performance of their field conditioners, paints, and removers. This quest for continuous technological improvment targets better options for field managers to maintain their fields with greater economy, efficiency, and environmental responsibility.
Why is it important to stay up to date with technology?
According to Jeff Fisher, Sales and Technical Services Manager for Eco Chemical™ TempLine Field Marking Systems, “The industry just demands it. Sports are huge and growing – everything from kindergarteners playing soccer, up to the big professional sports events on multi-use, high level fields. Today’s sports fields are expected to be available for play 15 to 20 hours a day, so having an efficient and reliable field maintenance plan is essential.”
To best serve today’s field managers, efficiency is the name of the game. Our goal is to meet industry demands with field conditioners, paints, removers, equipment, and technical assistance that further facilitate field marking and conversion, making the field available for play as quickly as possible and with minimal wear and tear – all while leaving the smallest possible ecological footprint.
According to Fisher, “It’s not always just in the product that we’re putting down, it’s also in the packaging, the technology, the system, the man-hours, and the money it takes to get the job done. All those things can contribute to greater efficiency while being more ‘ecocentric’.”
Our philosophy on technology:
Fisher says that, “As a group, we have always been problem solvers who look at every situation in our market as an opportunity for delivering improvement or a totally new solution. We come at it with a long-term perspective, and I think because we’re from the Pacific Northwest, we bring an additional ‘ecocentric’ dimension to our long-term thinking. We definitely come at it from a different angle.”
That’s why we believe that true, successful innovation should be enduring, with future consequences in mind. Continuous product improvement and new product development is always a priority, and we have our lab capabilities and collaborative relationships with current customers to thank for our continued success in developing new and improved products and equipment.
As technology drives innovation, and increasingly complex combinations of materials and equipment become available, educating our customers becomes even more important. “The technical know-how and usage guidance that we provide our customers is frequently as valuable to them as the conditioners, paints and removers we supply. Offering counsel to new and existing customers in dealing with their special needs or circumstances is an area where we also seek to attain continuous improvement” says Fisher.
For Fisher, “field research” could not be more apropos.
Why? Because he gets most of his ideas from first-hand experience in the field. “I’m typically not in the lab. I’m literally on the field working with customers and that’s where a lot of the ideas come from. When I’m out there looking at the problems people are having, or how people typically do something, I try and streamline it and figure out what we can do to make the situation more efficient. Then I go back to the lab and explain the problem, where our R&D team can fully tackle new challenges from a product and equipment perspective.”
What does the future hold for field painting technology?
Change in the synthetic field turf industry is inevitable. The increased use of sport fields for multiple events and the resulting ever-expanding engagement calendar creates a steady demand for continued innovation. The buyers’ search for greater efficiency and/or convenience will continue to challenge everyone on the supply side of the equation, including manufacturers and distributors.
The incentives are substantial for those in the field-marking segment of the industry, but will require constant creativity and new ways of thinking about how the market is best served in terms of products, packaging, delivery, and service. Regardless of one’s position at the table, the need for information will be at the heart of the challenge, along with the ability to respond with innovative solutions that also reflect the shared interest in environmental stewardship.
Stay tuned for information on some new products we have in the works! In the meantime, give us a call to see how our field marking technology and expertise can work for you.