Denmark-based Intelligent Marking Ltd invented and manufactures a field-marking robot that is being distributed in the U.S. by Turf Tank, Acworth, Ga., www.turftank.com. Jason T. Aldridge, president of Turf Tank, said his company has been very involved in helping Intelligent Marking design the American football programming for the robot and develop an overall sales strategy for the U.S. market. Aldridge answered some questions from SportsTurf ahead of the product’s debut at January’s STMA Conference:
Can the robot be pre-programmed to paint a soccer pitch or football hash marks or must it always be run by an on-site operator?
Aldridge: The Intelligent One Robot has pre-designed templates for athletic fields and can be pre-programmed to paint any size soccer pitch or football field (outline, yard lines and/or hashes). The robot is controlled from an app on an Android Tablet, which comes with the robot. After each practice and/or game fields are loaded into the application, the robot will always know the precise location and measurements down to 1 cm accuracy to paint effectively. The operator can simply click a button on the app and launch a route plan. The robot will drive directly to the starting point and begin painting. For soccer complexes with multiple soccer pitches, the robot can be instructed to paint up to four, full size 11 v 11 soccer fields with one touch of a button. When running an American football route plan, the operator has the option to do either a full field or separate components of the outline, yard lines or hash marks.
What’s the learning curve for operators, in both running the robot as well as programming it for certain tasks?
Aldridge: The Intelligent One App is very easy to navigate and understand. Our Turf Tank staff will properly train every customer and provide support through phone, email, online forums and onsite visits if necessary.
Does it require any kind of special paint or can operators use same paints they have been using?
Aldridge: The Intelligent One robot is a highly advanced computer with algorithms and timing mechanisms that correlates with the pump pressure and nozzle output. Intelligent Marking is offering a branded paint solution manufactured in the U.S. Customers will ultimately have to make their own choice of paint preference, and we will help them understand our paint products and navigate through any questions or options they want to explore.