Choosing the Right Field Marking Equipment
Choosing The Right Field Marking Equipment
For professional field maintenance professionals and part-time municipal workers who prep playfields, there are a variety of equipment options to choose from with a range of price points and capabilities. Those with the most experience understand the benefits of making an initial investment on equipment that saves money on material and labor while delivering higher quality results.
When it comes to applying paint for these applications, the three primary equipment options are aerosol cans, low-pressure field markers and high-pressure field markers.
Working with aerosol paint cans provides the lowest equipment investment for marking athletic fields as aerosol markers typically cost between $100-150. While the initial equipment investment is low, the application time is typically longer and material costs will significantly add up over time – especially with multiple fields to stripe.
Marking a field with an aerosol field marker will take you four times as long and those aerosol cans will cost you four times more than bulk paint used in high-pressure airless systems. For example, painting one football field or five soccer fields using a high-pressure airless field marker will save an average of $80 per use when compared to using an aerosol can field marker.
There are also environmental concerns with aerosol paint cans. In general, chemicals found in aerosol spray are bad for the environment. Carcinogens, neurotoxins and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are known to be harmful to our bodies.
While most aerosol products made or sold in the U.S. now use propellants, such as hydrocarbons and compressed gases like nitrous oxide, that do not deplete the ozone layer, this doesn’t make aerosols safe. Every time you spray an aerosol can, your carbon footprint is raised because they contain hydrocarbon and compressed gasses. In fact, today’s CFC-free aerosols also emit VOCs that contribute to ground-level ozone levels, a key cog in asthma-inducing smog.
Proper disposal of aerosol cans can also be a problem. Aerosol cans with hazardous waste products like paint or solvents must be treated as hazardous waste according to the EPA.
The next level of field marking productivity and efficiency involves the use of Low-Pressure spray. Low-pressure field markers have the advantage of being able to use bulk paint that is less expensive – resulting in paint savings compared to paint costs using aerosol while also eliminating the environmental concerns involved with using and disposing of aerosol cans.
However, these field markers use a low-pressure pump that provides just enough pressure to deliver the paint to a nozzle and then onto the field which results in a significant amount of paint being used while delivering results that are often less than ideal.
While low-pressure spray equipment provides some paint savings over aerosol, the quality of the lines doesn’t match the quality delivered by high-pressure airless technology. With these systems, much of the paint ends up below the surface of the grass or turf which wastes not only paint, but also time and money.
High-Pressure Airless Spray
High-Pressure Airless field markers are the pinnacle of field markers in terms of productivity, material efficiency and line quality and are the preference of field maintenance professionals around the world. While high-pressure field markers do require a higher initial investment, this investment is returned many times over in material and labor savings while also providing the most high-quality, long-lasting lines on athletic fields.
High-pressure airless technology operates at over 10X the pressure of low-pressure field marking alternatives – resulting in lower paint consumption and the most professional, bright lines with every application. How is this possible? In a high-pressure system, high-pressure pumps and precision spray tips atomize the paint into small droplets in a fine spray pattern. Ultimately, this finer spray coats both sides of grass blades while optimizing paint usage instead of dumping larger amounts of paint at low pressure – most of which ultimately ends up on the soil and below the more visible blades of grass where the markings are needed.
High-pressure airless field markers can reduce paint costs by up to 50% compared to low-pressure models while providing the ability to easily spray thick, undiluted paint. And high-pressure airless systems can pump the full-range of materials so operators will spend less time measuring and mixing materials, allowing them to finish field marking jobs up to 4X faster.
When choosing the right high-pressure airless field marking system, it’s important to consider the volume and frequency of marking needed to maintain the fields. For larger facilities that have many fields, it’s typical for field maintenance professionals to use a ride-on system with walk-behind field marking equipment while sporting facilities with fewer fields or field maintenance crew members may prefer to walk when marking.
When it comes to marking playfields, make sure to understand the benefits of how the right equipment investment can help you deliver the best results while minimizing material and labor costs.