Norgren prepares the ground

Norgren is lending Mother Nature a helping hand using pneumatic components to prepare playing fields.

Norgren is lending Mother Nature a helping hand using pneumatic components to prepare playing fields. The pitch at Mile High football stadium in Denver, USA – home of the Denver Broncos – is equipped with state-of-the-art technology including a revolutionary new concept for improving the quality and resistance of football playing surfaces involving natural grass while maintaining the traditional aspects of Mile High Stadium that have given the Broncos a decided home field advantage over the years. The DD Grassmaster system enables American football teams to increase the use of their playing fields for competition from 250 to 900 hours per year. Turf manager at Mile High, Ross Kurcab, said: "The Grassmaster treatment has made a real difference to the quality of the turf. Even after a tough game in bad weather, the turf is not torn too much and recuperates real quick. Now not even Thunder, the Broncos' Arabian horse mascot, can do much damage." Artificial grass fibres are planted into the soil to a depth of 18cm, leaving 2cm visible. Ordinary grass is then sown in between the artificial fibres. Once the natural grass is fully grown, the artificial grass is virtually undetectable. Resistance to intensive wear and sliding action is increased fourfold. Drainage is also dramatically improved. Planting is carried out in runs of 180 fibres at a time, with forward steps of 2cm. The fibres are clamped and cut by Norgren cylinders. Solenoid valves and in-line valves control these actuators. Norgren air preparation units deliver the high-quality air for trouble-free operation in a wide range of environments: rain, heat, cold, sand and mud. The machine is protected by a large bungalow tent. The design of the pneumatic circuits include a number of safety features such as a relief valve on the air reservoir, and a coalescing exhaust silencer for oil removal. The DD Grassmaster machines can upgrade one football field in about 24 working days. They have previously been used at famous soccer clubs in Europe.