Robot knows way around Asheboro fields

A robot named “Comet” lines the stadium fields at Asheboro High School. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

School saves time in lining up for competition

ASHEBORO – Everything is lining up just right for fields maintained by Asheboro City Schools.

A robot is used to paint lines on the fields.

“Once they came in and demo-ed for us, we saw it as a time saver and a cost saver,” said Jody Cox, interim director of maintenance and facilities for the school system.

The robot is produced by Turf Tank, a Danish company that has taken the lead on lining fields around the country.

Chris Scott prepares for a paint refill for the robot lining fields at Asheboro High School.                            (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)


The Asheboro school district has been giving it a try with a one-year lease. Cox is the main operator of the robot, which has been given the nickname “Comet.”

The robot is programmed with a GPS sensor. A tripod is used to hold that programmed device and then “Comet” does most of the rest.

In order to get the desired results, there’s a careful procedure to follow.

“The tripod has to be in the same spot every time,” Cox said. “Then click ‘Start.’ All we have to do is make sure we have paint.”

The robot needs paint refills after about 45-60 minutes. So for a field painting, it might take 2½ refills of the five-gallon tank, Cox said.

But now Cox can handle a field painting in a half day. In the past, there would be multiple workers spending pretty much a full day to paint the lines, Cox said.

As word has spread about the robot, there have been curiosity seekers checking out the process.

“Anybody who comes out to watch has questions,” Cox said.

For Asheboro schools, “Comet” is used for the stadium field at the high school and a practice field along with fields at the district’s two middle schools.

There is other painting to be done. The end zones have “Blue” and “Comets” painted and there’s an “A” at midfield. Those are still done by a grounds crew.

Cox joined the school system in February. He said the process to obtain “Comet” was already in the works. An allotment of paint accompanies the lease.

“We’ve had no issues with it,” Cox said of operating the robot.

While Asheboro is believed to be the only school in Randolph County with the robot so far, others in the region are giving robot painting a try. For instance, Eastern Guilford uses a robot, while Burlington Williams and Eastern Alamance are sharing a Turf Tank this year.

By Bob Sutton