Sewing It All Up
Now the moment we have been waiting for has arrived-the installation of the Desso Grass Master system. This system will provide the re-inforcement for the pitch, enabling us to host more games and hopefully maintain a level and intact surface.
During last week, we were handed over the day-to-day maintenance of the pitch and are working hand in hand with the contractor, Mallinsons, in seeing the pitch through to fruition for the first game in early August, a yearly pre-season training game featuring the
The equipment for the installation arrived on Monday morning from Holland, fortunately the cabins that house the Desso equipment and materials can be stored under the stadium itself. The design of the Stadium allows enough room for even the team buses to manoeuvre straight up to the dressing rooms within the Stadium.
Amazing, but true, never again will our players have to get soaked when making their way to the game on our famous wet Saturdays in Manchester!
Careful maintenance with regular rolling and mowing by Mallinsons, an operation we now carry out twice a day, three times a week, has firmed the surface gently, more and more each day. The pitch is now at a stage where the tracked Desso 'sewing machines' can work on the surface without causing disturbance.
While the two machines are here they will be operated for 19 hours a day for about three weeks to complete the sewing operation.
The plastic fibres that the machines are weaving into the ground are being put in at 25mm centres and a depth of 200mm, leaving approximately 20mm of tufted plastic filament above the surface. This means that the Desso fibres will be just below the height of cut of the grass leaf.
Before work could start, all sprinkler heads, goal sockets, rugby sockets and practice goal sockets had to be marked off, so that the machine operators could see clearly what to avoid. Hitting an underground obstruction will damage needles on the machine and cause down time that we can ill afford.
The machines have needed to be covered with tents, as the infamous Manchester summer is upon us and it is imperative that the plastic fibres need to be kept dry at all times for the machines to work efficiently.
The installation is a slow process, however it is one, which doesn't affect our work too much. We are pretty much able to complete our own tasks, without interference.
As I've mentioned before one of the major plus points in the Stadium design is the ventilation. As well as the louvers that we've talked about, we also have some additional panels on the lower tiers of the stadium at the back of the concourse. These panels can be opened up to allow even more air circulation to the pitch. This will be a big bonus to help dry the pitch on damp and wet days.
The under soil heating system is also in place and again uses state of the art technology. Instead of a separate gas boiler to provide heated water, we have an integral system that utilises the clubs existing heating boilers. Water will be available to be pumped out under the pitch surface at 20 degrees Celsius, whenever we deem it necessary.