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News: An invention from Quebec which revolutionizes exterior playing fields
Various - a Québec invention which revolutionizes exterior playing fields
by Jean-Philippe Cipriani (translated from french)
MONTREAL - A Montreal invention could be well found on major baseball fields in a few years. New marking lines, made of synthetic material which is similar to grass, were developed here, in order to replace line painting in a permanent way. And with many advantages.
"I have been working in the field of synthetic turf for 22 years, as a matter of fact", said the inventor. "One night, the idea came to me in bed, I got up, I wrote it down in a notebook, and I went back to sleep." That was in 1999. The inventor, Jacques Prévost, is never without paper and pencil, should an idea come forth. He began this adventure with his brother Jean, who also worked for a long time in tennis industry, and who works now in another kind of synthetic surface for sports.
The principle is simple: a strip of synthetic material, on which fibres of synthetic grass are implanted, like hairs in the scalp. The strip is placed in a small trench dug into the ground, two inches deep and is covered with a special mixture of sand and rubber. No nails or stakes, nor wood slats either: the everything is held in place simply by gravity. Over time, the Permaline becomes part of the natural grass field and improves the effect.
More powerful reflection
Jacques Prévost's field marking lines do as much for the happiness of future Barry Bonds as they do for the referees, since they relfect light much better than the painted lines, particularly the evening. Even in daylight, from a distance, the difference is notable.
"The Permaline lasts between ten and fifteen years, explains Mr. Prévost. And purchasers will often see the savings by the second year." Because maintenance of traditional lines is expensive: in addition to labour cost, multiplied by the gallons of paint, and the fields are subjected to the whims of the weather, so you can see a whole working day wasted by a heavy shower. Without counting the time that's necessary to prepare the surface over again.
Furthermore, the lines keep their width exact to four inches, thanks to a spacing pattern created by green synthetic fibres bordering the strip. Mr. Prévost explains that it took him one week, with five or six workers, to carry out the first field installation. Things have progressed to the point now where two or three people can accomplish it in 10 to 12 hours.
The Permaline has been endorsed by the Quebec federations of baseball, soccer and football, which, a few years ago they prohibited the use of chalk lime, which is extremely irritating, and wooden slats, to act as field limits.
The Major leagues?
The majority of the fields in former city of St-Laurent are equipped with Permaline, as are others in Drummondville, in the province of Quebec, and some in the United States. In addition to the playing fields in Quebec and elsewhere, wasn't Mr. Prévost tempted to break into the professional leagues? Without going into details, the inventor confided that the major baseball leagues have already showed an interest in the product. Thus, a little time separates it from the professional stadiums...
All is going very quickly for an invention which is only three years old. Are you astonished by such success? "No, he starts to answer, because the invention is a good one." So much so, that it is patent pending in Canada and in several European countries, and in fact already acquired in the United States.
With 50,000 to 70,000 feet installed on the sports fields per year, Permaline greatly exceeds the modest 300 feet which it saw being born. Popularity is such that Mr. Prévost has difficulty finding enough salesmen to promote the product!
One thing is certain, it does not lack followers. Of such a simple invention, Mr. Prévost undoubtedly avoided disappointing many young people, who only ask to play... even in mud!
specialists, one understands...
by Jean-Paul Ricard (translated from french)
Other major events on the sporting front, that the World Junior baseball in 2002 which commenced in Sherbrooke, at Amédée-Roy stadium, as well as in Coaticook, at the Julien-Morin stadium. Twelve participating countries, the best in the world, for this baseball championship for 18 year olds or less.
For the competition schedule and the match results, you can visit their offcial website.
Synthetic grass lines at the staduim
The fans who will attend 2002 World junior baseball championships, will perhaps not see it first glance, but the marking lines in the outfield of the of Julien-Morin baseball stadium, in Coaticook, and Amédée-Roy, in Sherbrooke, are made of synthetic grass. No joking. It is a synthetic surface of white grass concealed in the ground so that the lines remain permanently traced and is much safer than the quicklime chalk one sees elsewhere. One may say that it is more about a beautiful economy from that point on, because of the little maintenance that it requires. It is Jacques Prévost, of the firm SportsXperts, a division of Surfaces Sportives Prévost, who has installed these new synthetic grass lines.