Since MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s 2016 recommendation to extend protective netting at league ballparks, Sportsfield Specialties, Inc.’s Ultra Cross® Knotless Baseball Netting has been at the vanguard of barrier netting technology. Today, it is the preferred product of NCAA, MiLB, and MLB clubs across North America. The product’s success is a result of engineered durability, a low-profile design, and exceptional performance, which is certified through 3rd party testing.
According to Keegan Mulholland, Director of Projects at Sportsfield, the company contracted Innovative Test Solutions (ITS) in 2016 to put their Ultra Cross® product to the test. “We wanted to show that Ultra Cross® could, without a doubt, withstand rigorous impact testing without failure,” Mulholland said. He explained that to simulate a field installation, a scaled 10’x10’ netting model was constructed to replicate a full-scale system. After 600 baseball hits at an average speed of ~100mph, and with distances ranging from 60’ to 10’, the Ultra Cross® net experienced an impressive feat: no failures.
Sportsfield could have stopped there and Ultra Cross® would have remained the industry leader with 95% see-through visibility, exceptional resilience to outdoor conditions, and excellent impact strength, but Mulholland said, “we were curious just how long our Ultra Cross® product could take repetitive impact. We wanted to find out just how strong it was.”
So, in early 2021, the team at Sportsfield reached out to ITS once again with a new challenge—subject Ultra Cross® Knotless Netting to as many high-speed baseball hits from a 10’ distance as possible until the twine failed.
According to ITS Owner Lou Fiorini, a similar simulation constructed at ITS in 2016 was installed at the facility for the new test. This cable suspended system consisted of one continuous constraint cable, located at each edge of the 10’x10’ 1.2 mm knotless Ultra Cross® Dyneema® netting panel. The net was then lashed to the cables with a combination of zip ties and braided rope. Once in place, a series of standard baseballs was fired at the net from an excessively short 10’ distance using a high-powered pitching machine with ball speeds averaging 100mph.
Fiorini explained, “We wanted to design a test that would simulate real world baseball impacts in an extreme circumstance, and subjecting netting to nearly 5,000 high-speed impacts at 10 feet of distance is more strain than any normal net will ever have to withstand. The product held up extremely well and it was our pleasure to work with Sportsfield Specialties to independently confirm that this product is making players and fans alike safer at the ballpark.”
In response to the testing, Mulholland said, “The results turned out even better than expected. We knew we had a premium product, but for Ultra Cross® to withstand almost 5000 high intensity hits is truly remarkable. The standards were very rigorous and the Ultra Cross® remained intact far beyond normal conditions.”
For Sportsfield, going above and beyond is part of what has established the company as the innovative leader in sports construction equipment. Mulholland shared that the new test is evidence of Sportsfield’s continued commitment to setting high safety standards in the athletic field equipment industry. “Not only do we meet the needs of our clients, but we also try to exceed them.”
MORE ABOUT SPORTSFIELD SPECIALTIES, INC.
Since 1998, Sportsfield Specialties, Inc. has been the innovative leader in the manufacture and sale of sports construction equipment for high school, college, and professional levels of competition. With over 30 patents awarded for their game-changing designs, Sportsfield is integral to moving the sports construction and venue renovation industries forward. Our commitment to client-centered service, strategic partnerships, and building world-class equipment give customers the highest level of confidence that their facility will look great and function efficiently using Sportsfield equipment.
MORE ABOUT ULTRA CROSS® KNOTLESS NETTING
Ultra Cross® braided and knotless Dyneema® Netting offers engineered safety and uncompromised visibility for spectators in the stands. The braided and knotless design provides the strongest configuration for netting and the super-strong Dyneema® fiber contributes to this product’s excellence in tenacity, UV and chemical resistance, and resistance to abrasion. The net is manufactured by Nor’Eastern Trawl Systems (NET Systems) of Bainbridge Island, WA.