Beginning this year, more Major League Baseball fans seated close to the action will be protected by screens thanks to barely visible systems developed and installed by Promats Athletics, a new release from the company reported. This new system uses netting manufactured by NET Systems and is made with Black Dyneema material.
Promats Athletics’ new netting will protect fans in 10 MLB ballparks, including Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium.
Widespread adoption of the product, commonly referred to in the industry as “invisible netting,” comes after Major League Baseball at the 2015 Winter Meetings in Nashville announced recommendations for extended screens to protect fans from batted or thrown balls and other hazards inherent with game play.
Hailed by baseball officials as a positive change to keep spectators safe, some fans and groups initially voiced concern that installing additional screening would have a negative impact on the viewing experience.
“For fans, the biggest appeal is that Ultra Cross netting, made with Black Dyneema, is barely noticeable” says Wayne Oliver, president, Promats Athletics. “Manufacturing safety netting with what’s considered “the world’s strongest fiber,” allows us to preserve the ballpark experience, while offering state-of-the-art protection for spectators.”
Dyneema fiber has long been utilized by sports protective netting specialty companies due to its superior strength, light weight and durability — even with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, rain and other elements. Promats Athletics’ solution uses the Ultra Cross system manufactured by NET Systems with Black Dyneema fiber. Ultra Cross is a knotless braided net. Other systems use twisted fibers rather than braided, and are joined with knots. This results in a thicker, more obstructive screen, the company says.
Alternative systems also require application of a coating to provide the black color preferred by most sports venues. With Black Dyneema material DSM Dyneema developed a process to integrate the color into the fiber itself. Thus, the black coloration of Promats’ system will neither wear away when exposed to natural elements nor abrade should protective screens be repeatedly struck by batted or thrown balls.
“The Ultra Cross product made with Black Dyneema we supply to Promats is the ideal solution to the two most common issues with netting expected to be in place for prolonged periods outdoors,” says Dan Oliver, president, NET Systems. “By using Ultra Cross product the performance and the look will remain unaffected regardless of the natural elements. We’re confident based on the material’s composition, and our experience working with Dyneema in such extreme applications as protection of aquaculture operations from sharks, that stadium operators will realize a return on investment due to the product’s superior performance.”
Promats Athletics has exclusive access to NET Systems’ Ultra Cross knotless netting made with Black Dyneema for the baseball stadium market in the U.S.
“We’re pleased to see our customers utilize our novel Black Dyneema fiber to develop the ideal solution to the challenges faced by baseball facilities seeking to operate with fans’ best interests in mind,” says Edwin Grootendorst, global segment director, DSM Dyneema. “Delivering products that lead to applications such as this demonstrates why our organization continues to make innovation a hallmark of our culture.”