University of Michigan is building new facility with hydraulic track

Friday June 2nd, 2017

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The University of Michigan will soon be introducing a new state-of-the-art athletics facility. The $168 million Athletics South Competition & Performance (ASCP) project will feature space for men’s and women’s track & field, cross country, lacrosse, soccer and women’s rowing.

At the forefront will be a cutting-edge hydraulically-operated track. Known as the Rise-N-Run system, coaches and athletes will have the ability to create specific angles of embankment using hydraulic actuators that raise and lower the track surface. This counteracts centrifugal force caused by their circular motion to achieve better racing times.

Mitchell Machine Works designed the track using a computerized 3D model for exact specifications. Built with approximately 200,000 pounds of steel, the track will be put together by a 10-man crew with help from the 3D model. A push of a button forces hydraulic cylinders the flex the underlying steel creating up to 10-degree banks on each turn in just two minutes.

“Building such a complex system involves about 7,000 work hours just to fabricate the machine,” Mitchell Machine Works CEO, Mark Mitchell said in a statement. “It takes another 4,000 hours to install — a painstaking process that requires each of the hydraulic drivers, 40 at each end, to be placed perfectly so they work in harmony with the one next to it.”

The entire system, once completed, can be controlled through a programmable touchscreen device. A coach watching practice can easily change the embankment to accommodate different events such as a steeper 300-meter race or the mile run.

Set to open in 2018, the University hopes to use the hydraulically-banked track (of which there are few in the United States) to recruit prospective athletes.

The Rise-N-Run system is manufactured through Beynon Sports Surfaces.

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