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New Rapid Unwind System Speeds Heatsheets® Finish Line Blanket Distribution

Pilot effort deemed a success on all fronts.

April 28, 2009, Petaluma, CA: AFM Founder and CEO David Deigan today critiqued the new “Rapid Unwind” Heatsheet distribution system his company tested at last week’s Boston Marathon. In addition to the written remarks, which follow, video clips of the Boston pilot program are available for viewing on YouTube. The first video clip shows how the new unwind system works, while a second video clip shows how the system attaches to a barricade and discusses lessons learned from the Boston pilot.

“The new unwind distribution system for Heatsheets® exceeded our expectations,” said Deigan. “Mike Thompson’s intelligent design allowed us to reduce set-up and distribution time for our finish line blankets. Now that we know this system works, we can confidently move to the next steps, which will be to revise and reduce the amount of packaging needed to ship our product, and to arrange for production of the new unwind rack design.”

With on-site help from Thompson, the rack’s designer and event operations veteran, and Steve Moland, race director and long distance running veteran, Deigan and his team tested six unwind stands behind the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon. The sturdy, steel “angle-iron” unwind units were mounted on the two most commonly used crowd control barricades – the bike-rack style used by many law enforcement agencies, and the white style widely used by event and timing companies. The simple mounting system includes two steel bars bolted together with carriage bolts and wing nuts, so they can be mounted quickly and finger-tightened without tools.

AFM’s objectives in developing this new unwind system were to reduce separation time of the Heatsheets®-on-a-Roll™ and determine whether or not the use of the company’s popular dispenser cartons could be reduced to lower-volume areas such as on-course aid stations or to product planned for re-deployment.

AFM is developing revised shipping methods for carton-less rolls, and will provide updates on unwind stand availability as soon as minor design improvements are completed and a final contract is awarded for manufacture and distribution. Interested event directors are encouraged to follow AFM’s progress at wwwHeatsheets®.com/unwindupdates.

On a related note, Boston Marathon organizers collected discarded Heatsheets® in the post-finish area for recycling. Department of Corrections inmates were deployed to collect discarded cups, bottles, and finish line blankets and ensure that all recyclables found their way into the appropriate recycling container.