AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings is using the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) event in Orlando to launch a new innovation in training that takes a virtual approach to the reality of drawing an airplane.
AkzoNobel has invested in technology that simulates a customer’s production environment and multiple coating systems to train teams virtually, in a significantly more sustainable and effective way than was previously possible.
The virtual reality (VR-)-based system, developed by tech professionals Virtual Paint Products, was successfully tested at the AkzoNobel Training Center in Troy, Michigan, and several portable units have since been designed for use on the customer’s private premises.
The VR headset immerses the intern in a virtual paint booth, complete with anything from aircraft parts to larger-volume assemblies to the production floor itself. The system can be programmed with different coating specifications, such as the thickness of the coating required, and where the operator uses the spray gun, he can tell if too much or too little coating is being used and look for discrepancies in the way the coating is being applied.
All the while, the essential skills of the operator are measured, from setting up the spray session to the distance, angle and speed at which the gun is used. Feedback is instant, so trainees can react quickly and change their technique to be more consistent. It will show where stretching and sagging occurs, or where the wet film thickness is not sufficient or coverage is insufficient to deliver a smooth finish. It also helps them avoid common problems such as paint overlap.
The new system is suitable for all levels of training requirements, says Jeremiah Treloar, CEO of Virtual Paint Products, “The training is not only useful for training new apprentices, but is also great for teaching advanced skills to more experienced operators. They can practice spraying the most challenging parts with nails, angles that are not Fit, curves, and in a movable production line.It effectively enables the painter to “walk” the part before spraying a wet substance on it, thereby helping to reduce the potential for defects.It also helps experienced painters teach new painters techniques on difficult parts or fixtures.
“If an experienced trainee or trainee is struggling to understand how to improve their technique, the trainer can play back a video of the session and talk to them through it. Additional training tools and videos built into the system also improve the quality of training, and ultimately the quality of the workforce. Trainees using the system Fully certified to aircraft industry standards.”
Matthew Amick, director of global technical services at AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings, says incorporating VR into its training system is an exciting development. He says, “It reflects the organization’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and partnerships, and to support our clients with the help of a purposeful process.
“Usually, when a client orders training, we have to save up on loads of paint, much of it wasted. By effectively moving the spray booth into the classroom, we completely eliminate waste, reduce costs and unnecessary shipping, and prevent the release of VOCs.” There are also no costs associated with cleaning the spray guns, releasing additional VOCs from required solvents, or in providing the panels needed for wet paint training. It’s a “win” for everyone involved.”
AkzoNobel will be exhibiting at booth 3557 at the NBAA from October 18-20, 2022 inviting customers to test the technology for themselves.