AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings is using the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) event in Orlando to launch a new training innovation that takes a virtual approach to the reality of painting an aircraft.
AkzoNobel has invested in technology that mimics a customer’s production environment and multiple coating systems to train crews virtually, and in a much more sustainable and efficient way than before.
The virtual reality (VR)-based system, developed with technology specialists Virtual Paint Products, has been successfully tested at AkzoNobel’s training facility in Troy, Michigan, and several wearable units have since been designed to be used at the customer’s premises.
The VR headset immerses the trainee in a virtual paint booth, complete with everything from aircraft parts to larger-scale assemblies, to the production shop itself. The system can be programmed with various paint specifications, such as the thickness of the coating required, and when the operator uses the spray gun, he can see if too much or too little paint is being used and look for inconsistencies in the way which the coating is being applied.
All the while, basic operator skills are measured, from spray session setup to distance, angle and speed of gun use. Feedback is immediate, so trainees can react quickly and modify their technique to become more consistent. It will show where sags and sags are occurring, or where the wet film thickness is not sufficient or coverage is inadequate to provide a smooth finish. It also helps them avoid common problems such as overlapping paint.
Jeremiah Treloar, Managing Director of Virtual Paint Products, says the new system is suitable for all levels of training requirements: “The training is not only useful for onboarding new apprentices, but is also ideal for teaching advanced skills to more experienced operators. They can practice spraying more difficult parts with rivets, difficult corners and curves, and in a moving production line. It effectively allows the painter to “walk” over the part before spraying wet material over it, and in doing so it helps to reduce the likelihood of defects. It also helps experienced painters teach new painters techniques on difficult parts or assemblies.
“If an experienced apprentice or trainee is struggling to understand how to improve their technique, the trainer can replay a video of the session and talk to them about it. Additional training tools and videos integrated into the system also improve the quality of the training and ultimately the quality of the workforce.Trainees using the system are fully certified to aviation industry standards.
Matthew Amick, global technical services manager at AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings, says the integration of virtual reality into his training program is an exciting development. “It reflects the organization’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and partnerships,” he says, “supporting our customers with meaningful, hands-on help.
“Usually when a customer requests training, we have to supply large quantities of paint, much of which is wasted. By efficiently moving the spray booth into the classroom, we completely eliminate waste, reduce unnecessary costs and shipping, and prevent the release of volatile organic compounds. There are also no costs associated with cleaning spray guns, additional VOC releases from required solvents, or supplying the panels needed for wet paint training. It’s a “win-win” for everyone involved. »
AkzoNobel will be exhibiting in booth 3557 at NBAA from October 18-20, 2022 and invites customers to test the technology for themselves.
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