At the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) event in Orlando, AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings will launch a new innovation in training that takes a virtual approach to the reality of painting an aircraft.
AkzoNobel has invested in a technology which mimics a customer’s production environment and multiple coating systems to train teams virtually and in a significantly more sustainable and efficient way than previously possible.
The virtual reality (VR)-based system, developed with technology specialists Virtual Paint Products, has been successfully trialled at AkzoNobel’s training centre in Troy, Michigan and several portable units have since been designed for use at a customer’s own premises.
The VR headset immerses the trainee in a virtual paint booth, complete with anything from aircraft parts to larger-scale assemblies to the production floor itself. The system can be programmed with various paint specifications, such as the thickness of the coating required and as the operator uses the spray gun, they can see whether too much or too little paint is used and look for inconsistencies in the way the coating is being applied.
All the while, the operator’s core skills are measured, from setting up the spraying session to the distance, angle and speed at which the gun is used. The feedback is immediate, so trainees can react quickly and change their technique to become more consistent. It will show where runs and sags occur, or where the wet film thickness is not sufficient or the coverage inadequate to deliver a smooth finish. It also helps them avoid common problems such as paint overlap.
Matthew Amick, Global Technical Services Manager at AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings says the integration of VR into its training regime is an exciting development: “It reflects the organisation’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and partnerships,” he says, “supporting our customers with meaningful, practical help.