IAC Adopts Virtual Reality Paint Training System

IAC Adopts Virtual Reality Paint Training System 3

International Aerospace Coatings plans to use virtual reality paint technology for future training programs in partnership with AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings. It will be the first global MRO provider to integrate AkzoNobel’s technology into its day-to-day operations.

The virtual reality (VR) technology—which is mobile and delivered to International Aerospace Coating’s (IAC) European headquarters in Shannon, Ireland—immerses the individual painter in a virtual paint booth, complete with the aircraft part to be coated.

The system can be programmed with various paint parameters, such as the thickness of the coating required, overcoat times and tailored spray gun set-up. 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. Their skills can be measured, including the distance, angle and speed at which the gun is used. It shows where runs and sags occur, as well as where the wet film thickness is not sufficient, or the coverage is inadequate to deliver the desired finish.

By effectively moving the physical spray booth into a VR classroom, IAC believes it can eliminate waste, reduce costs and further improve safety, since no physical products are involved in the process. For instance, the technology eliminates the need to clean spray guns, provide panels for wet paint training or use solvents which release volatile organic compounds. “This is a game changer from a waste perspective, as we will have zero emissions and no waste generated from this program,” says Emmett Moran, IAC’s head of operations.

IAC and AkzoNobel say VR technology will train painters more quickly and conveniently, allowing trainees to make mistakes without incurring high costs for scrap and rework.

John Mulqueen, IAC’s vice president for operations EMEA, says the technology is not only relevant to new trainees, but also an essential way of further upskilling or refreshing existing painters. “For new starters, it provides an immersive learning experience, while for existing staff, it offers opportunities for upskilling and career development,” he says.

In the future, IAC hopes that up to 70% of all new apprentice training can be completed in the classroom, without spilling a single drop of paint. IAC also expects the technology to help it achieve consistent training standards across its global facilities.

“This efficiency not only benefits our training processes but also aligns with our commitment to sustainability by minimizing material usage and waste. Integrating the VR system into our training curriculum marks a significant step forward for our company in terms of safety, efficiency and sustainability,” says Mulqueen.


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