Virtual Paint training getting adopted in wood finishing operations

A virtual-reality based spray finish training system has been adopted by a number of wood manufacturing companies, including KraftMaid Cabinets, which uses VirtualPaint to train employees in more precise manual spray finishing of its DuraKraft Plus finishes for cabinet doors. (See video below.)

The system was demonstrated at the Day of Wood Conference on September 8, a gathering of the largest wood manufacturing firms staged by Purdue Forest Products Laboratory at Vincennes University Technology Innovation & Manufacturing Center.

Developed for the U.S. military by the Iowa Waste Reduction Center at the University of Northern Iowa, the VirtualPaint training system has been picked up aerospace and automotive companies for factory training. The VirtualPaint system is a highly adaptable virtual reality training simulator that mimics a fully customized painting and coating production environment.

Conventional spray heads are outfitted with sensors and hooked to a computer. A sensor tracks the positioning and volume of the virtual spray pattern that trainees are delivering as they stand before a screen on which images of cabinet doors are projected. After a door has been "sprayed," the system shows the pattern, including drips, excess or underspray, and overspray. An instantaneous calculation of overspray shows the percentage that reaches the door.

The VirtualPaint training system allows for continual practice and immediate feedback, while eliminating hazardous air emissions and waste. Developers says it significantly reduces the proper spray application learning curve, and it can be used in hiring skill assessments and re-training evaluations.


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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.