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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