Finishing Expertise from A to Z: AWFI Event
October 31, 2012 | 10:43 am CDT

Finishing Expertise from A to Z: AWFI EventThis week I’m taking a break from 3D laminating to cover an exciting development in the world of wood finishing that I had the pleasure of attending.

On Monday, Oct. 22, AWFI (formerly the American Wood Finishing Institute) held the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening ceremony for its new lab at Riverstone and the National Center for Coatings, Applications, Research, and Education (C-Care). Located in South Boston, VA, this new state-of-the-art facility houses the latest in coatings systems, technology and tools, and will be used throughout the year for application training, consulting, and process engineering.

Monday’s event also kicked off a week-long symposium on the “U.S. Renaissance in Advanced Manufacturing.” The first annual Technology & Training Symposium provided coatings personnel from wood products manufacturers across the country with expert knowledge to advance applications performance. This comprehensive finishing technology event included eight instructors conducting seminars, clinics, and open labs on topics such as:

• Multi-Step Finishing
• Process Control
• Sanding & Surface Preparation
• Flat-line Operation & Setup
• Electrostatic Spray
• Color Matching
• Robotics Process
• Record Keeping
• Two Component Electronic Mixing
• UV Curing
• Powder Coating
• Spray Operator Training
• Troubleshooting
• Compliance

AWFI relocated from Vineland, NJ, to South Boston with the help of the Virginia Tobacco Commission as well as the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority. A Tobacco Commission grant allowed AWFI to design and implement the coatings lab. Founder Phil Stevenson and Director of Business Development Kenny Stevenson now operate the lab.

Phil believes the new lab will be a solution for industry personnel interested in performing real world application R&D as well as small production runs. “Manufacturers now have an opportunity to test finishing equipment and material in a testing environment before purchasing equipment for their own lab. The lab is equipped with a variety of application equipment such as flatline, hang-line, and a 24-ft x 24-ft spray booth. Our goal is to open up the doors to the coatings industry and give them the resources they need to reach their finishing goals. This can be accomplished by training finishing room crews or developing SOP’s for finishing projects.”

Though I only spent two days at the event, I was thoroughly impressed by how well equipped the facility is and by the quality of training attendees were receiving. To learn more take a look at the Event Highlights.


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Bill Formella | Technical Applications

Bill Formella is a 25 year veteran in the 3D laminating industry with extensive involvement in every facet including machinery, materials, supplies, as well as training and technical support.  Bill is the Technical Applications specialist for Smartech International and writes the Tech|Tips - 3DL blog, a free service provided by Smartech for the benefit of the entire 3D Lamination industry. Bill is also the owner and moderator of the LinkedIn group Membrane Pressing & 3D Laminating Design. Follow him via twitter @formellacsi and @smartechint.