AkzoNobel Aerospace Unveils VR Training System


At the National Business Aviation Association event next month, AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings plans to launch a new virtual reality training for painting aircraft. According to the release, the technology can mimic a customer’s production environment and multiple coating systems to train teams virtually and in a more sustainable and efficient way.

The VR-based system was developed by technology specialists Virtual Paint Products. It has also been successfully trialed at the company’s training center in Troy, Michigan.

Several portable units have since reportedly been designed for use at a customer’s own premises.

About the VR System

AkzoNobel reports that the VR headset immerses the trainee in a virtual paint booth, with access to aircraft parts or larger-scale assemblies to the production floor itself. The system can then be programed with various paint specifications, such as the thickness of the coating required.

As the operator uses the virtual spray gun, they can reportedly see whether too much or too little paint is used and look for inconsistencies in the way the coating is being applied. 

“The training is not only useful for onboarding new apprentices, but it is also great for teaching advanced skills to more experienced operators. They can practice spraying more challenging parts with rivets, awkward corners, and curves, and in a moving production line,” said Jeremiah Treloar, Chief Executive of Virtual Paint Products.

“It effectively enables the painter to ‘walk’ the part before spraying wet material on it, and in doing so, it helps reduce the likelihood of defects. It also helps experienced painters to teach new painters techniques on difficult parts or assemblies.

“If an apprentice or experienced trainee is struggling to understand how to improve their technique, the coach can replay a video of the session and talk them through it. Additional training tools and videos incorporated into the system also improve the training quality and, ultimately, the quality of the workforce. Trainees using the system are fully certified to aircraft industry standards.”

Through the training, the operator’s core skills, such as setting up the spraying session to the distance, angle, and speed at which the gun is used, are being measured. 

Through the training, the operator’s core skills, such as setting up the spraying session to the distance, angle, and speed at which the gun is used, are being measured. The feedback is reportedly immediate, allowing trainings to react quickly and change their technique.

The program 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. Common paint problems such as paint overlap can also be seen.

Matthew Amick, Global Technical Services Manager at AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings added that the integration of VR into its training regime is an exciting development.

“It reflects the organization’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and partnerships,” he said, “supporting our customers with meaningful, practical help.

“Typically, when a customer asks for training, we have to provide significant quantities of paint, much of which is wasted. By effectively moving the spray booth into the classroom, we completely eliminate waste, reduce costs and unnecessary shipping, and prevent Volatile Organic Compounds from being released.

“There are also no costs associated with cleaning the spray guns, or the additional VOCs releases from the solvents required, or in providing the panels needed for wet paint training.  It’s a ‘win win’ for all involved.”

The 2022 NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition will run from Oct. 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. At the event, AkzoNobel will exhibit the technology and invite customers to test the system for themselves on stand 3557.


Tagged categories: Aerospace; aircraft; AkzoNobel; Asia Pacific; Coating Application; Coatings; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Paint application; Paint application equipment; Program/Project Management; Technology; Worker training; Z-Continents

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