Students at Mid-Del Technology Center will learn how to paint a vehicle before ever picking up a sprayer.
The local career tech is buying a simulated auto painting system that will allow students to learn the fundamentals of auto painting. The tool will provide realistic training while saving on material costs and time, according to Steve Allen, Assistant Superintendent of Mid-Del Technology Center.
“There is a lot of trial and error with auto painting and this virtual simulator will give students a pretty good feel for it,” Allen said. “They can see if they put too much paint in one area how it will run or show if an area is not covered.”
Allen said the new equipment will be used to supplement but not replace traditional training methods. Students will learn the fundamentals of auto painting through the simulator, before using actual painting equipment.
“We have fenders and hoods and we mix paint, but the first time you try it you’ll probably screw it up and waste material costs,” he said.
The simulated auto painting system will be used in the school’s auto collision program. The equipment can be adapted for aircraft painting, something Allen hopes to use in the future.
“There’s an extra module that can show students how to paint aircraft,” he said. “We’d like to add an evening class for aircraft painting. That’s something we could market to Tinker because aircraft painting is kind of a gateway to other areas.”
The school is buying the equipment from Technical Laboratory Systems, Inc. One day of training is included in the purchase. The company is a sole source vendor for all VR SimSpray products in Oklahoma.
The equipment will be purchased with a $37,500 lottery grant from the Oklahoma Department CareerTech Education. Allen expects they school will have the virtual auto painting system soon.
According to the SimSpray website, the motion learned from the simulator is close to the real professional motion. The repetition of the painting motion on the simulator allows the student to be quickly efficient in a real paint booth. It is estimated that a beginner is spending 80 percent less time in the paint booth.