Author: Gabe Draguicevich
Company: NAVAIR FRC-SW
Phone: (619) 545-7740
The Virtual Reality Paint Simulator (VR Paint SIM) system provides a realistic training experience prioritizing hands-on practice and technique development. The system motivates practice through friendly competition as well as increases practice time as a result of reducing part prep, cleaning, and drying times. The student’s technique improves though objective scoring and detailed performance analysis results that identify areas for improvement. By deploying this system and training curriculum at all sites, all painters will be trained the same way across the enterprise and provide solid, predictable results.
Also, there are additional benefits. Using the simulator allows for the training of more students in less time and the sustainability of the classroom training is also improved as a result of the automation.
An ease of administrative burden happens due to the ability to track student progress and cost savings through detailed student reports, integrated curriculums results which include project scoring. This is done through real-time cues for painter’s distance from the part, speed, and travel angle coach students toward proper technique. Students can enter correct equipment settings to prepare the project and are scored on paint transfer efficiency, mil build and correct technique. These scores indicate areas that need improvement and allow students to focus on mastering them.
It is estimated that traditional “on the job” training can cost $16,500 per student. When quality issues are considered as part of the equation, the cost of material waste alone increases to over $300K avg. per year. The simulator accomplishes the task at lower a cost than traditional training.
Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC) recognized the need to quickly train students to become skilled painters. FRC-Southwest (SW) established the first paint training facility which includes two VR SIM units. The new training facility has been adopted by COMFRC to be the standard training system amongst all naval aviation depots and has generated readiness in less than a year of deployment. At the time of this briefing, FRC-East and FRC-Southeast (SE) will have deployed their systems as well.
In closing, a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) is in progress to expand the system’s capability to specifically train our personnel on aircraft simulated models, as well as adding additional features specific to painting at the FRC’s.