Q. I am the manager of manufacturing for a company located in the Seattle, Wash., area that supplies detail parts, primarily to the aerospace industry. One of my responsibilities is the paint line, where we apply water-based paints and primers, as well as urethanes and clear base coat paints. Where can I find a training class for new painters? After we have the paint line foreman show the new painters how to use a spray gun, we have the older painters teach the newer ones the tricks of the trade. As you can imagine, this probably perpetuates bad habits. J.G.
A. It’s a funny thing about industrial painting and painters. It is well known that a product’s appearance is one of its main selling points, and if a product has a poor looking paint job a prospective customer starts looking for other product defects. Yet, in many factories the entry level position is “sweeper” and the first promotion is to “painter.” Furthermore, the paint line is often located in a remote corner of most plants. In the design phase, a product’s finish is usually the last thing considered.
Educating your painters is the right thing to do. There was an excellent article in the February 2011 issue of Products Finishing on that subject. Unfortunately the closest course listed there was at Wichita State University in Kansas.
Paint equipment suppliers often provide at least a rudimentary level of training to painters using their equipment. A little training is better than none! I suggest you contact your painting equipment supplier and inquire whether his company provides structured training courses. Also contact local junior colleges and technical schools for painting courses. Otherwise, you may have to send your new painters out of town.
Another source for information on painting courses can be found by clicking on the link to PF’s events site, pfonline.com/events. Scroll to the bottom for a complete list. As of the date of this writing, one painting equipment supplier’s course is listed.