An international coatings training and research center will be built in Halifax County in Virginia as the American Wood Finishing Institute relocates their corporate headquarters and training center from New Jersey.
The “Center for Coatings and Application Research and Education” will create about 15 jobs thanks to a $1,052,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission to prepare its new quarters and to buy equipment.
But it’s not just wood coatings that will be studied. C-CARE will identify and help commercialize solutions in the surface engineering field as well as train workers in wood, metal, composite and other surface coatings. Spokesmen said the center will study how surfaces can be coated, treated or otherwise finished to provide specific performance, appearance or sustainability characteristics.
With a $621,000 grant from the Southside Economic Development Committee and C-CAM as a partner, Phase II funding totaling $1.46 million will allow C-CARE to acquire the following:
- A robotic hang-line capable of advanced coating technologies to finish metal, plastic, wood, composite and ceramic parts;
- A spray booth that can accommodate large objects;
- Surface preparation equipment that can prepare metal and wood parts prior to coating;
- Other general mechanical and electrical upgrades to the facility;
- A virtual-realist spray training system that is used throughout the industry to train spray operators; and
- Seed funding to start a non-profit entity that will partner with C-CAM, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the Riverstone Energy Center, the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance and other industrial organizations that establishes a national certification body for coating technologies and curriculum resources development for industrial manufacturers.
According to Mike Sexton, Industrial Development Authority of Halifax County executive director, “This project is a unique partnership between the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, University of Virginia, Riverstone Energy Center, the IDA, the private sector and others and represents a significant advancement in training and establishing the region as a hub for new and emerging finishing technology.”