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Painting school

High quality paint finishes can only be achieved by skilled personnel, making training an important part of the process

Two of the leading aerospace paint manufacturers have slightly different approaches to training, although both work closely with customers.


Stefan Jacob, Sales Director Aviation at Mankiewicz, says the company’s main facility in Hamburg has a training centre which operates across the various industrial sectors that it supplies with paint.


Customers often send trainee painters to the centre, or already qualified staff that have just started using the company’s products. The starting point is the technical data sheets for the paints to be used, so they are familiar with topics such as coating properties, viscosity, mixing ratios and mixing procedures, theoretical coverage, shelf life and equipment clean up. The next step, and the main focus, is to work on
repair techniques. 


Stefan Jaschinski, Head of Technical Services at Mankiewicz Germany, explains that these small but intricate jobs are difficult to master, but once this is achieved, the spraying of wider areas is much easier and will have a higher standard of finish. He also points out that a team working on an aircraft in a hangar is essentially on its own. Suited and wearing breathing apparatus, there is little contact with the outside world, so guidance is limited.


After one-hour technical lessons, trainees are given the opportunity to test their new-found knowledge in a practice room. This will contain sample fuselage sections of either 3m² or 5m², made of aluminium or, increasingly, composite materials. Larger panels measuring 7m x 1.5m are used for wider spraying. The task includes surface preparation, application of primer, and the base coat. Additionally, there may be a clear coat to finish. The course will also include the application of stencils and masking. Afterwards, the panels are stripped for reuse.


Alternatively, the company can send a training team to the customer’s facility. Following discussions on the particular needs, an agenda is developed and agreed upon. At the hangar, the trainers will arrange the work with the shift leader and painting team leader. 


Mankiewicz has the most modern technical services department of all the paint companies in Europe and, says Jacobs, it has a very good reputation. As a result, it works closely with paint equipment manufacturers and will often be used for the first trials of a new spray gun. This experience allows the company to offer neutral consultancy services to airlines and MROs when they are setting up a new paint shop. It also holds regular seminars, offering advice on technical skills and efficiency improvement for regular Mankiewicz customers on demand.


The technical services department also has an internal role, working alongside the R&D laboratories (which Jaschinski used to head) when a new product is under development. Their practical experience ensures that it will fully meet the actual conditions that it will encounter in the hangar.  >>

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