Collision repair instructor John Euloth (right) and student Chelsea Carpentier watch as Jonathan Raganowski touches up the paint on a truck in the new spray booth.

Collision repair instructor John Euloth (right) and student Chelsea Carpentier watch as Jonathan Raganowski touches up the paint on a truck in the new spray booth.

College students welcome painting booth

The $170,000 Col-Met spray booth is one of the first pieces of equipment to be installed

A newly installed automotive spray booth for Okanagan College’s collision repair program is reducing carbon emissions while providing students with training on the latest technology.

The $170,000 Col-Met spray booth is one of the first pieces of equipment to be installed as part of the phase one funding of the $33-million renovation and expansion of the trades building at the Kelowna campus.

“It’s state of the art, what the students are experiencing here,” said John Euloth, collision repair instructor.

“Students are now working with the same type of equipment that they are going to experience in a collision shop, and in some cases they’re going to be ahead of the curve. A lot of shops don’t even have some of the features this unit offers, such as the pulse air drying system for lower VOC water-based basecoats.”

The new unit is larger than what was previously used, which means students can now refinish trucks. It also features a baking system where temperatures reach 60, resulting in a significantly harder finish with both primers and paints.

A number of improvements have also resulted in a reduction in fuel and emissions with such features as a side draft exhaust that virtually eliminates overspray and various other improvements that reduce drying time.

“The whole process is much more streamlined,” said Euloth.

“The speed of putting cars through has quadrupled so we’re now able to do between four and five repairs, where we used to only be able to do one or two. This means our students are able to get more experience in the same amount of time.”