Penn State Intercom......May 24, 2001

Penn College's mobile unit to train
auto-body shops on DEP regulations

PennSTAROver the next four years, a mobile training unit operated by Pennsylvania College of Technology will travel around the state, showing auto-body shops how to comply with new air-quality regulations and boost profits in the bargain.

The Pennsylvania Spray Technique Analysis and Research (PennSTAR) initiative is being sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Protection, which awarded a $500,000 grant to Penn College's Technology Transfer Center to facilitate the on-site training of spray-paint technicians.

DEP's Mobile Equipment Repair and Refinishing regulations took effect in November, requiring all businesses that spray-paint vehicles to use more efficient spray guns and to clean the guns in enclosed containers. Employees of all such facilities in the state will be required to complete 12 hours of training in the proper use of coatings and solvents. The regulations will help reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants, but they provide another benefit, as well.

"The technician training also will help increase paint-transfer efficiency, resulting in less cost for materials and reduced waste," explained Al Thomas, who heads the automotive and auto body departments at Penn College, where he is associate professor of collision repair.

The training, which will be conducted by Penn College faculty from the School of Transportation Technology and the Technology Transfer Center, will demonstrate advanced spray techniques that decrease the amount of paint needed to refinish vehicles. Other aspects of the training will address materials and waste management, proper cleaning of equipment, equipment testing and evaluation, proper handling and transfer, air-quality regulations and certificates and record-keeping.

The mobile unit will perform a variety of on-site tests and document each paint technician's efficiency.

For more information about the program, call (570) 329-0995 or e-mail pennstar@pct.edu. The state Department of Environmental Protection Web site is http://www.dep.state.pa.us/.

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