Fort McCoy News February 13, 2015

New IMMA curing booth to speed painting process

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

A new paint-curing booth at the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA) in building 200 will enhance the activity's vehicle and equipment painting process.

photo for curing booth
Jerry King of King Electric, Heating and Air Conditioning of Stoughton, Wis., works on the installation of equipment in a new $425,000 paint curing booth for the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity in building 200.

IMMA provides materiel maintenance support to all Fort McCoy base operations, reserve-component training units and tenant activities. This support includes regularly painting vehicles and equipment, said IMMA Maintenance Division Chief Jeff Wessels.

The $425,000 project was awarded to Platt Construction of Tomah, Wis. Demolition work began in October 2014; booth construction began in late-November.

King Electric, Heating and Air Conditioning of Stoughton, Wis., is supporting the installation of the booth. Company owner Jerry King said the project will provide state-of-the-art paint-curing technology.

"When in operation, this booth will reach approximately 160 degrees," King said. "It has many heaters, and with air circulation, will make curing paint go quickly."

The current IMMA paint-curing process takes three days, said IMMA Production Control Supervisor Eric Fox. Curing a paint finish means bringing it to its intended degree of hardness and luster.

"Right now, after painting a piece of equipment, it will stay in the paint booth for 24 hours to dry," Fox said. "After that, we move the vehicle to a tent where the paint will cure for another 48 hours."

When the new booth is fully operational, paint-curing time will be reduced to just three hours.

"This booth will expand our capability and throughput significantly for painting operations," Wessels said. "We also use water-dispersible, chemical agent-resistant coatings (water-based paints) that will cure faster in this booth. Overall, it will reduce the possibility of a backlog being created when there are a large number of items to be painted."

Fox added, "We should be able to at least double our capacity immediately."

The booth is one of the largest available, Fox said. Together with the paint booth, IMMA's painting operations also should be able to accommodate nearly every piece of equipment in the Army inventory. "You can fit the largest wheel and track vehicles in there," he said.

Wessels said with the increased capability, more high-quantity equipment painting projects may be on the horizon that are similar to what Fort McCoy has had in the past.

"If there are reset projects at the national level for vehicles and equipment, the Army can look at our facility and see we have this great capability," Wessels said.

The curing booth investment also should save energy and be more environmentally friendly.

The booth features a catalytic infrared and re-circulated air oven system that provides for accelerated paint curing, which uses 30 percent less energy compared to traditional curing processes. Also, the catalytic systems operation is by chemical reaction with no flame, which eliminates the release of mono-nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.

For more information about IMMA operations, call 608-388-7640.