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Ike Initiates Improved Shipyard Painting Technique

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS131209-06
Release Date: 12/9/2013 2:45:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Haynes, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) began work on a new 'wet painting' technique, Dec. 4, that is designed to change the way industrial painting is done on all aircraft carriers throughout the Navy.

Sailors from Ike's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department's (AIMD) Light Industrial Facilities (LIFAC) division repainted several ammunition drip pans from the ship's weapons magazines to demonstrate the technique's potential to save the Navy both time and money.

Powder coat painting, the most common technique used to paint multiple components at the shipyard level, consists of electrostatically charged powder being applied to a surface. After the powder is applied, the component is baked in an industrial oven. Lt. Michael Floyd, AIMD's IM-2 division officer and LIFAC coordinator, said this process can sometimes result in delays and higher costs.

'In the past, painters used powder coating for these, but it wasn't very effective,' Floyd said. 'Now we have the capability and the resources to do the job ourselves and to do it more efficiently.'

The new process begins when the drip pans arrive at the LIFAC headquarters on Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

'There, we sandblast each piece, removing any paint and corrosion,' said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Josh Hinson, LIFAC's leading petty officer. 'We then make any necessary repairs before moving over to the spray painting booth.'

Once the painters inspect the drip pans one more time, they apply green primer before spraying on a coat of special anti-sweat paint.

While the process is run almost entirely by Sailors, civilians remain instrumental to getting the job done.

'We've been getting some good training from the shipyard workers that we can use the entire time we are here,' said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Dominique Fletcher, LIFAC's powder coating supervisor. 'It would be a lot harder to do this without them.'

The training the LIFAC Sailors receive extends beyond DPIA.

'For us, it expands our capabilities and gives everyone some additional training on different painting applications,' Floyd said. 'We are normally used to painting airplane parts, now we are moving on to bigger things.'

Hinson said the shipyard workers also benefit from Sailors taking over some of the painting responsibilities.

'Now that we are able to do the painting on our own, we don't have to pull shipyard workers from other important jobs that are being done,' Hinson said. 'We can paint on our own time and have our parts back instantly.'

Floyd said the Navy has plans for the new wet painting program beyond Ike and Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

'[Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic], [Naval Sea Systems Command] and the shipyards are coming together to come up with a more permanent plan,' Floyd said. 'Hopefully this can be an ongoing thing. We are planning on working with the Truman and setting up for them to the do the same thing. We've already passed to them the entire process, from checking the materials out to getting the proper training.'

Fletcher said being a part of this groundbreaking program is the most satisfying part of the shipyard experience.

'I think it is awesome to know that what we are doing here contributes to making Ike ready to get back out there again,' Fletcher said.

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