Paint Technician Job Description - Skills, Duties and Career
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What Does a Paint Technician Do?
A paint technician is an expert on paints, varnishes, enamels, resins and other coatings. Paint technicians have a knowledge of paint and varnish types (i.e. solvent-based, water-based, powder-based), properties (colour, brightness, sheen, adhesion, durability, resistance to wear, corrosion and chemical agents and drying times and temperatures), application methods (brush, spray, immersion, electrophoresis) and tools and equipment (brushes, rollers, airbrushes, dryer lamps and drying ovens).
The work of a paint technician begins with the preparation of the item to be painted. This may involve dismantling and washing/cleaning the item, protecting any parts that do not require painting and preparing all surfaces (e.g. by polishing, scraping, sanding, brushing etc.). The paint technician then prepares all the necessary materials, mixes the paints, gets the tools ready and finally carries out the painting, applying the required number of coats. This is followed by drying, finishing and quality control of the finished item.
If working with automatic machinery, the paint technician is responsible for choosing the settings, positioning the item, mixing the paint and loading it into the machine, starting the painting operation and monitoring the process. The paint technician
checks the quality of the finished final product and carries out any finishing and/or manual decoration work. Finally, the paint technician also carries out maintenance work.
Paint technicians are usually employed as part of a team on a production line. The large majority of job vacancies for paint technicians come from mechanical engineering companies, such as manufacturers of cars, motorbikes and other vehicles (vehicle paint technicians), companies operating in the shipbuilding sector (marine painters), furniture manufacturers (furniture painters), businesses involved in the timber sector (wood painters), building firms, and glass and plastics companies.
The working hours of a paint technician generally depend on production requirements and may include evening and night-time shifts. As industrial painting and coating involves the use of chemical substances, stringent protection measures are usually in place, with work areas sealed off and containing machines designed to filter and remove the volatile organic compounds produced by the painting process from the air.
Paint Technician - Duties and Responsibilities
The main duties of a paint technician include:
- Examining surfaces to be treated
- Preparing surfaces to be painted
- Applying preparatory treatments to surfaces
- Preparing and mixing paints and any other substances to be applied
- Applying paints and any decorative elements
- Checking the finished item
- Performing maintenance on tools, equipment and machinery
How to Become a Paint Technician - Education, Training and Requirements
Professional training courses are the quickest route to becoming a paint technician. Paint technicians require some limited knowledge of mechanics to allow them to understand how the machinery and the equipment they use works, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the characteristics of the materials being worked on and their reactions to various types of treatment. Equally important when determining which treatments to apply, the mixes to be used and the finishings that are required is an in-depth knowledge of paints, varnishes and other coatings and their properties and characteristics,
The practical skills required by a paint technician are usually learnt on the job, often during an apprenticeship or period of training under the supervision of a more senior colleague. The training aspect is particularly important where the job involves a significant proportion of manual work, such as decoration and finishing, requiring a high level of manual dexterity. As the work is done in close contact with chemical substances of varying levels of toxicity (paints, enamels, solvents, diluents, particulates etc), paint technicians also need to be familiar and comply with regulations concerning workplace safety and the use of personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, protective glasses, overalls) as well as legislation regarding the disposal of production waste.
Skills and Qualifications
Paint Technicians need to have the following skills:
- Ability to use painting machinery and equipment
- In-depth knowledge of characteristics of paints and materials
- Familiarity with workplace safety regulations
- Professionalism and attention to detail
- Ability to work on own initiative
Paint Technician Career Path
The career of a paint technician may begin with a period of apprenticeship or training, in which the newly hired worker is mentored by a more senior colleague. As they gain in skills and experience, paint technicians may later be assigned responsibility for a team, progressing from there to the position of shift manager and subsequently to department manager and painting manager.
Top Reasons to Work as a Paint Technician
The job of paint technician is a practical occupation, offering the appeal of being able to immediately admire the tangible results of one’s efforts, which can be a source of great personal and professional pride. Also attractive is the opportunity to make use of one’s manual skills to correct defects caused by production errors (such as incorrect preparation of the support structure or insufficient / excessive drying time) and to ensure that the finished product is always of the highest quality.
Finally, with safety equipment and procedures becoming increasingly effective and reducing the risks associated with the use of chemical substances in the workplace, the job is safer than is commonly thought.