Spectrophotometers are instruments that measure color. Manufacturers use them in every industry where accurate color is important, from paint and plastics to textiles, packaging, and even food. The data captured by spectros allow designers, brand owners, manufacturers, and quality control professionals to precisely communicate color and ensure it stays accurate throughout production.
Sometimes I’m asked which color is the hardest to measure and control. Can you guess what it is?
Walking through the streets of Los Angeles, it’s no secret that graffiti is a huge problem. According to LA Weekly, graffiti-removal requests have increased by 64 percent in the last five years. City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana says that by June the Board of Public Works had already recorded 141,000 requests for the 2015-16 fiscal year, compared to 86,000 in 2010-11.
Image courtesy of http://typo-graphical.com/
Graffiti a big problem that is continuing to grow, but color measurement solutions from X-Rite are helping.
As the range of substrates, inks, and printing technologies has expanded, so has the challenge of maintaining color quality. A workflow based on digital standards is the easiest way to achieve accuracy and consistency across shifts and sites, regardless of production requirements. Adding a quality control solution like ColorCert® to your workflow can boost your bottom line even more.
ColorCert provides specific modules focused on each part of the workflow, helping flexo, gravure, and offset printers remove subjectivity, analyze data, and deliver increased productivity for the packaging industry.
Today we’re highlighting how ColorCert is helping UK-based Ultimate Packaging create a more efficient ink kitchen, improve premedia, produce fewer proofs, enhance customer relationships, and achieve an amazing 200% improvement in quality.
There’s been a lot of research around the role color plays in how we expect food to taste. The fact is, we judge flavor by the color of the food or drink, even before the first taste. We expect red foods to taste sweet like strawberries or cherries. White should taste like vanilla, and green is probably limey and tart or minty. Color cues can even determine whether we take that first bite. On the wrong food, like mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie, most of us won’t try green at all!
In the heat of summer – when a sweet, refreshing treat is all that’s on your mind – would you buy a brand of ice cream if the cartons on the shelf are off-color? The Algida ice cream factory in Corlu, northwestern Turkey, knows the likely answer is no. That’s why they came to us for help tightening their process control, so that each batch not only tastes great, but has uniform color.
As you can imagine, the color of ice cream – or any food for that matter – is not the easiest thing to measure. Here are the top four things manufacturers must consider when measuring food, and how X-Rite solutions can help.
Tim Mouw is our Manager of Applications Engineering & Technical Support for the Americas. Tim is so knowledgeable about the impact of color in many industries, and his stories always intrigue us.
Tim has authored many X-Rite Pantone blogs, including:
What is metamerism, and why should you care?
Effective ways to measure reflective surfaces
What’s sabotaging your sustainability efforts?
5 color evaluation pitfalls to avoid
Why is controlling color so hard?
We recently sat down with him to learn more about his background in color and his insights about helping our customers control it.
Whether it’s using Munsell Color Standards or one of our many color measurement devices, X-Rite helps manufacturers around the world achieve accurate color. We talked to our support team to learn about some of the most interesting ways people have used our equipment to measure and control color. From archeologists to fur traders and gastroenterologists, here are a few of our favorites.
In 2014, the city of Los Angeles used one of our handheld spectrophotometers to help remove more than 37 million square feet of graffiti. Instead of chipping a paint sample to take to the paint supplier or warehouse, contractors measured the color of the background and used the color data to mix the perfect color to repaint the surface.
For many of us, fun in the sun can lead to a summertime tan. The science behind this sun + skin interaction is melanin, a skin pigment our body releases to block the UV rays found in sunlight. The more time we spend in the sun, the more melanin is released, and the darker (or more freckled) our skin becomes.
This shift in skin tone doesn’t matter for most people, but for prosthetic wearers even a slight change can be a big deal. Here’s how Royal Preston hospital in the United Kingdom is using color management to ensure their patients’ prosthetics match, regardless of the color of their skin.
Can you see this man’s facial prosthesis? The color is so perfectly matched that it looks completely natural.
If so, we’d like you to know there’s an easier way.
An upgrade from the original IntelliTrax, IntelliTrax2 is an automated, non-contact scanning system that makes it easy for busy pressrooms to measure color bars and press sheets without the risk of human error. Adding press-side quality control into your color workflow can shorten your makeready, reduce waste, and help you get to optimum color quality fast.
IntelliTrax2 is an ideal color management solution for high-end, high-speed commercial printing and converting operations. Here’s why.
drupa 2016 was such a success! It’s not often we get to spend so much time talking one-on-one with our customers from around the world, and we enjoyed every minute!
We met so many wonderful people and learned so many things. Although it’s hard to pick, here are a few of our favorite experiences from drupa 2016.
When visually evaluating color, everyone accepts or rejects color matches based on their color perception skills. In manufacturing, this subjectivity can lead to confusion and frustration between customers, suppliers, vendors, production, and management.
Are these acceptable color differences?
This is why color measurement devices are important in so many industries. By measuring colors using a spectrophotometer, you can communicate and compare spectral data for exact results.
To aid in color decisions, color acceptability limits called tolerances can be set as guidelines for how much perceived color difference is acceptable. Tolerances are used to control color, ensure consistency within a production run, and to minimize lot-to-lot variability. But even when using spectral data and tolerances to quantify color, customers and suppliers still find themselves disagreeing.
Why does this happen?
Through the years, different numerical ordering systems have been developed. If customer and supplier are using different ones, the tolerance – and acceptable color – will be different. Today we’ll look at the most common tolerancing methods so you can be prepared, no matter which method you are expected to use.