Whether you manufacture plastics, coatings, or textiles, the reality is the same: If you don’t achieve consistent color, your product won’t sell. In fact, at the shelf, most people decide whether they’re going to purchase a product within 90 seconds, and much of that decision is based on color.
We know it can feel overwhelming to make changes to your production workflow, especially if you think it’s “good enough.” But the industry is changing. Brands are demanding more accurate color, faster. To stay competitive, you need to continue moving up the continuum of color control.
Luckily there is a growing range of color tools available to achieve accuracy and consistency. Today we’re sharing what’s available to help you deploy more consistent color in your manufacturing workflow.
We frequently get calls from customers who can’t figure out why their measurements vary, even when they’re using maintained devices. Why would a sample read one way one day, then slightly different another? Many times the culprit is thermochromaticity, and it becomes an even bigger problem as the seasons change.
Every kind of material changes color with temperature. These changes cause the material to exhibit a shift in reflected wavelengths of light, which can alter our perception. Often the color shift is so slight the naked eye would never notice. But if your job is to quality check color critical products, you need to fully understand how thermochromaticity can impact your color, your measurements, and your ability pass inspection.
This thermochromatic ice cream spoon changes from green to blue when it gets cold.
Although plastics professionals have been managing color issues in the production workflow for many years, the dynamics are once again changing. From consumer electronics to automotive parts and flexible packaging, a growing number of brands are incorporating special effect finishes into their products.
While metallics, pearlescents, and other complex finishes are beautiful and help brands stand out on the shelf, they also introduce new color management challenges into the manufacturing process. That’s because the way special effect flakes are aligned, the thickness of the plastic, and the viewing angle all contribute to the final appearance of the product.
How do you quantify the amount of “shimmer” in a special effect plastic?
If special effect finishes are leaving you struggling to find the most efficient way to achieve consistent color AND appearance, here are two solutions to help you stay competitive.
Did you read our blog: Are You Using The Right Tolerancing Method? If not, check it out. Today we’re taking the topic one step further to investigate how tolerances are chosen in different industries.
A pass-fail tolerance is the amount of color variation that is considered commercially acceptable. In part, tolerances are driven by customer expectations. While color tolerances are very tight in the automotive, plastics, and paint & coatings worlds, they can be much less strict in other industries.
You say color is important, but do you know why it’s so important? In reality, color is a critical element in the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are realizing that getting color right is much harder than it used to be, and the brands they support are asking them to meet tighter tolerances.
While advances in color technology – think metallic packaging, pearlescent finishes, custom fabrics and vibrant new colors – entice customers, they also make it much more difficult to achieve consistency.
As we close out 2016, it’s time to look ahead to 2017 and the upcoming manufacturing trends that will influence how we do business in the New Year. With rapidly changing technology, it’s difficult to know exactly what’s coming next, but we can definitely make some predictions.
Over the past year, I have interviewed many customers across a variety of manufacturing industries to learn more about their industry concerns, the design and manufacturing challenges they face, and the technologies that excite them. As I look into my crystal ball for 2017, here are some manufacturing and business trends to follow over the next 12-18 months.
K 2016 begins today in Düsseldorf and runs through October 26th. As the #1 trade fair for the plastics and rubber industries, it’s a huge event featuring industry news, product demos, and networking.
We’ll be in Hall 8b / Stand H65 showcasing our end-to-end X-Rite Pantone workflow solutions to help rubber manufacturers, compounders, masterbatchers, and converters get consistent color in a plastics workflow. Don’t miss your chance to speak with our color experts! (Here’s the best way to request a demo.)
From the North Entrance, simply turn left, head down the escalators, and Hall 8b will be on your right. We’ll be in Stand H65, waiting to meet you!
Whether you’ll be at K 2016 in person or staying abreast via social media, today’s blog is dedicated to showing how a complete X-Rite Pantone solution, including the ability to digitally communicate color based on spectral values, makes it faster, easier, and less expensive to more consistently manage color in your plastics workflow.
X-Rite’s inline color measurement solutions help industries manage color as the product is being made. Inline systems monitor products as they are produced and alert operators as soon as color begins to move out-of-spec so corrections can be made before the product is wasted.
The TeleFlash445 spectrophotometer mounted on a traversing beam is automatically measuring the left, middle and right side of this sheet during production.
Each X-Rite inline color measurement system uses a non-contact spectrophotometer and ESWin software. Depending on the application and needs, a system may include a moving frame or robotic arm to position the spectro. Although they work as standalone units, X-Rite’s inline solutions can communicate with process control systems to provide color measurement data, or dye pump controls for real time Closed Loop Color Corrections. A system may also receive signals about events such as reel/sheet changes, machine stops or meter counts. Networked data allows you to share color standards and measurements among systems and at different locations.
Today we’ll look at how industries such as paper, textiles, plastics, glass and automotive are using X-Rite’s inline measurement solutions.
Win an iPad!
NPE 2015, The International Plastics Showcase, will be held in Orlando, Florida from March 23 through the 27th. It’s a great opportunity to learn about current trends and see live demonstrations of the latest technologies from every sector of the plastics industry. With more than 400 exhibits, it’s expected to be the biggest plastics showcase ever and a great chance to get up-close and personal with product experts in your field.
X-Rite and Pantone are thrilled to once again be part of the show. You’ll find us in the South Hall – X-Rite will be in Booth S10097, and Pantone in Booth S38036. You will also have a chance to win an Apple iPad. We are providing Pantone tags in both booths, and when you get a demo from both Pantone and X-Rite, you will be entered in the drawing.
You can also take advantage of our free guest passes for admission and shuttle service between the convention center and the host hotel.
No other company manages the color supply chain from inspiration to production with the tools and resources to drive consistent color during production. We know you will be pleased with what you see.