Canadian Plastics

Tips for good color measurement

"Basically, care and attention to a few details will ensure that organizations get the instruments they need to manage color across their suppliers, their production process, and their customers", say...

July 1, 1999   Canadian Plastics



“Basically, care and attention to a few details will ensure that organizations get the instruments they need to manage color across their suppliers, their production process, and their customers”, says Mike Gogoel,

vice-president and general manager at BYK-Gardner. Gogoel recommends :

Make sure that the instrumentation operates intuitively.

Employees don’t necessarily stay with a company for life, and training costs can become significant over an instrument lifetime.

Test instruments for repeatability.

Look for colorimeters and spectrophotometers that offer close tolerance repeatability, which is the ability of an instrument to measure color across multiple samples. Look for repeatability within the low

hundredths of delta E* difference.

Ensure instruments have sufficient measurement area.

According to Gogoel, dispersion affects precision color measurements more than some might realize. When your colorimeter only offers a small measurement area, inaccuracies can happen. Make sure that instrumentation offers a measurement area sufficient for the products being tested.

Look for instruments that can perform rapid, successive measurements.

Even when measurement area is carefully considered, occasionally larger samples must be tested.

In these situations, a device that can perform a rapid series of sample measurements will greatly

reduce time and cost.

Ensure that measurement equipment has on-board statistical capabilities.

Rapid measuring devices should provide statistical capabilities on board the device, such as average, standard deviation, and other statistics calculations. This allows the multiple measurements taken of a large sample to be averaged quickly to obtain an overall useful measurement of color.

Think about the software you’ll use with the instruments.

“The computer is a great tool for handling the data generated by color control and management,”

Gogoel remarks, “but not every instrument provides an easy method to get its data into the software

you use. Sticking with common formats, like Excel, makes both dealing with color data far more

simple internally, where employees are already trained, and externally when exchanging data

with customers and suppliers.”


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