When the color needs to be right, X-Rite Inc.'s equipment helps everyone in the supply chain to see colors the same way, the company says.
The Grand Rapids, Mich., company that digitally measures color is exhibiting its newest spectrophotometers — the Ci7800 master-level instrument and the Ci7600 — at NPE 2015 at Booth S10097.
The company and its subsidiary Pantone LLC have built their business on developing color management systems.
X-Rite started in 1958 when the company started making x-ray marking tape for the medical industry. Murphy Keeley, vice president of marketing and services, said X-Rite has a worldwide presence, doing more than 50 percent of its business outside of the United States.
In the last 10 years, shifts in the supply chain have created more need for precise color systems. He said that as manufacturing in China, Southeast Asia and Latin America has grown, X-Rite has positioned itself to help out.
Keeley said that all sorts of industries take steps to measure color. It's used in printing and imaging as well as with paints and fabrics. It is also used for manufacturing automobiles, furniture and “wherever color is critical.”
Go into a large box store and try to match a paint you used before. Chances are the box stores will use a spectrophometer and color matching software to get the right match. Industry uses them, too.
As an example, Keeley said that a vinyl siding company that he cannot name outfitted all of its extruders with spectrophotometers, and that it was able to reduce waste significantly and improve color consistency. All-in-all, he said it came with a 30-day return on investment.
“It works virtually all across the supply chain,” he said.
If you source car parts around the world, you need the colors to meet the right specifications wherever they are made. You create a standard and many times it is a digital standard,” he said.
Keeley said matching color works best when all the conditions are considered. However, it is not always easy, especially when working across many substrates.
In an automobile interior, for example, the dashboard, seats and knobs typically are made from different materials.
X-Rite's newest machinery can adjust to the supply chain, including those anchored by instruments from other suppliers. The models have advanced auditing capabilities using an on-board camera to provide a visual record of every sample and a detailed audit trail of the settings at the time of measurement. Sensors even record the temperature and humidity. The instruments come with up to five apertures and three automated ultraviolet filters for flexibility across opaque, transparent and translucent materials.