Spectrophotometers are prominent devices in many industries, and they offer value for many purposes. Calibration curves are one way users employ spectrophotometers. This technique, much like the device, is useful across many applications. At HunterLab, we specialize in spectrophotometers and support operations that create calibration curves.
What Is a Calibration Curve?
A calibration curve is a way to identify the concentration of an unknown substance. These curves use data points of known substances at varying concentrations, and researchers or developers can use these curves to find where an unknown substance plots. A spectrophotometer assists in gathering absorbance for varying concentrations.
This system of identifying unknown substances is valuable to many industries. For example, you may find a calibration curve in coffee production for determining a roast. With a plot of caffeine content, roasters can discover where a bean falls. A calibration curve for the food industry may chart food dye concentrations for gelatin.
Other applications can include:
Simply put, a calibration curve is useful in any situation where a substance is unknown.
What Is a Spectrophotometer and How Is It Used?
Many industries follow regulations to introduce safety and consistency into their practices. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) offers some of these standards for various sectors to verify their processes. Many companies choose to follow these standards to ensure the quality of their product, and with HunterLab spectrophotometers, meeting ASTM standards is within reach.
What Is the American Society for Testing and Materials?
The American Society for Testing and Materials, known as ASTM International, is an organization that publishes production and testing standards for various industries. These standards cover multiple materials, systems and products to encourage consistency and safety among manufacturers.
ASTM International offers training to keep up with their standards and ensure the best performance on the job. From industry-specific continued training to onsite certification programs, ASTM provides plenty of resources to companies who want or need to remain compliant.
Paper was invented in China, where people began writing on sheets of cloth to keep records. From there, a Chinese court official created a pulp using natural materials and let it dry in a thin mat shape. Paper production has changed over the years to become what we know today. At HunterLab, we are dedicated to helping the paper industry meet color standards and best practices for paper production.
Meeting Color Standards for Paper
White paper may seem like a simple color standard to meet, but getting the right white shade can be challenging when we consider surface properties. While there may be a specific white that all paper manufacturers want to achieve, they must factor how light reflects on different surfaces, from low-gloss matte to high-gloss.
Colors have reflected light and absorbed light, and these measurements affect our perception of the color. Reflected light, however, is not an indicator of the actual color, while absorbed light is. For mid-gloss and high-gloss paper, their shiny surfaces offer a lot of reflected light, and it will skew our perception of the color.
To find the right color, paper manufacturers rely on instruments that offer a quantified measurement for color, rather than counting on the human eye. Machines like spectrophotometers can register the light a surface reflects and absorbs to provide a definitive color measurement. With this method, manufacturers can achieve a consistent white paper in all glosses.
Coffee can be the best way to start your morning, but before it gets to your favorite mug, a roaster ensures it has the right color for its roast. Color can be complex and challenging to thoroughly examine with the human eye. With special measuring tools, like a spectrophotometer, roasters can meet color standards in the coffee industry.
Color Standards in Coffee Assessment
Coffee beans start green, and roasting darkens the bean and changes the flavor. This roasting process is why there are light, medium and dark roasts. Bean color is a significant indicator for the kind of roast and the flavor the coffee will have.
When it comes to deciding on the right color for a coffee bean, you need to consider how we see color. Color comes from the amount of light a substance absorbs or reflects, often called optical properties. The color of the light and where a person stands can affect how they perceive color. While the human eye can perceive a series of wavelengths to register color, it can’t see all of them, which may affect color quality.
Color consists of three properties — hue, saturation and brightness. To get accurate measurements of these quantities, coffee roasters can use color measuring instruments. These tools, like spectrophotometers, remove human subjectivity from color and make coffee roasts more definable.
We may not think much about the color of our foods, but this characteristic is valuable to the industry. Color can communicate a food item’s safety, and it can create a safe environment for food production. Meeting color standards in the food industry is possible with the right tools, and at HunterLab, we have the right products for the job.
USDA Color Standards for Food
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) uses color to determine many foods’ safety and health, from produce to frozen french fries. The organization provides color charts for agricultural and food processing operations to compare their products to. A critical part of this process is having the proper equipment, like a spectrophotometer.
Food colors can communicate many characteristics of an item. They can show:
- Temperature variation
- Color content
- pH levels
Devices in various industries must follow device compliance policies, and manufacturers must provide documentation to prove their adherence to these regulations. Understanding what device compliance is and how to record it helps companies improve their products’ quality and safety.
What Is Device Compliance?
Device compliance refers to the state of devices meeting the standards and regulations for the industry. Achieving device compliance is beneficial for:
- Manufacturers: Manufacturers can promote the development and production of quality devices while reducing costs and increasing profits.
- Customers: Customers will be satisfied with the integrity of the product and the competitiveness in the market.
- Organizations: Organizations that use these products — such as a drug manufacturer or hospital — can be confident they will perform as intended.
Different policies exist across industries for device compliance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Companies must adopt these standards for safety and efficacy.
FDA Device Compliance
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects public health by regulating device compliance and conducting other tasks. This entity has many standards and regulations for various industries. For example, it regulates many medical devices such as pacemakers, prosthetics and surgical implants. The FDA also has standards for the equipment in food and dietary supplement processing. Failure to adhere to FDA standards may result in an inspection citation and actions from the FDA to enforce these laws.
Device Compliance Standards for ASTM
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is an organization that develops and publishes technical standards to make procedures safer for various industries. ASTM standards are in place for many systems, products, services and materials. ASTM does not enforce its standards. Companies can adopt the standards that apply to their industry, require ASTM compliance for particular contracts or generate material data sheets that outline ASTM requirements.
Plastic is a widespread medium for various applications, from children’s toys to kitchen tools. Coloring plastics can take on many different forms, and it’s vital to meet industry standards for safety and performance. At HunterLab, our spectrophotometers help plastic manufacturers create ideal color concentrates for their products.
ASTM Color Standards for Plastic
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) provides a series of standards for plastic production. While plastic is easy to mold and ideal for many applications, it’s a synthetic material that may be poorly made or unsafe for use.
ASTM standards provide rules and guidance for plastic production to ensure products last and stay safe throughout their lifespan. The organization’s website offers extensive documentation for you to follow these standards in your operation. Criteria include descriptions like:
- Specifications for materials
- Testing methods
- Production procedures
Color is an essential feature of plastic standards because plastic colorants can affect the quality of the material. Plastic producers use color charts to compare their colors, and the best way to handle this comparison is with color measuring devices. Machines like spectrophotometers quantify color based on the light it absorbs and reflects, so manufacturers can create a match to a color on the chart.
What Are Color Concentrates for Plastics?
Color concentrates are plastic colorants in a pellet or grain that manufacturers form into plastic. Rather than adding a colored layer to the outside of a plastic product, concentrates make up the product.
To create a concentrate, a pigment is mixed with a polymer or carrier resin. For concentrates to work, the polymer must work with the base resin that the concentrate mixes with. The challenging aspect of concentrates is the lack of a universal polymer. Developers must identify the best polymer and base resin for production.