True Color Assessment: How to Ensure Compatibility and Inter-Instrument Agreement

Color differentiation, texture-color comparison, and 20/20 vision are all qualities that the perfect human eye uses to classify color. However, objective differentiation of true color measurement is only possible with advanced color measurement instrumentation. Spectrophotometers provide the leading technology for quantifying color using human eye technology, and true color assessment can be used to create quality and consistency in various product industries.

sample book true color assessment
The ability to generate true color measurement is important for product consistency and compatibility. Accurate color measurement is a sign of product quality and leads to consumer satisfaction.
Image Source: Flickr user Edinburgh City of Print

Color is a highly influential component among many products. In foods, plastics, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, consumers use color as a first impression for purchasing choices, but color can also be used to detect impurities and products that may be unsafe for consumption. With today’s technology, the ability to measure true color is no longer optional, but instead has become a necessity for protecting consumers and ensuring product compatibility and sales.

True color technology

In a worldwide marketplace, the ability to communicate true color is more important than ever. Understanding true color technology can help manufacturers quantify color values and reproduce exact color matches from any location around the globe. True color assessment technology relies on these six specific parameters to ensure color measurement repeatability and inter-instrument agreement:

  • Color Scale: Color scales are the language of color measurement. L, a, b – type color scales are commonly used by various industries but can differ based upon which specific type of color scale is required. Specialized color indexes such as Whiteness Index, Yellowness Index, and APHA color scales express color values in relation to specific standards. Each industry is dependent upon its own specific color scale in order to communicate color values effectively, and many regulatory organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATMS) require the use of specific color scale measurements and compatibility.
  • CIE Illuminant: Illumination is another important parameter of true color measurement. Since color perception can vary depending on forms of light, illumination must also be classified.
  • CIE Standard Observer: The International Commission on Illumination (CIE) defined two sets of color-matching functions for use as standard observers. They are similar but not identical, so it is important to know which function is applicable for each intended application.
  • Instrument Geometry: Depending on your instrumentation and the nature of the sample, there are two general geometries for color measurement that are measured in degrees – directional 45°/0° or 0°/45° and diffuse 8°/d or d/8° sphere geometry. Variations geometries provide different views of the sample, which affects the measured values.
  • Sample Preparation: Samples can vary greatly according to the nature of the material and expectations of color measurement data. Preparation of samples can range in opacity, viscosity, and size, as well as liquid and solid form. Containers such as a transmission cell or sample cup should be consistent for true color measurements in order to provide dependable result. Uniformity and repeatability are key factors for true color measurement.
  • Sample Presentation: For optimal true color measurement results, presentation should use the largest optical sample view possible and take an average reading of multiple measurements. This will help to ensure inter-instrument agreement.
plastics roll true color assessment
True color measurement is adaptable for any type of material of sample size and consistency.
Image Source: Flickr user Chris Cecil

The world’s true measure of color

When producing items at different manufacturing plants or sending products around the world, color values and standards matter. Using the same equipment produced by the same manufacturer with the same model number will ensure color compatibility and quality in your products. Ensuring exact color matches is what will help keep clients happy. To meet quality expectation, true color matching is a must and relies on the latest technology and support to guarantee instrumentation is used properly and to its best ability.

car paint samples true color assessment
Relying on the six parameters of color measurement ensures true color compatibility which is essential for industries where color matching is a necessity.
Image source: Flickr user Steven Depolo

At HunterLab we pride ourselves on over 60 years of experience and innovation and work hard to find the cutting edge of technology for every color measurement need. We offer a variety of instruments to meet the diverse requirements of industry standards. Our friendly staff is here to help you determine the best equipment for your all your color measurement needs. Accessible by clients all around the world, HunterLab is committed to true color measurement and stands by our products to warrant the highest level of quality and customer satisfaction. Contact HunterLab today and let us show how the world measures true color.

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