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Capsule and Pill Color Measurement

Color is the most fundamental part of a drug's personality with the unique ability to create emotional appeal, communicate functional values and benefits and distinguish one brand from another. Today's gel caps boast over 80,000 color combinations, and continuous advancements in technology consistently bring new and colorful coating products to market. HunterLab understands the Pharmaceutical Market's need for precise color measurement of tablets, caplets and capsules and has been providing color measurement solutions for the pharmaceutical industry for over 60 years. Many of the world's leading pharmaceutical manufacturers rely on HunterLab solutions to ensure the quality and consistency of their products that their customers expect.


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    Tablets, capsules and caplets come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors. They can be opaque, translucent and transparent.  Accurate color measurement requires not only the right instrument, but the right sample holders for accurate and consistent sample presentation. HunterLab provides a wide selection of sample holders and can customize for your specific application. The preferred instrument type will largely depend on the sample type:

    Opaque Samples are impenetrable by light and are best measured using a Directional 45°/0° reflectance instrument. This is the geometry that most closely matches how the human eye 'sees' color.

    Translucent Samples allow light to pass through, but only diffusely, so that objects on the other side cannot be clearly distinguished. Both reflective and transmittance measurement modes may work well depending on the translucency of the sample. As a rule of thumb,

    • - If at the path length that your customer will view the sample, you can see slight details of your thumb or finger through the plaque, then transmittance is the preferred measurement method.

    • - If you cannot see slight details, then reflectance is preferred.

    Path length is defined as the thickness of the sample from where the light enters to where it exits the sample.

    Transparent Samples allow light to pass through with little or no interruption or distortion so that objects on the other side can be clearly seen. These plaques can only be measured using transmission instrumentation.