Roofing granules require rigorous analysis to determine the final color and appearance of the product. Continual monitoring of pigmentation throughout production and stability testing ensure consistent product appearance and longevity. However, roofing granules present a number of challenges to the color measurement process due to their textured, non-uniform nature, compromising efficiency and accuracy of analysis. Today, however, advances in spectrophotometric technology has allowed for the creation of instruments that address these challenges. HunterLab’s new SMART technology incorporates a number of recent innovations to simplify the measurement of textured, non-uniform materials like roofing granules, reduce sample preparation time, increase efficiency of analysis, and improve accuracy of results.
The Challenges of Analyzing Roofing Granules
Creating aesthetically pleasing and consistently colored roofing granules depends on just the right blend of stone particles and pigment coating. The selection of pigments will determine the final color of the product and must be carefully formulated to achieve the desired results.1 Color consistency is crucial during these processes since roofing materials must have a cohesive appearance to uphold the desired look and design of the product. As such, color quality and color matching play a critical role in product development and require objective color measurement to ensure materials meet quality control standards.
Spectrophotometers allow for the quantification of color to accurately develop formulations that are consistent with final color results. Unfortunately, many spectrophotometers are not capable of accurately measuring the color of textured, non-uniform samples or require extensive sample preparation for measurement. Typically, roofing granules are measured in their coated form by placing the sample in a clear glass or plastic dish, and measurements are taken through the dish. Correct analysis demands that the dish must be clean and free of scratches, as any surface imperfects may compromise results. Operators must take special care to inspect and clean dishes, a time-consuming process and opens up the possibility of user inconsistency. Alternatively, roofing granules may be measured with a port-down spectrophotometer that requires that the sample is smoothed over the top for consistent sample presentation. The distance from the sample to the instrument measurement port also needs to be consistent and may require manual adjustments. This adds significant time to the quality control process, and each additional step augments the risk of user error.
Additionally, materials such as roofing granules should not be analyzed through a single measurement, as any one particular area may not be representative of the sample as a whole. Instead, multiple measurements are taken to create a sample average that better reflects the overall color of the sample and batch. With most traditional spectrophotometers, this involves analyzing multiple small samples, with multiple measurements per sample. Taking multiple measurements in this way is a time-consuming process that, again, heightens vulnerability to operator mistakes.
How SMART Technology Enhances Color Measurement
The Aeros is a non-contact instrument, which means it can measure roofing granules in their whole form without being covered by a dish. As such, operators do not have to be concerned about compromised sample dishes or spend time caring for dishes. Instead, granules are simply poured into a sample holder on a 7” platform, providing the largest sample area view in the world. The SMART sensor technology automatically adjusts to the correct height for the most accurate results, taking into account the texture of the sample and eliminating the need for manual height measurement. The sample platform then rotates in order to automatically capture 35 measurements within 5 seconds, covering a full 27.5 inches of material. This state-of-the-art technology provides a full surface reading at each press of the button, eliminating the need to manually prepare and measure multiple samples and providing the most accurate color data possible.
However, the advantages of the Aeros are not limited to the mechanics of the measurement process itself. Color and stability are two of the most important qualities in granular roofing products, and the ability to create consistent color results and match existing design elements are vital to ensuring customer expectations are met. Developing color standards and quality control parameters is, therefore, necessary to guarantee that product specifications are met from batch-to-batch and that these specifications are communicated between processing plants. The Aeros makes this possible via EasyMatch Essentials, HunterLab’s exclusive onboard color quality control software. EasyMatch Essentials allows you to capture, analyze, and share data in ways that make sense for you. With the software, color measurement is simplified, color parameters can be rapidly set to meet specific design needs, and color data can be easily shared within organizations and across manufacturing sites. The insight made possible by EasyMatch Essentials gives you the ability to use color information to its full potential.
The Support You Need to Make the Most of Your Product
At HunterLab, we offer continual product support to ensure that our spectrophotometers are utilized to their full potential. As such, the Aeros features an advanced SMART communication system that is integrated into the machine with Remote Access Support to help maximize instrument performance and improve user-friendliness. Our support specialists can communicate directly with you and your instrument via a secure remote connection. Whether you have an immediate technical concern or need help understanding all of your instrument’s features, HunterLab is committed to helping you make the most of your investment.
Are you looking for a better way to measure the color of your roofing granules? HunterLab may have the solution. The Aeros is ideally suited for analysis of a full range of granule-based roofing products, from raw materials to advanced coatings to finished product. Contact us to learn more about the innovative features of the Aeros and how it can improve the efficiency and accuracy of your color quality control process.
- “Usefulness and Qualifications of Roofing Granules”, https://www.casma.ca/usefulness-and-qualifications-of-roofing-granules/#.W0jNhxZlCEc ↩
Mr. Philips has spent the last 30 years in product development and management, technical sales, marketing, and business development in several industries. Today, he is the global market development manager for HunterLab, focused on understanding customer needs, providing appropriate solutions and education, and helping to solve customer color challenges across these industries and cultures.