Color Management: How Investing in Spectrophotometers Today Leads to a More Profitable Tomorrow

When times are tough, cutting corners in color management may seem like the answer to saving those extra dollars, but unfortunately it usually has the opposite effect. Within the past decade, laying off employees  has been a reality for many, as well as pay cuts and salary freezes. As we climb out of this recession hole, we are left with limited resources and outdated technology. Color management and approval is often spread thin  between fewer employees and with new color product development and production growth, meeting production and quality standards becomes a real challenge. If we were to put ourselves under the spectrophotometer today, we may see the color of anxiety shining through as we scramble to meet the color management standards in a competitive global market.

color management of candy
Color technology is essential for quality control in a competitive global market. There is no room for cutting corners.
Image source: Flickr user Amy

Saving Money

Did you know that in the United States, $165 billion of food is wasted each year, often due to failures in color management. Adding in the amount of wasted materials due to color variations in other industries, such as plastics, paints, solvents, and coatings, the loss in revenue continues to grow. When color management is overlooked, many shipments of unsatisfactory materials are often rejected and sent back, contributing even more to the overhead costs. Even if a product does make its way to the consumer without meeting color management standards, product names and companies can soon become known for their lack of quality and buyers may move on to more reliable products.

Quality control and color management go hand in hand. Any time there is an undetected shift in color, it takes valuable time to make the correction. This often results in higher labor costs for reprocessing or once again, materials must be discarded. It soon becomes obvious that an investment in technology that can prevent the errors before they arise, is an investment in profitability as well.

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color management in paint coatings
Color matching of paints and coatings is a vital component in the automotive industry. Any shift in color during processing can cause product rejection.
Image source: Flickr user Sarah Larson

The difference in new technology

When you are dependant on visual analysis or outdated equipment, errors and costs increase. Today’s spectrophotometers provide top-of-the-line technology that can accurately monitor and analyze color differences for color management control. Color matching, batch size variations, and the ability to create a wider ranges of colors with less colorant inventory can all be accomplished with advanced spectrophotometers. New instrumentation technology has nearly eradicated all of the common challenges of color measurement for quality control. Controlling lighting differences and background interference, accommodating for various batch sizes, and the ability to measure a variety of sample forms (i.e. liquid, solids, and powders) have all been addressed in relation to the specific market or need.

color management plastics
Color measurement technology continues to advances and instrumentation is now being designed to meet industry standards and regulations.
Image source: Flickr user Horia Varlan

Spectrophotometers eliminate many of the difficulties associated with visual assessment and color standards and are continually changing not only to meet the expectations of consumers but industry standards and regulations as well. These new standards undergo constant revision and are becoming more and more dependent on the latest technology in colorimetry and spectrophotometers. Newly engineered standards have led to major improvements in color quality control such as the single number shade passing (SNSP) system and total color difference, ΔE.

In addition to these advancements, organizations for quality control such as the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) are continually modifying standards and regulations for color use and technology. Spectrophotometer manufacturers must constantly adapt their products to meet these color measurement standards for numerous food products and environmental regulations in both the chemical and plastics industries.

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Choosing the right instrumentation

Whether it’s foods, paints, coatings, or plastics, color and quality control are a necessity for keeping ahead of the competition. When looking for new or updated instrumentation that meets the growing standards and accurately measures a variety of materials, it is important to choose a company that develops a relationship with their client and the industry. HunterLab is a trusted name in color technology and spectrophotometers with an impeccable record in customer satisfaction and support. HunterLab knows and understands the client and respective market and works hard to meet the changes in a global economy. Contact HunterLab today and let us show you our commitment to the world of color.

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