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X-Rite Color-measurement Technology Pays Off In Industrial Applications

Published on 2006-06-26. Author : SpecialChem

Chicago -- When consumers shop for a product - be it a car, camera or computer - one of the first things they notice is color. And if the color looks a little off - if adjacent components don't match perfectly, for instance - no purchase is likely to be made.

"Color influences the perception of overall product quality more so than any other attribute," says Shannon Gary, director of the industrial category for X-Rite Incorporated, which is in the business of helping manufacturers with real time color management 100% in-line. Based in Grandville, Mich., X-Rite makes color-measurement instrumentation and software for various industrial markets, including plastics, automotive, paint and textiles.

In the plastics industry, X-Rite products are used to meet the color-measurement needs of processors, molders, extruders and resin manufacturers. In formulating, the ability to control color permits compounders to hit target colors with a minimum of trial and error. Meanwhile, quality control personnel can verify the color of raw materials, finished parts and assemblies to determine if they conform to specifications.

X-Rite's newest industrial product is VeriColor™ Spectro, an easy to integrate non-contact spectrophotometer that provides in-line color measurement for a variety of manufacturing processes, including plastic injection, extrusion and blow molding.

Introduced at NPE 2006, VeriColor Spectro rounds out a product line that also includes hand-held and bench-top color measurement devices, as well as a full suite of formulation and quality control software.

Accurate Color & Compounding Inc., an Aurora, Ill., maker of custom color concentrates for the plastics industry, uses X-Rite software, as well as a trio of spectrophotometers - a bench-top unit inside the lab and a pair of portable hand-helds.

"X-RiteColor® Master Formulation software makes us much more efficient in the lab, allowing us to achieve color matches and correct production problems much quicker than we could otherwise," says Jason Yelm, the company's vice president of manufacturing. "Plus, the hand-held spectrophotometers are indispensable - one stays here and the other is usually out in the field, collecting data to diagnose problems at customer sites."

X-Rite products allow manufacturers to coordinate color management throughout their global supply chain. In the plastics industry, for instance, pigment suppliers, resin/base suppliers, master batch suppliers and processors can all use the same web-enabled software and color-measurement instruments to ensure consistent color.

Likewise, establishing and maintaining color standards ensures that components manufactured at diverse locations will match precisely, reducing labor and material costs associated with rejects and reruns.

"Color measurement instruments and web enabled software allows everyone in the global supply chain to speak a universal color language," Gary says. "And that enables manufacturers to control color within acceptable tolerances at every step of their production process or supply chain."

One industrial trend X-Rite is addressing is the preference for controlling color quality during production via color-measurement devices that can be installed in-line. Traditionally, manufacturers have checked color by pulling sample parts off the line and testing them in a lab or with a hand-held device. Unfortunately, by the time a problem is spotted, hundreds of off-color parts might need to be scrapped.

"The return on investment in color-measurement technology tends to be impressive," Gary says. "The avoidance of just one production mistake by catching a color mismatch early in the process, can more than pay for a complete X-Rite solution."

About X-Rite:

X-Rite (NASDAQ: XRIT) is a leading provider of color-measurement solutions, offering hardware, software and services for the verification and communication of color data. The company serves a range of industries, including graphic arts; digital imaging; industrial and retail color matching; and medical. X-Rite serves customers in more than 100 countries from its 20 offices in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Source: X-Rite


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