Harmonizing Color throughout the Supply Chain

Harmonizing Color throughout the Supply Chain How to Maximize Inter-Instrument Agreement to Meet Standards More Efficiently and Produce a Consistent Looking Final Product

When there are multiple plants, production lines, or suppliers involved in manufacturing a product, it can often be challenging to produce a consistent looking final product through an efficient process. This is even more challenging when different color measurement instrument models are used, potentially leading to inconsistencies and the inability to meet manufacturer specifications during quality inspections. Because of this greater risk for rework, waste, and rejects, using the same instrument model internally and throughout the supply chain is recommended.

Maximizing Inter-Instrument Agreement for Color Consistency

Defined in each instrument's specifications, the inter-instrument agreement value gives users an understanding of how close two or more instruments of the same model will read the same color. When measuring the same color sample, for example, two instruments of the same model should deliver measurement results (e.g., absolute L*a*b* or color difference values) closer to each other than two instruments of different models. The tighter the inter-instrument agreement value, the closer the results will be.

With an instrument at one location measuring consistently with instruments at other locations, color values and specifications can be communicated, shared, and coordinated seamlessly across all plant sites. Manufacturers and suppliers can be confident each sample will meet the defined color standard and the final product will be uniform in color through a more efficient, streamlined process. To ensure inter-instrument agreement is maximized within your operations, standardized color evaluation methods should be defined and followed, including:

  • Instrument model, type, and geometry
  • Standard illuminants
  • Standard observer
  • Viewing angle
  • Color space
  • Sample preparation and presentation methods
  • Lighting conditions for visual evaluations

If one supplier or plant site does not follow these standardized methods, errors and disagreements are likely to occur and the inter-instrument agreement will not be capitalized on. This lack of standardization, as well as other factors, can result in noticeable color differences between a sample and standard even when the inter-instrument agreement value is tight. The specifications and procedures established for your application's color quality process should be documented and shared internally and throughout your supply chain. This ensures all parties involved with the manufacturing of a product adhere to the same guidelines to maintain color consistency, accuracy, and efficiency throughout your operations.

To learn how to implement an effective color quality process throughout your supply chain, please contact us at (888) 473-2656 or at color.expert@konicaminolta.com.

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The technological leader in color and light measurement solutions, Konica Minolta Sensing Americas helps organizations formulate, evaluate, and control color to meet product quality and operational goals more efficiently.

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