Measuring Color in the Food and Beverage Industry

In the food and beverage industry, color and appearance are key ingredients to a product’s success. When the color is off or different from what you expect, your mind might say it tastes different too. From raw material to the final product, Konica Minolta Sensing Americas offers instrument and software solutions used to effectively control the color quality and consistency of food and beverages. This high precision technology allows users to evaluate color attributes of various samples, including solids, liquids, powders, pastes, and granules. You will identify any inconsistencies immediately in a more efficient and streamlined process. In addition to meeting color quality standards and expectations, waste is reduced and profits are increased.

Introduction of a new assessment of measurement technology TAMS (Total Appearance Measurement System)

Ramsey N.J. (October 15, 2020) Rhopoint Instruments Ltd. announces that Volkswagen AG has introduced a new assessment measurement technique for the surfaces of painted car bodies. The Rhopoint TAMS™ (Total Appearance Measurement System) technology was developed as part of an innovation project and is now about to be introduced into series production.
The Rhopoint TAMS™ technology is the result of a six-year joint development project between Rhopoint Instruments Ltd., Audi AG and Volkswagen AG and offers the car manufacturer improved parameters for controlling the appearance quality of painted car bodies and painted vehicle parts.

As a result of the successful test phase in the production lines, Rhopoint TAMS™ is a newly specified technology of Volkswagen AG and has been included in the technical delivery conditions and quality test specifications.

Rhopoint TAMS™ measures what you see

TAMSWith the current methodology for measuring and controlling the appearance of painted surfaces, the biggest challenge is to correlate the measured results with the visual assessment of the quality inspectors or, in other words, "what you measure is not always what you see". Rhopoint Instruments Ltd. and the specialist departments of Audi AG and Volkswagen AG have jointly developed a new methodology and technology to meet this challenge. The result is the Rhopoint TAMS™, a device that uses the technology of image projection and image analysis to imitate visual perception. Stripe images projected onto a surface are captured with a dual-focus camera, while established optical analysis techniques (e.g. optical transfer functions) are used to calculate indices that describe surface properties in the same way as the human eye.

The result is a much higher agreement with visual perception, which is essential for quality control in production. The Rhopoint TAMS™ "Quality" (Q) value allows pass/fail decisions to be applied based on this final manufacturing criterion, while the "Harmony" (H) value ensures that adjacent body parts can be perceived as optically equivalent or the possible differences can be shown. In this way the subjective perception of each individual observer is excluded and objectified. In the case of a qualitative deviation, the presentation methodology of the results allows quick reaction and intervention.

Control Electro Dip Paint / E-Coat (KTL)

With today's existing methods, quality control of matt e-coats in the production line was only possible through time and cost intensive analyses.

Due to the applied optical concept and methods Rhopoint TAMS™ is able to measure all kinds of surfaces from high gloss to matt. With Rhopoint TAMS™ the user can now also measure the quality of e-coats in the production line. This is all the more important as the e-coat quality has a direct influence on the perceived and measured quality of the clear coat and thus on the final painted appearance.

The overall picture

The painted appearance of the car body surface depends to a large extent on the underlying waviness and roughness of the steel, aluminum or plastic molded parts before painting.

Rhopoint TAMS™ can be used to measure and map surfaces at any intermediate stage of an automobile production.

E-coat, filler, basecoat and topcoat before and after any polishing operations can be characterized to obtain a detailed picture of the entire coating process. This unique data set offers the car manufacturer new possibilities to assess the suitability of raw materials or to optimize individual process elements - this saves costs and improves quality.

Rhopoint TAMS™ is available as a portable handheld device or as an implemented automated system. RoboTAMS has been optimized for rapid automatic evaluation of vehicle paint quality and has already been tested for concept suitability.

In addition, error detection and error characterization are further options that can be displayed with the developed measurement technology.

Rhopoint TAMS™ is distributed worldwide by Konica Minolta Sensing.


Konica Minolta Sensing Americas held an informative webinar for TAMS on September 17, 2020, please view the on demand version here

About Rhopoint Instruments Ltd.

Rhopoint Instruments is a UK based manufacturer of test equipment primarily focused towards appearance quality is a subsidiary of Rhopoint Holdings. Rhopoint Instruments was founded in 1988 as a manufacturer of glossmeters. Since this time, the range has developed and grown to test not just gloss but many other parameters of total surface quality including orange peel. Our handheld instruments are designed to be used in both research and development and production environments in numerous industries including: paints and coatings, automotive, yacht manufacturers, metal polishers, polished stone, smart phone, tablet PC and laptop covers, coil coaters, printing and graphic arts, powder coating, furniture and plastics. l / DOI, haze, texture, defect analysis, shade and opacity.

About Konica Minolta Sensing, Inc.

Konica Minolta Sensing Americas, Inc. provides a range of high quality designed and hand assembled color measurement instruments recognized in the industry. Our color measurement instruments help you quantify, measure, and control color. Consistent color reduces manufacturing downtime and material waste while improving product quality. With an array of applications, our products serve many industries. You can find our equipment on the production line, in the laboratory or out in the field. Known for precision and accuracy, our instruments are the standard of the industry. Turn to Konica Minolta Sensing for all your color measurement needs.


Rhopoint Instruments Ltd. Tony Burrows

Konica Minolta Sensing Americas, Inc. Peter Roos

Achieving a high quality automotive exterior finish

Car exterior appearance is one of the decisive factors to value the car model. The human eye is sensitive to color differences in adjacent parts such as car body to doors, bumpers, and other add-on features such as door mirrors and handles. Here we discuss color measurement technology by using a multi-angle spectrophotometer.

Stages of a Reliable Cosmetic Color Program

Color is core value of products in many industries. In the cosmetic industry more so than most. From the initial design, to the final product, to the market, we describe how a comprehensive color management solution will help any company to overcome challenges in production and how spectrophotometers play a key role in the process. We will discuss the workflow in four stages and describe how each step is beneficial for the enhancement of color related work at each stage.

Automotive White Paper: Measuring Automotive Interiors

Many automotive manufacturers employ strict standards to ensure that every part of the interior is the same color. The quality control process is paramount to ensure no color mismatch between the seats, carpets, dashboard, and door cards. Constant color control along the manufacturing line and the supply chain ensures consistency, predictability, and dependability

Creating harmony in automobile interior

Automotive interiors consist of many components, dashboard, steering wheel, door trim, seat, center console, etc. These components need to work in harmony with each other to give the occupants a comfortable feeling.

To create good harmony, the appearance of all components needs to be carefully controlled. Color is a major factor in appearance. The human eye is sensitive and can catch the color difference of adjacent components, such as between a dashboard and a door trim. Since different suppliers manufacture various components, color differences may occur due to different materials, different colorants, and different molding processes.

To achieve color harmony, auto manufactures inspect incoming components with a spectrophotometer. A spectrophotometer typically gives color measurement data using the L* a* b* color space. For example, the color difference in b* value indicates the color is yellowish or blueish versus the ideal standard target color. By checking color with a spectrophotometer, the color quality is precisely inspected, and then be communicated to achieve the ideal level.

It is important to maintain color harmony under different lighting conditions. Color harmony should be equal both in the dealer showroom, under fluorescent light, and when driving under daylight. Since a spectrophotometer captures color of a sample with its spectral sensor, it can calculate, then output data under a wide range of lighting conditions to test color harmony in multiple lighting conditions, important for a quality inspection program.

Besides color, gloss is also a factor of appearance. Even if it is the same colorant used in the same material, a component with a different surface finish gives a different appearance to the human eye. For example, synthetic leather is widely used for a dashboard. The uniquely designed surface has texture and gives a luxury touch. Even if the same synthetic leather with the same colorant is used, it gives a different appearance. Texture can give a glossy finish or even a matte finish on a surface. A gloss measurement instrument like a gloss meter captures such a difference.

Color and gloss are two important factors to evaluate appearance. In the manufacturing scene, a gloss meter is widely used together with a spectrophotometer. Konica Minolta Sensing has come up with a spectrophotometer, with a built-in gloss measurement function. The CM-26dG measures color and gloss simultaneously. A user can take the measurement data of the same spot since he/she does not need to use two instruments switching one to another, saving time in workflow. The lightweight compact body with a low profile can flexibly be positioned various spots of interior surfaces. Its data accuracy of lab-grade bench spectrophotometers enables data communication among different divisions or across manufacturing locations.

Automotive Industry: Appearance Control and Management

Automotive manufacturers employ strict standards to ensure that every vehicle roll off the line consistently has the right color. The quality control process is paramount to ensure no color mismatch between the body, bumper, fenders and side mirrors. Constant monitoring along manufacturing line and the supply chain ensures consistency, predictability, and dependability.

How to Measure the Color of Pasta

How to Measure the Color of Pasta using a Konica Minolta CR-410

The United States is home to the largest pasta market in the world. According to the National Pasta Association, Americans consume a whopping 2.7 million tons of pasta a year and the average American consumes almost 20 lbs. (19.85 lbs) of pasta annually. As with any major food sector, it is important for pasta producers to ensure their product has a color that conveys flavor, freshness and quality in the eyes of the consumer.

Measuring pasta color occurs in two stages, flour and the actual pasta product. In both cases, color can be measured with an instrument like “The CR-410 Chroma Meter”. Color value is provided in L*a*b* format, b* is the indicator of yellowness in a sample. The higher b* becomes, the more yellow the sample appears.

A method for measuring the color of semolina flour.

Semolina flour is a course, medium grade durum wheat used for making pasta among other wheat products. Semolina flour contains several different color grains. For stable color data, an instrument with a large measurement aperture size can average a diverse set of sample colors. With a sizable measurement area of 50mm, The CR-410 can cover a large area of a sample. To stabilize sample measurement, it is important to maintain consistency in sample preparation. This means using the same sample size in the same container with the same pressure to compress sample, etc. for every measurement.

How-to Measure Semolina Flour

The Granular-Material Attachment CR-A50 is a great way of measuring a flour sample and is what we used in the steps below

  1. Place a portion of semolina inside the KM Granular materials attachment so that it is even with the top of the retaining ring
  2. Tap to comHow to Measure the Color of Pasta using a Konica Minolta CR-410 press the flour evenly
  3. Attach the cover to the base by aligning its indices with the grooves on the collar
  4. Next, insert the CR 410 measuring head so that it rests on the surface
  5. Finally press the "Measure" key

When done you should see measurements similar to the ones below

Color vales for b*: Semolina Flour
Sample A Sample B Sample C Sample D
28.10 29.01 30.12 28.62

Color SapbeMeasurement of final product

Another way to measure pasta color is using the actual pasta product. For example, when measuring spaghetti, the sample needs to fill its container. The surface needs to be carefully made flat so that the instrument can attach to the sample without any gaps to eliminate instability in the sample’s positioning. We recommend performing multiple measurements and averaging data for stable results.

By checking pasta, color in various production stages waste can be reduced and quality maintained.
With such a high demand for pasta Color, measurement could save you pounds of pasta a year, which means not only meeting quotas but also maximizing every dollar spent on material costs.

Pharma Color

Color Control in the Pharmaceutical Industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, color control is important for many reasons. Laboratory and manufacturing environments use color evaluation to identify color attributes and inconsistencies in drugs and medications. Companies take color quality control seriously as integral part of their business plan. With the current technology, many pharmaceuticals have found ways to improve testing and save valuable time and money when it comes to color control and evaluation.

Color Control in Soap

The importance of washing our hands has never been more evident since the onset of COVID-19, in addition to the yearly flu season. Health officials agree that one of the most important things people can do to protect themselves is to use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds in washing of our hands.

Manufactures add scents to soap to make using it a pleasant experience; visually it makes sense to have the color of the soap to reflect the scent to enhance the overall effect. As an example, “Lavender” hand soap will probably be a light purple in color. “Kitchen Lemon” is likely to be yellow, etc. In reality, neither the scent nor color of the soap will play a role in its efficiency to kill bacteria and viral contaminants; however, inconsistent color on store shelves will have an impact on that perception. If one quarter of the lavender soap was not as “purple” as the other (lacking of chroma), it is possible consumers would think of this as either weak or old, and would gravitate to the more brilliant colored soaps.

A properly maintained spectrophotomer allows manufacturers to maintain consistent colors throughout their processes from development, to production, to consumer. For opaque material, we recommend a reflection spectrophotometer (colored light reflecting off the material). For transparent, or translucent, a spectrophotometer with transmission measurement (colored light transmitting through the substance) is best. A spectrophotometer capable of measuring both reflection and transmission, like the CM-5, would be ideal for companies making opaque and translucent/transparent soaps.

By developing a standard color for each variant, manufacturers can subjectively (visually) assure acceptability with use of a light booth, which offers standardized viewing conditions, and can replicate how the soap will look in the store as well as the home. In conjunction with that method, the use of a spectrophotometer (like the CM-5 mentioned above) will allow for objective measurements (via instrumentation) that allows quantitative data for any samples for color quality control and communication. By using this measured information, be it spectral data or tristimulus data such as CIEL*a*b*, any non-acceptable deviation from the standard can be quickly and easily communicated to the proper personnel, to apply the proper correction. Catching incorrectly colored product early in the production cycle saves manufacturers time and money, and drastically reduces rework and waste.

With a proper color quality control process in place, manufactures can assure customers that their products will look as good as they work.