Much of this blog series has been focused on the instrument and getting the best possible inter-instrument agreement. However, we can’t forget the basics of good practice in color measurement when it comes to sample presentation. Some types of samples can be very repeatable to present to the instrument, while others pose more challenges.
Color QC and Matching Blog
What is Inter-Instrument Agreement? Should I care? How do you determine it? How do I know what my numbers are? Can I measure it myself?
The next fundamental rule in sharing electronic color standards is that the color parameters using in the calculation of the coloriemtric data must be the same.
While many of the new spectrophotometers on the market today are equipped with a USB cable to connect to the PC, most of the older models still use a serial communications cable to communicate with the PC. USB to serial adapter cables can bridge the gap for those PC's that do not have a serial port installed on their PC. There are many such devices available, but not all work well with the high demands of data transfer of a color spectrophotometer--especially not on a 64-bit PC.
Using electronic color standards and sharing L*a*b* color values is the goal of many companies and their supply chains these days. It’s easy, fast, and convenient. If we’re all using the same numbers for our color target, isn’t that the best way to assure that we’re all matching to the same color? It is certainly more convenient than shipping samples around overnight. But before you do so, you need to understand the best practices of color measurement and for setting and maintaining numerical color standards. Many color disputes arise these days because color instruments don’t necessarily read the same. Electronic or numerical color standards are widely used and shared within a supply chain and have many benefits, but if all of your instruments are not regularly monitored and calibrated, then problems can arise.
When you buy a new PC these days, it typically doesn't come configured with a serial port. This once standard type of port has been replaced by USB ports. However, many spectrophotometers still use serial communication and are supplied with a serial cable to connect to the PC. Then how are you supposed to connect your spectrophotometer to the PC if ti doesn't have a serial port? The solution is to use a Serial to USB adapter cable which allows you to connect your color computer via a USB port.
Long before computers were invented a radio, film, and television comedy team known as Abbott and Costello perfected a classic skit that became known as the "Who's on First?" routine; essentially a dizzying five-minute display detailing by example the pitfalls of miscommunication via homophones, homonyms, home-run hitters, and high comedic art.
Tough economic times often mean having to make do with fewer resources to handle the workload. The same workload for developing new colors, adjusting production batches, and approving colors is spread over fewer people. Staff become stressed and can easily overlook color shifts they might otherwise have caught.