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We Know Color - Color Matching Technology

by Cubbison, on Jun 29, 2017 4:30:00 PM

Consistent color is critical for any successful print program, it's even more important in the industrial printing sector, due to the long shelf life of production programs and the need to remain consistent across multiple printings over many years. Color matching to this standard requires training, discipline and an understanding of all components and processes that affect the way color looks in the environment and conditions in which it is being used. Here are just a few different factors and variables that affect color in screen printing and color matching.

The material that a product is made of has a great influence on the ink color that is being applied to it and the result of how that color is viewed on the finished product. In industrial printing, we most commonly print on polyester or polycarbonate. Some polyesters have a reflective quality about them that is different than polycarbonate. Many materials have a natural color that makes it more difficult. The natural color of the material must be counter balanced with the desired color in order for it to be accurate. Getting an absolutely clear material is nearly impossible, and this characteristic must be considered and understood when choosing both the material and color match to be used to match the needs of our customers. During the screen printing process, there are many variables that will change color. Things like mesh count, screen tension, squeegee type and durometer, squeegee sharpness and angle, flood bar angle, screen off contact, pressure, speed, and even curing time and temperature are a few things that can influence the color results.

lightbulbs_2Color is a property of light, and what we see is the result of certain colors being reflected and others absorbed by the object itself. Our eyes will pick up the colors that are being reflected off an object. The colors which are absorbed into the object are not seen by the human eye. Because of this, colors can appear to match under one light source very well, but may look drastically different under another. This is called metamerism, which occurs because there are differences in wavelength of light when viewed under two different illuminants and variations in the pigments used in inks.

It is important for us to know the intended use of the product being produced, so we can develop the color match as an acceptable visual match in the lighting condition being used by the end customer. It is important to view the quality of a color match in comparison with a standard using a color viewing booth. This ensures a level of lighting control and ambient viewing conditions that are always consistent, so that color matching is as accurate and consistent as possible. Color viewing booths take into account color, quality, light intensity and illumination.

wavy_metal_2All human beings are unique, and our eyes are no different when it comes to perceiving color. Some people perceive more colors than others while some see fewer colors or have color impairments. This does not mean that people cannot learn to understand the science of color and understand their deficiencies, so they can adjust themselves in certain circumstances. It is important for our engineers and employees to complete a color assessment test in order to understand their natural genetic deficiencies and strengths.

Understanding the natural and genetic visual weaknesses inherent in humans helps us determine when our natural sight may be telling us something that is inconsistent with our standard. It also helps us understand when a color needs an adjustment and what to do about it. Spectrophotometers are used in order to remove the human eye as a variable in determining accurate color matching, however, they do need human interaction to be relevant. Understanding these variations helps our Cubbison color matching, and printers staff produce better, more consistent, results. We continuously assist and educate our customers in understanding these variables and to take them into account while we work together on new designs and produce products that are repeatable for their specific needs. We train and assess all of our team members so that their knowledge and perception of color theory is understood so that we all speak a consistent language of color. This, along our standardized processes and equipment, provides us with a consistent repeatable color match system that ensures our customers will get what they want time after time. These considerations and understanding all of the variables that can influence the color of a printed product are critical for consistent production and to ensure the best quality products for our customers. For any further information, please feel welcome to contact our talented sales engeneering staff. You can also find us on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter. 

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