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Top 5 Spectrophotometer Measurement Mistakes

Posted July 04, 2015 by Mike Huda

Spectrophotometers are excellent tools for measuring samples versus standards to compare color differences, but what do you do if you have an irregular sample that isn’t flat or uniform in size and shape?

Achieving color accuracy can be a challenge for irregularly shaped products like liquids, plastics, cans and powders. X-Rite offers specially designed accessories for many of our instruments to help measure these hard-to-hold samples. We call them “rigs and jigs,” and they enable handheld and benchtop spectrophotometers to measure many of those odd shaped and hard-to-hold samples.

Today we’ll look at how X-Rite helps many customers, including the Algida Ice Cream Company, effectively measure their non-standard products.

spectrophotometer rigs jigs measure sample color

A benchtop spectrophotometer fitted with a test tube holder to measure the color of orange juice.

The VS450 in action

As the sixth largest ice cream plant in the world, the Algida ice cream factory in northwestern Turkey understands the need for uniform color. When consumers purchase food, they choose the brand that looks the best. Since ice cream cartons from different production lots often sit side-by-side in store freezers, they must look the same or consumers will question their quality.

It’s not easy to quality control ice cream production. Raw ingredients vary in color. Ice cream is made up of casein micelles, fat globules, air cells and ice crystals, all of which reflect light in different ways depending on their composition. Smaller particles and larger volumes of air bubbles will cause the ice cream to take on a lighter apparent color. Each batch requires a custom recipe to ensure color quality, and you have to work fast.

Algida chose the VS450 45°/0° non-contact benchtop spectrophotometer to quickly measure ingredient samples before they flow down the production line. It’s designed to take color and gloss measurements on wet and dry samples, and was the perfect choice for Algida because it closely mimics how the human eye will see the finished product.

non contact spectrophotometer rigs jigs

The VS540 with the adjustable mounting stand and spoon kit for measuring powder and liquid samples.

By frequently measuring samples with the VS450, quality control personnel can detect and correct small mistakes before they become big problems. X-Rite fitted Algida’s VS450s with an Adjustable Mounting Stand so they can quickly be positioned horizontally or vertically to accommodate odd-shaped and bulky samples up to 8 1/8” high. Although the VS450 can be fitted with a petri dish, X-Rite designed custom sample holders for Algida’s needs to make the measurement process faster and easier.

Other Types of Rigs and Jigs

X-Rite offers similar adjustable stands and sample holders for the MA9x, Ci6x, SP6x, Ci5x and 962/964 handheld spectrophotometers, including:

  • A Powder Cell Holder for powders such as cosmetics and food mixes
  • A Liquid Cell Holder for liquids like laundry detergent and beverages
  • A Can Holder for measuring standard-size aluminum beverage cans
  • A Universal Sample Holder for small, odd-shaped parts like lipstick and eyeliner cases, pen bodies and small molded bottles, as well fabric samples that require several folds to achieve opacity
  • A Pellet Holder for measuring plastic raw materials
non contact instrument stand cosmetics spectrophotometer

The MA9 fitted with a non-contact instrument stand and a powder cell holder to measure cosmetics.

The Ci7800 and Ci7600 can be fitted with:

  • A Vertical Mounting Assembly to take vertical, port-up measurements
  • A Transmission Sample Holder and accessories to measure non-opaque samples, including liquids housed in cylindrical cells and preform samples
  • A Reflectance Cuvette and a White Test Tube Holder for reflectance measurement of liquid samples
  • A Glass Aperture for specimens that must be presented behind glass
  • A Tile/Toggle Subassembly Pad with an embedded white ceramic backing for reflectance measurements that require a white backing, such as textiles, plastics or other less than opaque samples

These are just a few examples of the way X-Rite is helping manufacturers around the world maintain production quality. To learn more about specific products for your handheld or benchtop spectrophotometer, check out our Rigs and Jigs Product Sheet.

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