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How to Achieve Formulation Success with Paints and Coatings

May 29, 2019 by Rich Knapp

It’s expensive to ship the wrong color. To make it right, you need to bring it back to the lab for reformulation, send someone to re-tint at the customer site, or dispose of it and start over. In addition to the expense of wasted time and materials, how do you quantify the loss of an unhappy customer?

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Five Steps to Efficient Formulation 

With the right tools and processes, you can work fast and achieve precise matches. 

1. Formulate Against an Accurate Standard.

First, you must establish a color target to formulate against. The best way to do this is by measuring the reference sample using a precise and consistent spectrophotomter, such as one of our Ci7x00 series. Before you begin formulating, send the sample and the corresponding spectral data to your customer for approval. 


2. Don’t Waste Time Formulating Manually.

When you formulate color by eye, it can take a dozen or more iterations to get to an acceptable match. Multiply this by the number of jobs you formulate each day, and you can quickly waste weeks of time and hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in materials. X-Rite’s Color iMatch formulation software uses industry-leading multi-flux technology to intelligently process color data to achieve an optimal initial color match in just 1-2 attempts and cut correction steps in half. 

3. Evaluate Your Drawdowns.

Color errors can also slip in when you’re evaluating the accuracy of drawdowns. Since a spectrophotometer measures reflected light across the spectrum, it can accurately describe the color on any substrate, under any type of light, much better than the human eye, so you don’t formulate based on incorrect color data. We offer a range of spectrophotometers like our Ci7860 benchtop spectrophotometer or MetaVue VS3200 non-contact imaging spectrophotometer to measure surfaces that often trick the eye, including wet or dry paint; opaque, translucent, or transparent coatings; and optical brighteners.

4.  Stop Throwing Away Incorrect Batches.

Sometimes you can adjust a formula to correct it. Other times you can’t. The cost of wasted materials can be significant, and with increasing environmental awareness, disposal can be even more expensive. With X-Rite’s Color iMatch, you can measure your waste materials and incorporate them into new color matches using Batch Recycle and Waste Workoff functionality. 

5. Store and Reuse Valuable Legacy Data.

You spend a lot of time collecting valuable customer data and color recipes. With Color iMatch, you can reuse known good formulas as a starting point for future formulations. The Search and Correct feature allows you to quickly search your data library to find similar colors so you can get to a closer match in fewer hits, using preferred colorants. Color iMatch also analyzes your historical formulas, and provides recommendations on how to improve those recipes. You can even import existing legacy data into Color iMatch if you’re currently using another solution.  

Fast Savings

Out of the gate, even beginners can hit color targets faster using spectral data and formulation software. Once you’ve established an accurate process, you can expect to match most of your color requirements with just one correction, saving a lot of time, money, and expensive colorants. Try our online savings calculator to estimate how much you can save.

The right tools can help you work quicker and more precisely. Get in touch to learn more about X-Rite’s end-to-end solutions to help paint and coatings professionals start and end with accurate color. 

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