Kentwood-based X-Rite Inc. said this week that it had received United States Patent No. 7,773,221 for “Non-Contact Color Measurement Technology Used in Industrial, Food, Cosmetics and Retail Paint Applications.”
The company said the patent protects important proprietary technology that has widespread applications in everything from measuring the color of samples at retail paint stores to checking the color of plastic vinyl siding as it is being extruded.
The technology is used in X-Rite products such as the VeriColor Spectro, MatchRite iVue, and VS450.
The patent was assigned to X-Rite by inventors Steven H. Peterson, Peter G. VanderJagt and others.
In addition to the U.S. VeriColor Spectro patent and its sister European filing, David Salyer joined Peterson and VanderJagt as co-inventor of an additional patent that addresses the concept of using non-contact instrumentation such as iVue and VS450 to provide new capabilities for retail paint formulation and other applications.
Said Peterson, product development manager for non-contact color instruments at the company’s headquarters: “The technology is still going in a number of different paths that we hadn’t anticipated. Our customers are very enthusiastic about all the possibilities of very repeatable, precise, non-contact color measurement in challenging environments like a factory floor.”
The VeriColor Spectro is especially made to provide lab quality accuracy in measuring colors while being exposed to the rigors of a manufacturing environment.
“Any company that has a tight tolerance on the color of its products — automotive interiors, vinyl siding, office furniture trim — should see a very favorable rate of return by using the VeriColor Spectro,” said Kenneth Phillips, product manager for non-contact instruments. “Companies that employ this instrument will have a competitive advantage because it promotes first-time quality and provides data for highly efficient manufacturing.”
The VeriColor Spectro can read colors accurately in a shop floor environment under conditions of fluctuating temperatures, vibration, high humidity and variable lighting. The instrument measures colors at a distance of 10 cm from the test surface without need of frequent calibration, and it precisely measures the color of products with varied textures.
The VS450 is particularly suited to provide accurate color data of surfaces that are hardest to measure — wet paints, oil-based cosmetics, hot items or goods that should not come into contact with other surfaces such as food.
The VS450 is “our response to customers in industries as varied as the manufacture of cosmetics, paints and chemicals — even unique applications such as soil sampling — that have asked for a cost effective and precise way to measure samples without special sample apparatus such as Petri dishes or cuvettes,” Phillips said.
Phillips said the VS450 can measure test surfaces of materials such as powders, liquids, pastes and suede leather in their natural, unaltered states to yield better “truer” results.
Unlike hand-held or benchtop spectrophotometers currently used in laboratories that must physically contact the sample with the viewing port, the VS450 measures any sample accurately from a distance of about 38mm (1.5 inches). Prior technology relied on pressing glass or clear plastic over test surfaces to protect the instruments from being contaminated by the test samples — a method that alters the test data.
The MatchRite iVue instrument is a version of the VS450 that is customized to solve the most common problems of retail paint departments as they help customers who want to match paints with color samples or inspiration items.
The MatchRite iVue instrument measures color at a distance from the sample, so sales associates can now measure objects in either a horizontal or vertical position on larger or odd-shaped items, as well as curved surfaces such as lamps and bowls.
In addition to its versatility, the iVue projects an easy-to-view ring of light onto the item to show sales associates and customers exactly where colors are being measured. The instrument enhances productivity of paint departments by dramatically reducing non-value-added activities such as frequent calibrations and cleaning of optics.
X-Rite (Nasdaq: XRIT) develops, manufactures, markets and supports color measurement systems, software, color standards and services.
More at www.xrite.com.
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