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Resources, tools can help ensure an accurate refinish color match

Saturday, June 1, 2019 - 07:00
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Another effective digital tool is a software-supported spectrophotometer that is designed to identify colors and retrieve formulas. This sophisticated instrument allows a close look at a vehicle’s surface and is extremely helpful in identifying color through the reading of color angles and texture. Technicians benefit from the captured images in two ways:  1) by taking measurements of an unblemished surface and 2) looking at the images for the best blendable color match. The basis for any spectrophotometer’s color matching capability lies in an extensive color formula database containing reflectance and image characteristics along with high-level mathematics that efficiently and accurately delivers “target to match” returns to the end user. A spectrophotometer with these advanced capabilities can dramatically increase a collision shop’s throughput and minimize costly redos.

Print tool fundamentals are better than ever

For collision centers that prefer print tools for identifying color formulas, highly efficient, industry-leading solutions are available. Major paint companies offer color variant decks with chips that are chromatically arranged for speedy reference, giving the painter the ability to choose a color that comes closest to matching the vehicle. Colors are updated regularly with OEM prime colors and the latest variants.

Color variant decks continue to be a staple in color-matching tools. Chromatically arranged chip decks help painters quickly choose a color that most closely matches the vehicle’s paint.

Tinting guides are an additional component in a well-stocked color-match toolbox. Through written descriptions and large, graphic color chips, the charts provide toner information and help guide painters through the tinting process. Painters can determine what specific toners will do to adjust a color to achieve the desired results.

Going the extra step with support

While not every paint company offers this asset, color librarians are great sources for identifying historic and hard-to-find colors. Color librarians use an old-school technique: searching through reference books, old color guides, even car magazines to match colors. Color libraries are a treasure trove of information.

PPG’s color support team is a knowledgeable resource for finding historic or hard-to-match colors, as well as answering questions about color retrieval hardware and software.

Customer support to help with the use of color tool hardware and software is also a resource to draw upon. At PPG, for example, our Color IT team can be reached through our Help Desk and our Field Support Team to help with software installation and setup, network and internet connectivity, warranty replacements and software training.

Which path for you?

There are multiple paths to refinish color accuracy. The digital, print and support tools are all there. Which are right for your operation? Facility size, number of employees, production numbers and, of course, budget are all considerations in the approach selected. The leading paint manufacturers offer a variety of color-matching resources, and your paint distributor can help you choose what is right for your particular situation. In fact, it’s always a good idea to check with your distributor to make sure you have all the latest information and the tools you need to get color matches right the first time.

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