Poppin Inc. is using colour management technology to make sure each recipe is accurate for consistent colouring of each product.
Poppin Inc., a designer and seller of office supplies recently decided to release a product line aimed at brightening up the work place, including lime green pen caps, pool blue staplers, and blazing red tape dispensers. The aim of the project was to encourage office employees to “Work Happy,” the tagline for the group.
To make sure that the colours co-ordinated on a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, paper and cloth, Poppin enlisted the aid of X-Rite, a specialist in colour management, and its wholly owned subsidiary Pantone.
“We set ourselves apart from the big-box competition partly through the use of vibrant, eye-catching colours defined by Pantone and measured with X-Rite technology,” said Roger Cole, Vice President of 9 Kings, Poppin’s sourcing agent. “We’ve built a loyal customer base because we present stylish colours in an office setting at the right price point. So having colours match properly is critical for our business.”
Poppin was one of the first to adopt a new technology from X-Rite that ties together worldwide locations with colour matching ease, accuracy and portability — the technology is a device called the RM200QC.
9 Kings Tech Manager Tony Yan from the Shanghai office has to travel to manufacturing plants all over China, so he takes the RM200QC to each plant to check how closely the products match the colour requirements from Poppin’s headquarters in New York City.
The palm-sized RM200QC spectrocolorimeter simplifies the way that the plastic moulding industry can compare the colours of lab samples or parts in production with reference standards, then create reports that can be shared with supply chain partners.
Yan uses his RM200QC to ensure that items sold as a desk set, such as lime green scissors and its associated file tray, match each other exactly in colour for customers who want bright, fresh hues that co-ordinate perfectly in their offices.
“One of the most important factors for us is the control of colour deviation between our products that need to match in colour,” Yan said. “We use L*a*b* data generated by the RM200QC to check that degree of colour deviation and communicate effectively between manufacturers and our team at headquarters.”
Aided by colour checking instruments, Poppin has been able to tighten colour tolerance from delta E 2 to delta E 0.8 with RM200QC. Using the quick check function in RM200QC, the group can also monitor the colour variations in same lot around the range of delta E 0.3 in an industry where delta E 2 is common.
According to X-Rite, the new instrument goes beyond the capabilities of existing colorimeters with advanced features that identify colour differences between samples and standards, opacity, and grayscale assessment, as well as highlighting how colours may change in appearance under D65 daylight and Illuminant A household tungsten-filament lighting.
With a measurement time of about two seconds, the instrument gives results in the form of a simple pass/fail message or CIE L*a*b* values and delta E colour differences. It also reports results in all of the standard colour difference equations and tolerances, such as CIELAB, CMC, CIE 94, or CIE 2000.
The RM200QC memory holds 20 standards and up to 350 measurements automatically stamped with time and date and saved as PDF and CSV files that can be downloaded via USB cable so the information can be shared with other stakeholders in a supply chain. Any measurement can be linked with images of test surfaces, text notes, or voice messages and the reports can be output in multiple languages.
“This device is a marvelous tool to assist in our worldwide control of colour,” Yan said. “It gives accurate colour measurements that are accepted by both the U.S. and Chinese teams as an unbiased standard, so we can make decisions quickly to maintain customer satisfaction and introduce more colours to our product line with confidence.”