Two new color services for small to medium-sized firms that lack in-house color-matching and formulating expertise were announced at K 2004. One of the new services will be available online for a subscription fee.
Ciba Color Services is a new business unit of Ciba Specialty Chemicals and one of its first ventures outside of selling chemical products. It is designed to help companies throughout the “color value chain”—including masterbatchers, plastics molders and extruders, and OEM designers. Ciba Color Services helps designers with color choices through a partnership with color trend-analysis consultant Nelly Rodi of Paris, France. Ciba can then help customers formulate a color with the aid of its proprietary Colibri QuickMatch Pro software, which is available to other users. The software comes with an extensive pigment database, works in virtually all substrates, and can match opaque, translucent, transparent, and even pearlescents and special-effect shades without requiring a special multi-angle spectrophotometer.
Ciba supplies these services independently from its role as a raw-material provider. This is described as a “neutral” service that does not require use of Ciba colorant products.
Online color assistance
The second service will be available online early this year. Called matchmycolor.com, it is a new offering from SpecialChem, the French-based online additives information portal, in cooperation with Ciba Color Services, DuPont Titanium Technologies, X-Rite, and Nelly Rodi. Paid subscriptions will be offered for a range of time periods. Users can select colors from online catalogs that include the latest color fashions from Nelly Rodi. If the user has a color sample, it can be communicated to the system via an X-Rite spectrophotometer. Users can also enter actual colorimetric data.
Then, using Ciba’s Colibri software (built into the service) and online colorant databases, users can formulate a color online by specifying a resin, an appropriate colorant set for that resin (users can also specify the colorant supplier or application requirements such as food contact, lightfastness, or non-warping), end-product thickness, and desired opacity. The system will then supply a number of alternative recipes, which can be ranked by cost, closeness of color match (Delta E), or metamerism. All colorimetric data for the match, including spectral curves, can be displayed. Color-matching results can be downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet or saved online in a private workspace. At present, only Ciba and DuPont have contributed pigment data to the color-matching database, but several other suppliers are said to be interested in joining. The website is www.matchmy color.com.