Some Notes About Paint Color Matching
Color is one of the most emotional issues faced in the refinish & paint business. Everyone has an opinion about color. Unfortunately everyone sees color slightly differently and this can be the cause of discussion. The biggest problem is that of color variants. Cars and motorcycles are no longer produced in fixed colors, but come from the manufacturing plants in a range of shades of a particular color.
Manufacturers & OEMs
At the OEM plants, there are a multitude of reasons why variants may occur. These reasons include the paint system being used, the line speed, line trials, line problems, plant differences and variations in film builds. No matter how hard OEM manufacturers try to duplicate paint results from unit to unit in any given color, there will always be paint variations! No matter how much time and money OEM paint companies spend on making sure their colors are consistent from batch to batch in both OEM paint and refinish formulas, there will always be paint variations.
Variations in the production of paint can also contribute to variations in a particular color code. As research and technology allow, new chemistries and resins may be introduced into a particular product line at any given time. This may allow for a slight color shift when a plant empties a container of existing material and orders more from the supplier.
Also during the manufacturing process, the potential exists for slight differences in the final product. The manufacturing process requires a lot of equipment, settings, human control, and other factors and any slight change in any one of those components may contribute to the slight deviation. The final paint product may be well within the specifications for that product but be slightly different from a previous batch.
Tracking Variant Formulas
PPG (Corbin’s main paint supplier) monitors color consistency directly at the OEM plants whenever possible and also out in the “real world” of repair centers. This is done through their Parts program by receiving documentation from distributors, customers and internal sales people.
This constant feedback of color information allows PPG to identify colors that consistently do not match the OEM standard. They then create a variation (redder, greener, lighter, darker, etc.) of the Prime formula that will provide a better match in some cases than the prime formula.
When a paint technician is looking up a color using any PPG Color Information System they check to see if a Variant formula exists. This can save a great deal of time and provide better consistency. Corbin uses the PPG TouchMix computer to provide the best possible match to your OEM paint. However, given variances at the OEM level, we cannot guarantee a perfect match at all times.
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