Inter-Instrument Agreement: Why You Should Care About It

Why should you care about Inter-Instrument Agreement?

 

Like all major brands and manufacturers, you are expected to produce color-correct products that drive sales. You can achieve this goal by leveraging the use of highly precise spectrophotometers for color measurement, and by adhering to numerical tolerances for acceptable color difference for your products. To minimize color inconsistency while specifying or producing color, it is critical that the color measuring instruments used throughout your organization as well as your global supply chain produce compatible results. This compatibility is often referred to as “inter-instrument agreement” (IIA).

 

Benefits of Inter-Instrument Agreement

 

Spectrophotometers with excellent inter-instrument agreement produce color measurement data that can be shared throughout the global color development process. Color standards are measured with one spectrophotometer in the lab, and the reflectance data is then shared with supply chain partners. Rather than remeasuring a physical standard, the recipient uses this “digital” standard for colorimetric analysis. Digital color communication eliminates time and costs associated with producing and shipping physical samples. But more importantly, you can be confident in your decisions made based on the digital data and be assured of the color quality of your products.

 

The need for regular maintenance and calibration

 

To ensure excellent inter-instrument agreement between instruments within your organization and global supply chain, you need to first ensure that each instrument is performing at its best. Exposure to dirt and dust from the environment can affect the instruments ability to deliver optimal performance. Spectrophotometers, like any sophisticated instrument, will need regular calibration and service to ensure their performance and accuracy as well as long term repeatability.

 

True close tolerance instruments are the foundation

 

While regular maintenance and adherence to procedures are vital to ensure the long-term reliability of a spectrophotometer, it is equally critical that precision and reliability are fundamental elements of the initial design and manufacture of the instrument. The designation as a “close tolerance” spectrophotometer is reserved for those precision instruments that are manufactured to the highest quality standards and that have the best inter-instrument agreement. The “close tolerance” label applies only to those instruments that have very low maximum allowable variance compared to a master instrument, itself traceable to international standards. The Datacolor 800 family of spectrophotometers satisfies the requirements of a true close-tolerance instrument with excellent performance and inter-instrument agreement “out of the box”. Only a select few instruments available in the world today produce these exceptional results without the need for artificial adjustments based on measurement of tiles, a process often referred to as instrument “profiling”.

 

When these close-tolerance instruments are in use throughout an organization, colorimetric data can be confidently shared between them with the assurance of agreement. This also ensures that, within an organization or its suppliers, fleets of instruments can be merged or replaced without concerns of significant changes in historical results or on-going colorimetric decisions. It is important to take these requirements into consideration when adding spectrophotometers or replacing old ones to avoid significant variation in measurement results.

 

Contact us if you want to learn more or have older instruments you would like to trade-in to improve your color workflow, reduce errors, save time and money.
 
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