Accurately measuring colours and shades on-the-fly

Micro-Epsilon has launched the colorCONTROL ACS7000 colour measurement system that is claimed to identify colours using any of the XYZ; L*a*b*; L*u*v*; RGB and DIN99 measurement definitions. The system can be set up to continually monitor a production process and output the colour measurement via Ethernet, EtherCAT or RS422 and can also be taught pass fail/limits and then output out-of-tolerance alarms using digital I/O.

The system is suitable for applications where colours and shades must be examined on-the-fly and to high accuracies. These include automotive paint inspection, colour measurement of car interiors, coloured glass, transparent film and sheet production, printing, packaging, medical technology, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and in the processing of plastics, food, wood, paper, veneer and textiles. The system is equally suitable for offline R&D laboratory applications.

The colorCONTROL ACS7000 series has a choice of three different sensor families: the ACS1, circular sensor (ACS2) and a transmission sensor (ACS3). Designed for different measurement tasks, each family has specific optical angles, spot geometries and focal distances.

The ACS1 sensor has been designed with the transmitter and receiver mounted inside one sensor head. The optics are arranged at an angle of 30°/0° to each other, producing a working distance of 50mm from the target. An optional adapter allows the sensor to be used manually, whereby the user can hold the sensor in their hand and rest the sensor head onto the target to be measured.

The ACS2 circular sensor is used for colour measurement of structured and highly reflective surfaces, including lustrous metals. In the sensor, 24 lighting optics are arranged in a circular fashion around the receiving optics, providing a constant light output. This allows the measurement to be executed independently of the angular position of the measurement object. Two versions of the ACS2 are available with different spot sizes and measuring distances.

The ACS3 transmission sensor is used for measuring the colour of self-luminous, translucent or transparent objects. The ACS3 family is available in three different versions, each of which has specific transmitter-to-receiver distances and measurement spot diameters.