New software for inks and coatings colour management

Leonardo Gullo – URAI

URAI is a historic Milanese company founded in 1948 by Armando Giuliani, with the aim of supplying the Italian chemical industry of the immediate post-war period with chemical products and laboratory instruments that were difficult to find in Italy at that time.
From titanium dioxide to carbon black, passing through the first color measurement and prescription systems, the company’s experience in the world of colorimetry is as vast as its history, which spans more than half a century.
Strengthened by this experience, and to offer its customers an increasingly sophisticated and customized service, the company decides to launch the ColorWorkDesk® project, which is now a rapidly developing reality.

What is ColorWorkDesk®?
ColorWorkDesk® is the new line of solutions developed by URAI to satisfy all needs in the field of colorimetry. For non-experts it might seem trivial but for operators in the sector, colorimetry, and in particular color management software, are the beating heart of every paint or ink manufacturing company.

The Science of color
The term light refers to the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum visible to the human eye, whose wavelength is between 400 and 700 nanometers.
As it is well known, “white” light is the result of the simultaneous presence of all the different wavelengths in the light beam being examined.
Light interacts with matter in different ways, in particular reflection, alone or combined with absorption, is responsible for the perception of colour: the wavelength which is not absorbed (and is therefore reflected) by an object is responsible for the color we see.
Color vision therefore is the ability of an organism to distinguish objects based on the wavelength that they reflect, emit, or transmit.


A person’s perception of colors is a subjective process as it depends on the interaction of light with the photoreceptors of the retina. Therefore, it becomes necessary for those who deal with color to find a unique way to measure and quantify them.
Nowadays there are methods to numerically express color developed by an international organization that studies light and color, the “Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage” (CIE). The two best-known models are the Yxy color space, devised in 1931 based on the XYZ tristimulus values ​​defined by the CIE, and the L*a*b* color space (also known as CIELAB), devised in 1976 to more uniform the color differences in relation to visual perception. These numerical representations are used throughout the world to communicate color.

Spectrophotometers are the instruments dedicated to identifying, measuring and controlling the color quality.
Choosing the most suitable spectrophotometer for specific applications requirements and its relative configuration, is an essential step for optimizing the performance of the colorimetric software.
The spectrophotometer, in fact, is the device used in colorimetry to acquire and identify the color, quantify the differences with respect to another and find possible matches. The use of spectrophotometry allows operators to maintain color uniformity during all stages of the process, from product conception to delivery.
The ColorWorkDesk® line includes a wide range of bench and portable spectrophotometers, in which all the most modern technologies converge to guarantee extremely high precision performance in color measurement. This new generation tools, with physical LED or XENON lighting technology, is equipped with pre-installed Color Quality Control software, different reading geometries (sphere d/8° and 45/0°) and connection via USB or bluetooth ports.

The possibility of connecting the spectrophotometer models via bluetooth or USB, to the PC desktop software or to the smartphone app, makes them decidedly high-performance and easy-to-use instruments.
Despite having extremely high-performance spectrophotometers, the great strength of the software system is the software for color analysis and management: a complete program for colorimetry, versatile and with an intuitive interface, which responds to the various operational needs simply and efficiently.
The main objective that drove the development of the software was the idea of ​​obtaining a complete product, characterized by ease of use, modern and intuitive graphics and calculation speed; basically, everything that could simplify and streamline the operator’s work.

Mode of operation
The operation of the software can be summarized in 5 steps:
– Insertion: color acquisition using colorimeters and spectrophotometers and sending to the database
– Learning: each specific component of a formulation, once acquired, will be memorized and recognized for future use.
– Processing: The calculation capabilities are optimal, thanks to algorithms developed, tested and fully tested by URAI analysts in various color laboratories.
– Return: Color formulation is returned in seconds
– Management: The software contains a Data Navigator to manage the measurements made using folders and sub-folders.

The software is just the most evident technological progress introduced by URAI in a sector that is increasingly leaning towards digital, with a view to simplifying and optimizing the work of its operators.
Among the components that place this product as a real revolution in colorimetry, it is the presence of a central server where all the results of the formulations requested by the users are collected, managed and shared, and the equally fundamental creation of an app, one of a kind, designed to make the work of operators in the color industry even easier.
ColorWorkDesk® Server takes advantage of server/cloud technology to centrally manage color formulation and correction requests from individual operators, guaranteeing access to an always updated and shared database.
Its operation is linear: it has a number of pre-established connections for listening to clients. The operator, via the client software installed on his device, sends a processing request to the server software: the server processes the input and, once the operation is finished, returns the result to the client. The client displays the result and closes the connection.
The URAI software is able to provide colorimetry services to various client applications such as desktop workstations, laptops or portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
The laboratory manager, in charge of color formulation, not only has the possibility of loading his own formulas in the centralized database, but this becomes an opportunity, for him and for the other clients connected to him, to share his work and speed up that of all the others, making company colorimetric resources available to the community.

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