Spectrophotometry Enhances Color Consistency in Architectural Glass


Posted on October 26, 2017

“Why didn’t anybody check that?” asked Stephanie. “You must’ve noticed it during installation, right? It must’ve been pretty obvious that a quarter of the panes weren’t the same color as the rest. How come you didn’t stop and double check with me?”

Around the room, the heads of her contractors nodded in guilty agreement. A few hid behind their coffee cups. Stephanie shook her head. “We did notice,” spoke up Ted, her general. “But we were already behind and we figured you knew about it. You weren’t around to check with. Sorry, Stephanie. I should’ve called you.” “Yeah,” said Stephanie. “You should’ve. We’re going to get another week behind taking them down and reinstalling. Alright, let’s go. You know what to do.”

As they filed out of the trailer, Stephanie stopped on the bottom step and looked up at the building. In the facade of steel-blue glass building, copper-colored panels stood out like missing teeth. She shook her head again and picked up the phone. It was time to have some words with the manufacturer.

Glass Color Consistency Is Essential for Brand Reputation

For manufacturers of architectural glass, color is a major component of brand. Architects and contractors purchasing glass products for buildings expect that glass will conform to their exacting standards. If manufacturers deliver off-color sheets, not only will they be required to provide a replacement at their own cost, they may suffer significant reputational damage as well. Architects often share advice on their materials sources within their firms,  networks, and professional associations. As a result, a manufacturer incapable of consistently producing glass within established color tolerance standards stands not only to lose future projects from a single customer but referral projects as well.

Spectrophotometers Ensure Consistent Coloration

Given the need for color consistency, manufacturers must employ rigorous color quality control processes. However, architectural glass presents unique color measurement challenges. Architectural glass is either transparent, reflective, or a combination of both.1  Most modern buildings use glass that is reflective when viewed from the building’s exterior, and transparent when viewed from the interior. 
Only by testing their products with spectrophotometers before they leave the works can manufacturers be assured they are the proper color. Although reflective and transparent objects require different methods of color measurement, spectrophotometers can be built to measure either. Certain models can combine both functions into a single instrument.

Further, spectrophotometers measure color objectively and are not subject to the inaccuracies inherent to human observation. Measurement is rapid and results can be viewed immediately and saved to a company’s archive for documentation or research purposes. Not only are these instruments capable of making the necessary measurements; they do so accurately, quickly, and repeatedly.

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