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Colour development

25,000 new formulas developed every year

The array of effects and variants in car manufacturing vehicle colours is always evolving, from glass flakes to high chroma Cranberry Red and Crystal Rainbow. Standox Axalta responds to ever-changing requirements of OEM trends by developing up to 25,000 new colour formulas in its global colour labs every year.

The European colour lab develops an average of 100 new formulas every month, and in Asia,Shanghai, China, it’s nearly 500. Standox colour labs in Tlalnepantla, Mexico and in Front Royal in Virginia, USA, also contribute to the total. The labs all follow strict, standardised colour development processes to ensure they always produce the same colour results.

“It’s our job to provide professional Standox refinishers with the right colour needed to deliver the most accurate colour match paint repair possible.”
Ann De Clerck,
Axalta Colour Marketing EMEA

How do we develop a colour?

  • 1. First step: collect information

    1. First step: collect information. The first step that needs to be taken is to find out which colours will appear on which models. This is why we collect the car manufacturers’ colour ranges and OEM colour standards for all new colours.

  • 2. A refinish formula regardless of the shade.
    Colours may vary from the official colour standard if they have been applied at different OEM productions sites, or if the vehicle has spent several years on the road. For this reason, the colour marketing department collects car parts in order to gain an overview of the range of colour variants. Refinish formulas must be available for these colours too which is why Standox produces variants and service formulas.

  • 3. Working with pigment manufacturers. The colour team has close links with pigment suppliers. That helps us to incorporate colour trends very quickly and develop the required colour formulas.

  • 4. Colour development. Special, proprietary software is used to develop the colour, while colour lab technicians use a microscope to identify the type of effect. A digital spectrophotometer takes the required colour readings and all the data is entered into the software. Then, the software produces an initial colour formula proposal.

  • 4. Colour development.

  • 5. Spraying a sample. The proposed colour formulas are applied using robots. This helps to ensure that all colour labs apply the material using the same methods and it also helps to replicate bodyshop conditions.

  • 5. Spraying a sample.

  • 6. Checking in different light conditions. With the paint dry, the colour is compared with the standard prototype. Because different types of light can have a significant impact on colour, we then check the new colour under varying light conditions. To produce the required, accurate final colour formula, the colour expertspecialist, with the help of the software, may need to carry out additional corrective steps.

  • 6. Checking in different light conditions.

  • 7. From the lab to the bodyshop. Once the colour is completely accurate, its colour formula is entered into the Standowin or Standowin iQ colour software so Standox refinishers can access it. The Color Box update then follows shortly after that.