Product News: Test & Measuring Instruments, Optics & Photonics

Spectrophotometer is used to match paint with color samples.

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Press Release Summary:

September 30, 2008 - MatchRite® iVue(TM) helps retail paint departments match paints with color samples. It can operate in horizontal or vertical position and projects ¼ or ½ in. dia ring of light onto item to show exactly where colors are being measured. Weighing about 5 lb, solution utilizes solid-state technology; requires calibration once per week; and measures samples, even on curved surfaces, from distance of 1.5 in.

X-Rite, Inc.

3100-TR 44th St., S.W., Grandville, MI, 49418 2567, USA

Original Press Release

X-Rite Introduces MatchRite® iVue(TM) Instrument to Help Retail Paint Departments Provide Better Color Matching Services

Press release date: September 18, 2008

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 18, 2008 - X-Rite, Incorporated (NASDAQ:XRIT) today introduced its MatchRite® iVue(TM) instrument that solves the most common problems of retail paint departments as they help customers who want to match paints with color samples or inspiration items.

The iVue instrument: o Measures color at a distance from the sample, so sales associates can now measure objects with curved surfaces such as lamps, bowls and other inspiration items; o Provides an easy-to-view ring of light projected onto the item that shows sales associates and customers exactly where colors are being measured. The patented Line of Sight(TM) feature reduces mis-tints while enhancing the customer's purchasing experience; o Measures in either the horizontal or vertical position on larger or odd-shaped items; o Measures with improved precision on the hardest to match colors, and; o Enhances productivity of paint departments by dramatically reducing non-value-added activities such as frequent calibrations and cleaning of optics.

Kenneth Phillips, product manager in X-Rite's Industrial Color and Appearance Division that developed the iVue, said his company leveraged proven X-Rite technology while incorporated suggestions from its customers and changing market demands. The result is the iVue, which will allow paint department associates to improve the accuracy of their color matches with easy-to-use equipment that requires little training.

Unlike existing paint department spectrophotometers that require a paint sample to make physical contact against a viewing port, the iVue measures samples from a distance of about 1.5 inches (38 mm). That capability gives iVue advantages from both the customer service and instrument maintenance perspectives.

"The number one service call that we get from customers with paint matching equipment is contamination on the viewing port," Phillips said. He explained that a sales associate may apply paint to a flat surface such as a paint stick or paint can lid, let it dry, then measure it against the viewing port of the instrument. Even with drying time, samples sometimes are wet enough to leave paint residue on the port that can cause false readings. Remedies to the problem include cleaning the instrument at the store or replacing the optics system and the face of the instrument at the factory. With the iVue, the problem is virtually eliminated because the viewing port is held at a distance from the test surface.

Weighing about 5 pounds, the iVue can be manipulated by the sales associate to measure samples in a horizontal or vertical position, which is key to matching the color of inspiration items with surfaces that don't lie on a flat plane. "Our research discovered that retailers were looking for a way to serve customers who are sophisticated in their tastes and want to match paints with a wide assortment of interior accessories they bring to the store," Phillips said.

The iVue also addresses a source for waste among paint retailers: mis-tinted paints due to measurement of the wrong sample area. A color matching instrument generally measures an area about the size of a dime, so position of the sample is critical for accurate measurement of samples like in a floral pattern. In these cases, sales associates have difficulty determining exactly where measurements are taken because the positions of the samples are obscured by the instrument sample holder.

The iVue solves the problem by projecting either a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch diameter ring of light on the sample to precisely show the sales associate and customer where the color measurement is being taken. "The Line of Sight(TM) feature is really a great way to reduce mis-tints and enhance the customer's purchasing experience," Phillips said. "Everyone can see and agree on the sample of color that the customer wants."

Due to its robust design that employs the latest advances in solid-state technology, the iVue also improves store productivity by dramatically reducing the need for instrument calibration. Typical color matching instruments used by paint retailers require calibration about every eight hours of operation for accurate measurements. In addition to taking valuable time better spent on other retailing activities, the need for frequent calibrations also increases the chances of paint mis-tints when maintenance schedules are not adhered to properly. The iVue needs calibration only once a week, which enhances productivity to reduce the overall cost of ownership of the instrument.

The iVue also employs LEDs for its light source that has a predicted life of more than 20 million flashes, many more than illumination systems that rely on flash tubes. Measurements are taken in less than a second, with display of results in about 2 seconds.

Phillips said the instrument is expected to make its way near years end into paint departments in North America, where retailers maintain and grow their paint business by offering custom color matching services. Other potential markets include Europe, South America and Asia, he said.

In addition to iVue, X-Rite offers a complete line of products for retail paint departments that range from measurement devices to software programs that enable customers to download digital photos of the interiors or exteriors of their homes and then visualize how paints will look after application.

About X-Rite X-Rite is the global leader in color science and technology. The company, which now includes color industry leader Pantone, Inc., develops, manufactures, markets and supports innovative color solutions through measurement systems, software, color standards and services. X-Rite's expertise in inspiring, selecting, measuring, formulating, communicating and matching color helps users get color right the first time and every time, which translates to better quality and reduced costs. X-Rite serves a range of industries, including printing, packaging, photography, graphic design, video, automotive, paints, plastics, textiles, dental and medical. For further information, please visit www.matchrite.com.

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