Rustins builds product line of speciality paints using X-Rite technology

06 June 2012

When a potential customer asked if Rustins Limited could accurately recreate an entire line of more than 150 speciality paints for hobbyists, the UK-based paint and stain manufacturer responded with a resounding yes.

And when it supplied samples and won the business, Rustins was faced with the challenge of how to precisely match such a large palette of paints in a matter of months. Experienced technicians at Rustins usually matched colours by eye when the company wanted to develop new paints and finishes, but that method was impractical for more than 150 colours and lacked an objective method of demonstrating the colour match, said Edward Krawitt, managing director of Rustins.

To meet the tight time frame and stringent color standards, Rustins turned to the advanced technology of X-Rite Inc, a world leading manufacturer of colour measurement instruments and software.

Using the X-Rite i5 spectrophotometer and after populationg the spectrophotometer database with tinting strengths of the different pigment dispersions, Rustins was able to determine the precise amount of pigmentation that made up a subtle shade of the customer’s paint in the matter of a few minutes.

"It was a bit of a daunting task to first come up with formulations for 150 colors — the customer offers more than 15 shades of grey alone," Krawitt said. "The trick was matching all of those colours. We needed a spectrophotometer due to the sheer number of formulations.

"Now we can use the spectro for quality control and to help us match colours and quantify the closeness of the match – which is something we could never do before."

But effective colour matching was only part of the process for Rustins, which has about 50 full-time employees at its headquarters and factory in suburban London. "We also had to implement quality controls that met both our and the customer’s rigorous specifications for colour consistency," Krawitt said. "Hobbyists are an exacting lot, and we don’t want to disappoint."

All told the project involved hundreds of hours of research and planning to make sure that the millions of tins of paints sold by the customer in more than 65 countries each year meet the demanding specifications.

Rustins used X-Rite’s Color iMatch V7.0 software to determine starting formulation points and the company’s Color iQC software to maintain tight tolerances on batches of paints that are used on a newly installed new production line that fills tins from 15ml to 125ml.

Rustins has a reputation to live up to in the paints and finishes industry. Established in 1924 by Sidney Rustin in London’s Shoreditch district, the company built a following among local residents and trades people as a manufacturer and seller of fine wood finishing products. Since that time, Rustins has developed and manufactured families of decorative coatings and finishes that take advantage of the latest formulations, including low-VOC waterborne oils for wood.

Krawitt said the new X-Rite spectrophotometer may open avenues for more new products. "We will continue to use the spectro for all of our products, including our wood finishes and growing portfolio of specialty paints" he said. "It may open up more revenue streams if we decide to go into custom matching."

Rustins decided to purchase X-Rite equipment and software because of the quality of the instruments and technical support. "The products are quite feature-rich," Krawitt added. "We can see that there are a lot of features we haven’t used yet, and one of these days, we will."

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