Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

10 tips from Spies Hecker for optimum ColorDialog use

The success of a vehicle refinish depends on many factors, but an accurate colour match is one of the most vital. Daniel Hartland, Spies Hecker UK and Ireland brand marketing coordinator, says, “there are over 45,000 OEM colours in existence worldwide, and about 600 new colours added each year, so colour matching is a mammoth task for refinishers. But it doesn’t have to be, which is why we offer our refinishers the ColorDialog spectrophotometer.”

ColorDialog helps refinishers to achieve accurate colour matches quickly and easily. Hartland says, “our refinishers get the most precise colour formula when ColorDialog is used in conjunction with our CRPlus software and digital scales. Training is also vital, which is why we offer a dedicated ColorDialog course at the Refinish Academy in Stevenage. But we also want to provide our refinishers with a reminder to take with them, which is why we have created our Top Ten tips for spot-on colour measurement.”SH-ColorDialog-3-copy

1. Clean surface – scratches and dirt considerably impair the accuracy of colour measurement. It is therefore particularly important for the surface of the colour being measured to be clean and dirt-free. Clean the surface with Permanent Silicone Remover 7010 and then polish the area carefully before measurement.
2. Smooth surface – the surface on which the colour is measured must be level to eliminate the possibility of light penetrating from the sides, as this can cause inaccurate measurements.
3. Calibrating the instrument –calibrate the ColorDialog when prompted by the device by using the black box and white tile provided. These must be kept clean. Do not use cleaning agents or soap, however, as these contain bleaches that can change the characteristics of the calibration standards. Solvents are not advisable either. To clean, use warm water and a soft cloth.
4. Temperature and humidity during calibration and measurement – the instrument should be calibrated in the same environment and at the same temperature and humidity as during instrument use. The temperature of the surface on which the measurement takes place is also a factor (some pigments are thermochromatic and change colour according to the temperature). Do not therefore measure surfaces that have been exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged period.
5. Colour measurement – each colour measurement requires three separate readings of the surface. Each reading must be carried out within the area of the damage.
6. Light conditions during colour measurement – external light conditions can be disregarded during colour measurement as the ColorDialog has its own integrated lighting. Any faulty measurements are indicated on the display.
7. Colour search – when searching for the matching colour, it is possible to narrow down the searching criteria by entering the manufacturer, colour code or paint type.
8. Sample panel for colour comparison – we advise refinishers to spray a sample panel before refinishing and to compare it with the colour on the vehicle. This way, refinishers can be sure of an exact colour match.
9. Care and protection of the instrument – the instrument’s housing should be protected from direct contact with solvents. When the instrument is not in use, keep the cover on the optical measuring head to protect it.
10. Instrument operation – switch on the instrument by pressing the Operate button. The ColorDialog has a stand-by mode and switches itself off automatically following the completion of the measurement and the data being sent to the PC. Only use AA or LR 6 round cell alkaline batteries.

To find out more about the Spies Hecker digital colour management system or to sign up for ColorDialog training courses, please visit