By T Murrali:
Advanced Graphic Systems (AGS), the market leader in colour matching industry in India, has unveiled new colour management technologies in association with X-Rite, a global leader in colour science and technology.
AGS has introduced in India X-Rite’s Total Appearance Capture (TAC) ecosystem, Virtual Light Booth (VLB) and the next-generation MA-T family (MA-T6 and MA-T12), multi-angle spectrophotometers for characterizing effect finishes. The company will leverage its pan India presence and distribution network to market them in the country.
“AGS has held a very strong partnership with us for over 12 years selling and supporting the X-Rite portfolio in many of the markets we serve. As our product portfolio expands into new technology like appearance, we will work with AGS as a partner in the Indian market,” Thomas Dlugos, Director, Sales, OEM, X-Rite, said.
“AGS shares a very special relationship with X-Rite. It dates to almost 22 years when we were working with Gretag Macbeth, a well-known brand in Indian colour solutions industry. It was acquired by X-Rite which today is leader in the colour matching solutions globally. Together with X-Rite, we have brought in one of the most advanced solutions in Indian colour industry creating a niche for ourselves and setting the industry benchmarks for future innovation in this field,” VC Gupte, Head, Colour Business, AGS, said.
TAC ecosystem is an appearance measurement solution that brings a new level of realism and efficiency to the capture, communication and digital presentation of physical materials in the virtual world. TAC enables designers, 3D artists, material specifiers and marketers to bring their product designs to life with digital materials that have the same visual characteristics as their physical counterparts. Its sophisticated technology captures physically accurate material measurements and appearance properties, reducing the need for manual adjustments to scanned materials, and improving design and approval cycles.
TAC ecosystem takes virtualisation forward. TAC digital materials are physically correct and do not require manual adjustments, vastly improving virtualisation.
Dlugos said, “The TAC Ecosystem consists of four key components:TAC Scanner (TAC7); Pantora Material Hub; VLB; and Appearance Exchange File Format (AxF).TAC ecosystem scans the Vendor Neutral Physical material samples using the TAC7 scanner under all lighting conditions. They are digitally represented in AxF files, managed as a digital material library in the Pantora Material Hub, presented in VLB and can be accessed by popular CAD systems such as Autodesk VRED and NvidiaIray. X-Rite continues to add integrations with additional product lifecycle management solutions on an ongoing basis.”
With these capabilities, the TAC ecosystem can replace the existing virtual material systems and definitions that are not powerful enough to characterize fully and render today’s complex materials. From automotive paints to hand-made fabrics, from vinyl flooring to shingles, the TAC ecosystem accurately captures and presents even the most complicated and sophisticated materials.
The same scientific approach can be applied to visual material properties –no more time spent estimating, guessing and adjusting colour and appearance – to make the products and designs look right. With the X-Rite TAC ecosystem, one can acquire exact measurements of visual properties and use them for physically precise visualization.
The TAC7 scanner efficiently measures and stores colour, size, texture, gloss, transparency, and other appearance characteristics for even the most complex materials.
Scanned results are captured and shared via AxF, a vendor neutral file format that is easily accessed by all major Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and state-of-the art rendering applications. The result is highly accurate files and reduced time for manual adjustments.
The PANTORA Material Hub is a desktop application that lets store, edit and share digital files across all the PLM and CAD systems applications. The result is consistent material renderings from design to production and point of sale.
TAC Role In Designing
TAC helps customers in the automotive industry in the three distinct areas of creation, production and marketing to contain design time and cost, Dlugos said.
Creation: Cost savings by minimising the need for physical samples; Simplified maintenance of material libraries; Simplified logistics for digital samples; Instant availability with digital deployment; Flexibility to cost-effectively explore different materials; Creation of customised materials; and reuse of existing materials to design derivatives and variants.
Production: Cost reduction and accelerated design with fewer physical prototypes; improved communication with more accurate renderings; design comparison and consistency with measured appearance data; simplified logistics and faster time to market; and systematic appearance-based quality control.
Marketing: More accurately rendered marketing materials; Easy reuse of digital design materials for improved productivity and cost savings; improved customer communication with accurate renderings; and E-commerce and showroom improvement by true realism. On the difference between the conventional method and TAC, Dlugos said the conventional method was to use 1D flat images/photo and create material effects in a simulated manner, this process is very costly and less realistic than the advancement offered in TAC.
“In the automotive market, Audi and Volkswagen have publicly announced their support for the ongoing work with TAC. Many other customers have confidential or trade secret agreements with us,” he said. X-Rite is also present in OEMs like Tata Motors, Mahindra, Ford, Renault Nissan, and Honda, all in India.
“X-Rite has enjoyed and has worked to build a very strong brand with many of the top-tier automotive brands on a local engagement basis. We have taken great care in building up a global sales service and support network to serve these customers with emphasis on local relations that will carry forward products standardised and pushed out to their local factories and design centres,” Dlugos said.
About the shift in the aftermarket from paper standard to electronic standards, he said, “One of the best examples of this is PatoneLIVE and the impact it has on the print packaging market. We see the same technology wave coming to other markets with a similar goal-clear communication of digital colour to everyone in the product supply chain.”
Dlugos said with TAC and the flexibility of AxF designers, “we can now in real-time swap our materials in critical design phases to broaden choice and drive smart decisions without having to revert to a very costly prototype process.”
Virtual Light Booth
Part of the TAC ecosystem, Virtual Light Booth (VLB) allows designers, material suppliers and marketers to visualise accurately and efficiently, and compare 3D digital material renderings. These renderings are presented along with physical samples in an environment that controls all parameters influencing the perception of appearance. This ensures a new level of consistency between digital prototypes and final physical products.
“VLB presents virtual materials with a very high degree of realism and accuracy. This enables users to evaluate digitised materials rendered on virtual objects in direct comparison to physical material samples. It is a fully immersive experience using face tracking and other auto stereoscopic technologies – a real 3D experience that does not require special glasses. The Virtual Light Booth provides diffuse and spot light sources that enable accurate visual assessment, in a well-defined and standardised visual observation environment, even for highly complex materials such as special-effects paints and coatings whose colour and appearance change based on the angle at which they are being observed,” Dlugos said.
The new MA-T family of portable multi-angle spectrophotometers includes the MA-T12, a 12-angle device, and the MA-T6, a six-angle device. These devices are the first instruments to combine colour imaging and multi-angle spectral measurement to quantify colour, sparkle and coarseness. The new devices allow customers to define and control more precisely the extreme effect finishes now commonly used in the automotive industry to reduce defects and achieve more efficient quality assurance.
The combination of a colour camera and up to 12 angles of measurement provided in the MA-T family gives manufacturers and their supply chain partners an entirely new level of sophistication in the definition and measurement of effect finishes that include aluminums, pearls or special effect pigments like Xirallics. For many effect finishes, measurement of colour alone is no longer sufficient to characterise completely these materials, or to ensure consistency across adjacent parts, such as car bumpers and body panels. The MA-T family delivers results that more closely approximate the way the human eye perceives colour. This helps manufacturers set, communicate, and ensure conformance with global standards for effect finishes – encompassing color, sparkle and coarseness – to achieve a new level of consistency and harmony.
The Indian Market
“India is a developing nation with huge potential where the manufacturers are striving to achieve global quality standards. We have witnessed growing demand for colour management solutions, especially in the automotive sector. X-Rite plans to capitalise on the growing Indian car pac through global strategic account management, direct and indirect market promotions, and internally with each auto manufacturer. There are plans to invest in a network of live road shows to showcase the full extent of X-Rite’s colour and appearance technology,” Dlugos said.
“At AGS, it is our endeavour to bring world- class products to India. X-Rite is a global leader and with these innovative products we are helping diverse industries take the technological leap of automation for better results. The new technology applied in both the machines deliver projections that are almost the way a human eye perceives colour and texture. Exquisite features like these will enable manufacturers to ensure quality control, reduce re-work while accelerating time-to-market,”Gupte said.
AGS has over 60,000 paint dispensers in India. These are used at hardware shops by the paint companies mainly for architectural applications. “The cost of ownership of the dispenser is the lowest among our competitors. We also have a sister company, a joint venture with a French firm, known as Fillon Technologies, which caters to Auto-Refinishing industry. Volume-wise, refinishing is almost the same business as OEM paint business. We provide Mixing Systems for this sector and hold 100 percent market share. Our customers include all refinish paint manufacturers like BASF, PPG, AkzoNobel, Nippon and others,” Gupte added.