Providing worldwide interlaboratory testing since 1971


CTS Color Program History

For those concerned with color measurement, one truth has remained constant: if the color and appearance of a product and its component parts do not match, then that product will likely be viewed as flawed. Even if the color or appearance has no real impact on the actual use (or usefulness) of the product, the bottom-line implications are obvious. However, achieving agreement on color measurement has always been easier said than done.

Decades ago, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) began to assist industry by running interlaboratory programs to improve measurement agreement between laboratories. In 1971, NBS in cooperation with The Manufacturers Council on Color and Appearance (MCCA) conducted an interlaboratory survey on retroreflectance. A color and color difference survey was initiated by the same two organizations in September 1972. Later in the 1970’s CTS began to operate the program building on the established color and gloss studies. With the publication of the Color and Appearance Report #50 in 1985, CTS operated the program independently of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST formerly NBS) with the MCCA as Program Affiliate.

Key to the program’s continuing success is that it has consistently received strong support from color instrument manufacturers. The reason is clear: no matter the sophisticated software and analyses used, all of the advancements in color measurement rely on the basic agreement of color and appearance instruments. The CTS Color & Appearance Program plays a key role in this process by coordinating color measurement systems across instrument manufacturers, instrument models and calibration systems. Without the ability to communicate color across these different systems it would be nearly impossible to deliver consistent color to markets worldwide. Today’s international manufacturing system and the difficulty sharing physical color product standards, as well as the desire to specify color using only numeric targets, makes the agreement of color measurements more important than ever.

Today, hundreds of national and international organizations participate in this unique program, which has become accepted by laboratories worldwide as the de facto standard for color and appearance proficiency testing. In addition, several organizations have established corporate vendor programs using the CTS tests to establish a vendor's ability to comply with their particular specifications.

CTS continues its partnership with industry and the measurement community through its involvement in the activities of ASTM International, the Inter-Society Color Council (ISCC), the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and the Society of Plastics Engineers, Color & Appearance Division (SPE CAD).
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Collaborative Testing Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 650820, Sterling, Virginia, USA 20165-0820
Phone: 1-571-434-1925