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New Tools for New Times: Measurement & Color Management in the Digital Age

For an industry that relies so heavily upon creativity to capture its customers, it can be staggering to realize just how dependent upon antiquated design and manufacturing techniques it remains.

For one thing, you’d be hard-pressed to find a process that’s more subjective than today’s methods of color management. With results that can vary based upon the lighting in the room, or the computer display it’s viewed on, or the vision of the person who’s gauging it, misaligned color standards often lead to garments falling well outside of their tolerance range. This in turn leads to costly delays and reworks—and subpar customer experiences.

Equally frustrating is the time-consuming process behind product measurements. Most factories require two inspectors to record the necessary measurements: one to take them and read them aloud, and a second to record them. It’s an incredibly archaic procedure being conducted during an age of so much innovation.

“Color inspection is a crucial part of the inspection process, and there exist so many different ways in which it can go awry,” Inspectorio CEO and co-founder Carlos Moncayo said. “Whether it’s a brand, manufacturer or retailer, a consistent color experience is paramount to deliver a satisfying customer experience.”

To address both of these challenges, Inspectorio has introduced two new tools to drive the industry into the digital age where it belongs: Inspectorio Smart Color and Inspectorio Smart Tape. Developed directly via user feedback from the company’s quality and sustainability platform, these tools not only increase process accuracy and efficiency, but they also significantly advance the benefits of the network platform.

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By using Smart Color and Smart Tape, Inspectorio platform users reap larger-scale results in continuous improvement by contributing additional meaningful and accurate data. As the platform leverages AI and machine learning to create predictive action plans based on real inspection data, supplying it with more accurate data enhances its ability to create precise and substantial predictive action plans.

Color calibration

With a 99 percent accuracy rate, the Smart Color is a portable colorimeter capable of recording five colors simultaneously and capturing over 50,000 pixels. Upon connecting to Inspectorio’s mobile app—the device connects via a cable to the smartphone—the Smart Color is able to self-calibrate the optics within its miniature light box. It then records the color data, creating a unique profile for the scanned color that can be used as a reference for color matching.

What results is objective accountability: Quality control specialists can now color-check a questionable section of a garment and instantly verify it matches the color of the approved sample. Defects are thus discovered earlier and problems corrected before it’s too late.

Inspectorio Smart Color can also be used for color searching. Licensed and custom color standards are uploaded into Inspectorio’s cloud-based platform, and the push-button device can be used to validate a production sample against the virtual color. It works with all fabrics, including patterned, stirred and stamped fabrics, as well as textured surfaces, and end users can change the capture area down to 1 pixel.

Finally, end users also have the ability to define the threshold for match/not match, so each customer can set his or her own tolerances. It’s the first device of its kind to allow objective color matching/searching on-site with such a high degree of accuracy.

Measurement management

The Inspectorio Smart Tape is a digital tool designed to eliminate the most cumbersome part of inspection: measurement. Rather than depending upon that antiquated two-person manual process, the built-in sensor on the device detects how much of the tape has been stretched, accurate to +-1mm. The measurement is then transmitted to Inspectorio’s mobile app via Bluetooth, and A/B testing has shown the device can reduce time-in-measurement by 60 percent.

In addition to Inspectorio’s mobile app rotating through POM codes or samples, inspectors can also leverage its text-to-speech software to read the POM codes from the user’s phone, enabling them to measure garments without touching the phone.

The bigger picture

As both Smart Color and Smart Tape are built directly into Inspectorio’s quality and sustainability platform, they are completely interoperable with the specific parameters and needs companies have already predetermined when they implemented the system.

“Smart Color and Smart Tape were developed directly in response to the feedback we received from inspectors,” noted Moncayo. “The tools address the specific struggles that our users have and the unique frustrations they experience during the inspection process. Using them not only makes their lives easier while on the floor, but it also significantly enhances the predictive capabilities of the Inspectorio platform and provides a more holistic view of their operations.”

The data from both tools is fed directly from the app into the platform’s dashboard, removing yet one more manual step that’s subject to inaccuracies. What’s more, the learning curve is small. Training for the Inspectorio Smart Color typically takes no more than 30 minutes and setup is a snap: Users need only connect the device, place it over the surface, and click a button.

For Inspectorio Smart Tape, pilots and implementations have shown training takes around 15 minutes, with operators measuring more efficiently than with traditional tapes within their first hour of use.

Click to learn more about Inspectorio.