Ultimate measurement versatility in the Food & Beverage industry

A fiesta of food applications with a single instrument

In the early 1980s, Konica Minolta launched a revolutionary colour measurement instrument designed specifically for food and beverage processing. Novel at the time when food was evaluated visually, the CR-100 Chroma Meter was quickly adopted for its ease of use and measurement versatility. This was a revolutionary advance in colour control instruments and Konica Minolta would continue this trend with future colour measurement instruments designed for the food and beverages sector.

CR-100 Chroma Meter

The market required the following criteria from a colour measurement instrument:

  • Affordability
  • Reliability
  • Versatility
  • Durability
  • Portability
  • Simplicity

The release of the CR-100 allowed food processors to take the instrument to the object, rather than the sample to the laboratory.
Capable of receiving quick and accurate results from measuring anything from solids to liquids, granules to powders, and everything in between, this Chroma Meter series started serving multiple food applications. With reliable, repeatable and understandable results, companies quickly turned to this series for their colour analysis.

Today, the CR-400 series Chroma Meters and its predecessors, have become the most sold colour measurement instrument across the globe.

CR-410 Chroma Meter

Food applications blossomed, as well as many non-food applications like ceramics, building materials, denim sorting and many more.

By the late 1990s, customers started to ask for higher degrees of accuracy, spectral data to deal with authentication, metamerism, colourant measurement and the ability to measure by transmittance, not only reflectance.

Other players in the industry looked to develop instruments that were more accurate, but focussed on a single application often leading to a proliferation of instruments required in the laboratory.

Konica Minolta was set about creating a highly accurate instrument specifically designed to cover all applications in the food processing sector. An instrument with unrivalled measurement versatility for the whole food and beverage supply chain, from raw materials to completed products at retail.

In 2010, Konica Minolta launched the CM-5 Spectrophotometer, followed shortly with the CR-5 Colorimeter (Chroma Meter). While remaining true to historic instruments, this new bench-top series offered unrivalled measurement versatility and ease-of-use as well as high-levels of inter-instrument agreement and reliability. A truly unique, food processing colour measurement instrument.

Why is the CM/CR-5 series a perfect tool for food processing colour management?

  • First of all, every type of object can be reliably measured from fine powders like bread flour to translucent liquids like tea. Both reflectance and transmittance can be carried out on both the spectrophotometers and the chroma meter versions.
  • The instruments are bench-tops but are lightweight and robust enough to be placed at factory line measurement positions, as well as in the central laboratory.
  • Large colour screens and clear simple buttons enabled quick learning and high levels of reliability. Allowing multiple users to operate the instrument easily and effectively.
  • Data can be printed or extracted from the instrument directly or uploaded to a PC or laptop for further interpretation and analysis with SpectraMagic NX quality control software.
  • Exceptionally high-levels of inter-instrument agreement allowed the whole food processing supply chain to communicate colour without the need for physical samples. Multiple sites in different locations could all agree on colour consistency no matter the object.
  • Wide range of accessories allows users to measure almost any object in the food and beverages sector, including packaging and pre-forms for bottles.
  • Key to the CM-5 Spectrophotometer is the reporting of spectral data, which allows the identification of adulteration of ingredients. This unique feature is used of spice adulteration and olive oil fraud detection as well as any other items that are at risk of food fraud.

    Flour Measurement on CM-5 Spectrophotometer

Backed by industry experience across the food and beverages sector

We have over TEN years of customer experience, across a number of different companies in a number of critical applications, to know that the CM/CR-5 series is the ideal tool for food processing with proven inter-instrument agreement and reliability.

These instruments are affordable, simple to use, reliable, repairable and when used in groups across the supply chain, unbeatable.

Let’s look at a single example of their measurement versatility:

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) in some of our larger food processing companies may range from beverages, high viscosity liquids like dairy products to input materials that range from rough grains to fine colourants and may be converted into biscuits or bread.

Using a Konica Minolta CM-5 Spectrophotometer in the lab, an FMCG company can measure:

  • Raw materials in ANY form
  • Set standards for every production stage as well as for suppliers and customers
  • Automatically find standards/targets when measuring samples
  • Measure the final object for quality control
  • Measure the packaging and plastic
  • Arbitrate customer complaints

At the same time, a Konica Minolta CR-5 Colorimeter can be used in the production chain from raw material deliveries to production stages where colour compliance is critical before moving to the next stage all the way to checking the packaging before sending the packaged final goods to the customer.

These instruments can be used at any stage of the supply chain to measure any sample or object that requires objective colour control while offering uniquely high-levels of inter-instrument agreement between bench-top models.

Inter-instrument Agreement between handheld and bench-tops

So what happened to the historic portable versions?

Konica Minolta did not neglect the need for portability and also released a handheld Spectrophotometer, CM-700d, which also had high-levels of inter-instruments agreement with the bench-top versions.  This has been proven in the field and the information detailed in this blog.

You can still use your trusty CR-400/410 series Chroma Meters and we highlight some suggestions as to how to integrate the different models into your supply chain:

  1. If you already have the older CR-400 series instruments, these can still be used in areas like raw materials. Although there is no linear correlation with other instruments, the colour difference between a target and sample will correlate.
  2. New instruments can be added to the production line as required to extend your measurement capabilities by upgrading any legacy instruments to the new CM/CR-5 series.
  3. If you require portability as well as close-tolerance to the bench-top versions, the CM-700d Spectrophotometer is perfect for off-site measurements and verifications at the customer. Capable of reflectance but not true transmittance measurements, we still suggest a bench-top of complete measurement versatility.

Test the measurement versatility for yourself

We don’t expect you to take our word for it and so we invite you to test the accuracy, inter-instrument agreement and measurement versatility yourself.

So far, we have not found any objects that cannot be reliably measured with this series of instruments. To see the true versatility of these instruments for yourself, we would like to invite you to book an online session with our team to test your application. Not only will you be able to test your application, but you’ll learn about all the applications that are relevant to your business and your supply chain.

Tell us what you would like to see measured and we’ll show you how it’s done.