How to manage the colour of clothing and textiles

There are many stages in the manufacture of Textiles and Clothing. Multiple production stages are always met with challenges in ensuring that the products are produced to the same standard every single time. Colour and appearance of clothing and all textiles is important to control and manage.

Generally speaking there are different tasks for different stages which are usually met with either:

Konica Minolta Benchtop Spectrophotometer CM-3600A
(Software mandatory – no stand alone option)
With SpectraMagic NX QA Software or
With Colibri Colour Measurement Software

Konica Minolta Hand Held Spectrophotometer CM-2600d
Stand alone or
With SpectraMagic NX QA Software or
With Colibri Colour Measurement Software


NOTE: The high degree of Inter-Instrument Agreement (IIA) allows data sharing within a factory as well as within a supply chain or multiple customers. (i.e. branded goods or uniforms). It also means that the master laboratory can use a CM-3600A while stages within the production line, both internally and between outside supply chain partners could use the less expensive and easy to carry CM-2600d.

Colorimeters are not usually used, but for mixed fibre applications like Carpet Tiles the Konica Minolta CR-400 / 410 have proven very accurate tools to sort multi-colour textiles based on average readings. As the CR-400 series cannot measure UV, Optical Brightening Agents (OBA) cannot be evaluated. In this case the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d are mandatory.

Let’s walk through the stages of the textiles supply chain and suggest which device works where:

NATURAL FIBRES like Cotton, Wool, Sisal and Hemp are often bleached and dyed. To measure the colour after and before this process you can use either the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d Spectrophotometer.

SYNTHETIC FIBRES like Polyester (PET), Nylon and Acrylic are often bleached and dyed. Once again, during this process we are able to check the colour to ensure consistency using the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d are suitable.

It is important to remember that controlling the colour of a final product often starts at the first-step in the supply chain. Moving along, the next step in the textiles manufacturing is converting dyed fibres into yarns which are then woven or knitted into the fabric we are all familiar with.

When producing Yarn from Fibre, both the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d are suitable.

When Yarns are converted to woven or knitted fabric, both the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d are suitable.

Next up, we move onto the colouring, dyeing, printing and finishing stages.

The colour of PRINTED Fabrics can be measured using the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d. With the addition of small aperture masks (4mm), you are able to measure the colour of small prints and designs.

The colour of DYED or FINISHED Fabrics needs to be objectively managed, this can be done with both the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d. Use these devices to evaluate the colour of Dyestuffs, as well as the effect of various Finishes, like yellowing, darkening etc.

Dyed, Printed and Finished Fabrics will be sent to the clothing manufacturers, firstly to the CMT (Cut, Make and Trim) process, where fabrics will be cut up according to Pattern Shapes.
Quality CMT manufacturers typically check incoming fabrics for colour conformity, as they will have set the original styling patterns and features including the required colours. The most versatile Instrument would be the CM-3600A as it has one more mask than the CM-2600d, the large aperture mask (LAV) with a 25.4mm diameter. Many customers are however happy with a CM-2600d as well. It depends a bit on the complexity of the actual garment components and the type of colours.

Clothing Accessories such as belts, buttons, sewing threads and printed objects can also be measured, and here the nimble CM-2600d is ideal.

Once a garment is completed, it has to be shipped and packed for the retailer. The sender can check packaging conformity, logo and brand colours with both the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d.

Retailers are also likely to use an Instrument to check incoming garments, and here a CM-2600d is usually adequate.

Fastness testing to washing, light fading (Sunlight) and other tests like detergent efficiency are carried out by third part laboratories, and here both the CM-3600A and the CM-2600d are suitable, the CM-2600d being the most popular.

Customer complaints are usually solved using a CM-2600d as its portable and can be easily brought to the complaint, rather than the reverse.

A NOTE on the Konica Minolta CM-5 and CR-5:
With the exception of being able to measure UV, the above Instruments are excellent for the Clothing and Textile Industries. One must be SURE however that UV data will never be required.

The hand held version would be the CM-700 / 600d, with the same reservation regarding UV as the CM-5 and CR-5.

All of the above applications can be used in off line and at line setups. For In-Line options, we have solutions as well, which require detailed discussions, so please contact us.

We DO NOT have an Instrument to measure HAZ FABRICS.

We have extensive experience in the clothing, textiles and dyeing industry and will happily assist in creating a system that will help you control the colour of your textiles in a reliable, accurate and objective way. Visual colour assessment is not accurate, invest in colour measurement today.

Solve your colour challenges today! Speak to us.

6 + 0 = ?