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Ral Shade Card – Common Questions..

RAL is actually a colour matching system used in Europe which is created and administrated by the German RAL gGmbH[1] (RAL non-profit LLC), that is a subsidiary of the German RAL Institute. In colloquial speech RAL means the RAL Classic system, mainly utilized for varnish and powder coating but nowadays you can find reference panels for plastics too. Approved RAL items are supplied with a hologram as of early 2013 to make unauthorised versions difficult to produce. Imitations may show different hue and colour when observed under various light sources.

RAL Colour Charts are ideal for use within reference to choose a suitable colour for painting using powder coat colours although other tools like RAL Colour Swabs and RAL Colour Control Cards tend to be more useful.

A RAL Colour Chart is perfect for hanging on the wall for general reference and then for use when discussing power coating colours on the phone. However, they are certainly not perfect for utilization in the workshop, especially when they are pinned for the wall. This is where RAL Colour Swabs and Control Cards can be found in.

A RAL Shade Swab is keen on colour coated plastic with each fan detailing a different RAL Tone & Colour. This fan is ideal for utilization in the job shop along with off site and at a customers factory when discussing important powder coating decisions. The RAL Shade Swab can be placed on an item to give a much more accurate representation from the intended finished powder coating for me applied to the metal component. Most Swabs have several hundred colours to them offering a total range of colours, shades and tones available as powder coated finishes, as well as the RAL Swab will help to determine the preffered collection of powder coated finish.

However, the limitations in the RAL Shade & Colour Swabs are almost as tight as those of the RAL Tone Charts pinned towards the office wall. The tiny Swab tabs that are generally only 100mm long and 40mm wide do not provide an exact colour match, just a close representation. Here is where a RAL Colour Control Card is necessary.

The Color Control Card is a large specially prepared colour coated card prepared from the paint manufacturer. powder coating Colour Cards provide a ideal match against the manufacturers paint and will be kept as reference for later colour matching exercises. RAL Coating Cards are compatible with permanent colour references for technical documentation as well as legal contract referencing. Whilst all colours might vary slightly as a result of changing powder coating environments and respective nacmlk regimes, the Ral Shade Card is the definitive reference for paint matching against RAL Powder Coating Colours.

Ral Colour Swabs can be found in the K7 format which shows 5 colours per fan finger, and as such is actually a cheaper fan type as well as the K5 which has more fan fingers all of that is committed to just one RAL tone, shade or colour. Ral Colour Charts are accessible for purchase on the C&S Processing website at great rates.

In 1927 the German Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung (Imperial Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance) invented an accumulation of forty colours beneath the name of “RAL 840”. Before that date manufacturers and customers had to exchange samples to describe a tint, whereas from then on they could count on numbers.

Within the 1930s the numbers were changed uniformly to four digits as well as the collection was renamed to “RAL 840 R” (R for revised). With tints constantly added to the collection, it was revised again in 1961 and changed to “RAL 840-HR”, which consists of 210 colours and is also in use for this day. Within the 1960s the colours were given supplemental names in order to avoid confusion in case of transposed digits.

As “RAL 840-HR” covered only matte paint the 1980s saw the invention of “RAL 841-GL” for glossy surfaces, confined to 193 colours. A main criterion for colours inside the RAL Classic collection is to be of “paramount interest”. Therefore, most of the colours inside it are utilized on warning and traffic signs or are committed to government agencies and public services (for example: RAL 1004 – Swiss Postal Service, RAL 1021 – Austrian Postal Service, RAL 1032 – German Postal Service).

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