Designing machinery may not be the most artistic pursuit in the world, but sometimes the issue of color can be essential even in industrial design. For example, many of our products are offered in orange so that they will stand out on a machine for safety reasons. Obviously it's not difficult to make plastic parts in colors...and metal parts can be produced with color finishes as well, sometimes as simply as by applying paint.
A better method for coloring metal parts is to use powder coating. The powder is made of pigment and finely ground resins. The part to be coated will be electrically grounded, and an electrostatic spray gun is used to charge the powder as it is applied. After application, the part is heated to a temperature of 160-220° C, which makes it a smooth, continuous coating. Powder coating can be done in any color, so in large enough quantities, we can have components produced in custom colors. The other advantages are that powder coating is much tougher and more chip-resistant than paint, and doesn’t show any streaks.
The color standards for our products, many of which are manufactured in Europe, are typically the RAL standard. This system was developed in Germany in 1925 by an organization called "Reichsausschuss für Lieferbedingungen," which means "Imperial Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance." There are several other color naming systems in use, like Sweden’s NCS, Britain’s BS 4800 and BS 381C standards, and the U.S. federal standard known as FED-STD-595.
Converting from one color system to another can be tricky. Case in point: Our GN 300 zinc die cast adjustable levers are available in a variety of colored powder coated finishes identified by their RAL names. A customer of ours purchases these levers in orange, silver, red and blue. He needed to know the precise color names so another component of the machines he builds could be produced to match, and for this he needed the Pantone system names. He consulted with one of our Technical Sales Associates for assistance in determining the conversion.
If you have need of information on colors or finishes, or need specific colors for parts, contact our Technical Sales Associates at 800-877-8351.