GE Plastics Color Matching by mikesanye



                                                                                                    Introduction to Color Matching
                                                                                                    FormTool - lab color matching tool
                                                                                                    ColorXpress - web customer tool
                                                                                                    Customer Innovation Center
                                                                                                    ProductXpress - product selection and research
         GE Plastics Color Matching                                                                 Conclusion

                                Bill Cheetham

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            Introduction to Color Matching                                                                 Introduction to Color Matching
                                                                                                    There are 40 possible pigments that can be used. Choose 4 to 7.
     GE is one of the worlds largest producers of plastics
                                                                                                    The color of pigments can change with concentration
     Customers specify the color they want the plastic

     GE needs to create a formula that matches the customers color                                        Concentration 1%        2%      3%      4%          5%
           - 10,000 color matches per year globally ($500 per match)
           - colorants are the most expensive component of plastic                                              Color         yellow     tan     orange red

    Customers Color            Formula                                Chip                          The effect of small changes in colorant loadings can be
                                                                                                    predicted, but large changes are more difficult.
                               Green_332       1.23
                               Yellow_102      0.13                                                 Easier to select a close match and adapt than create new.
                               White_107       .63
                               Black_203       .025
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            Introduction to Color Matching                                                                                      Outline
              Start                                                                                 Introduction to Color Matching
                                                           Filing Cabinet contains
       Read color requested                                     2000 chips                          FormTool - lab color matching tool
                                                                2000 formulas
                                                           Experience used to select
                                                                                                    ColorXpress - web customer tool
       search filing cabinet
                                                                                                    Customer Innovation Center
       inspect physical chip         make trial chip
                                                                                                    ProductXpress - product selection and research
                         no                                      no
             match?                 adapts loadings                   match?

                   yes                                                       yes
               End                save in filing cabinet
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                                                                                       Page 1


                     Formtool - started 1993                                                              FormTool Process

     Digitize Knowledge                                                                        Start
                                                                                                                                            Case base contains
         • create case for each chip in filing cabinet                                                                                          10,000 cases
                                                                                        Read color requested
             - problem: numerical representation of color                                                                                   Automated selection
             - solution: formula of color                                                search case base
         • algorithm for selecting best case
         • algorithm for adapting case selected                                         inspect physical chip         make trial chip
         • process for learning new cases
                                                                                                         no                                   no
                                                                                              match?             computer adapts loadings          match?

                                                                                                   yes                                                 yes
                                                                                               End                  save in case base
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                    FormTool User Interface                                                        FormTool User Interface

     Menu Bar

     Match Color

     Match Curve
     Window                                                                                                                                                 Evaluation
                                                                                                                                                            of Formula

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                   The Color Lab (Selkirk NY)
                                                                                                                Case Selection
                                                                                    Selection is NOT just finding the most similar case

                                                                                    Best previous case meets all of the following attributes
                                                                                           Color must match under multiple lighting conditions
                                                                                           Pigments must hide the color of the plastic
                                                                                           The cost must be as low as possible
                                                                                           A limited amount of light can go through plastic
                                                                                           Color should not change when plastic is molded

                                                                                    The selection needs to provide a consistent meaning
                                                                                       throughout all attributes

                                                                                    The consistency is achieved by using linguistic terms, such as
                                                                                       Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, which are associated with
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                                                                                       measured differences in each attribute

                                                                      Page 2


                                              Case Selection                                                                                                        Case Selection

                       Cost                               Linguistic Value                                                                    Cost                        Linguistic Value
                    Excellent 0.95                                                                                           Excellent 0.95                                     Excellent 0.95
                       Good 0.75                                                                                               Good 0.75                                          Good 0.75

                           Fair 0.25                                                                                            Fair 0.25                                          Fair 0.25
                            Poor 0                                                                                               Poor 0                                             Poor 0
                                                             2     2.5             4                                                                 2         4     5      8                    5     8          15         20
                                                        Color Difference (E)                                                                        Blue Formula Cost ($/lb)                         Red Formula Cost ($/lb)
                                                                                                                              yellow-green        yellow
                          +b                                                                                                                  +b
                                +a                                                                                            green     -a gray +a                        Costs are different for different
               -a                                E=        (L1 -   L2)2   + (a1 -      a2)2   + (b1 -   b2)2                                                  red
                     -b                                                                                                                    -b
                                                                                                                                  blue               violet
13                         -L                                                                                           14

                                              Case Selection                                                                                                  Adaptation Needs
         Aggregation of Linguistic Terms                                                                                           1) A method to search for a better solution
                            Term                                 Value Weight                 Product                                    • Greedy search which modifies colorant loadings
         color match       Excel                                 .95    .2                       .18                                     • Modify each loading individually and test
         hide plastic      Good                                  .8     .2                       .16                                     • Select best modification
         cost              Good                                  .8     .2                       .16                              2) A good method to evaluate if you are closer to the
         light transmitted Excel                                 1      .2                       .20                              solution
         color change       Fair                                 .65    .2                       .13
            Total           Good                                                                 .83                                     The case selection calculation

                                                                                                                                        Green_332                  1.23               Green_332            1.65
                                                                                                                                        Yellow_102                 0.13               Yellow_102           0.13
                                                                                                                                        White_107                  .63                White_107            .78
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                                                                                                                                        Black_203                  .025               Black_203            .025

           What to do if there is no good case?                                                                                        What to do if there is no good case?
     Find patterns from case base that can guide heuristic                                                                                Start
                                                                                                                                 Read color requested
     For each color, what are most likely combinations
                                                         Colorant type         Colorant of that type
                                                         White                 Ivory, Pure, Bright                                 Retrieve Next Key
                                                         Black                 Coal, Midnight
                                white                    Red                   Crimson, Garnet, Wine, Fire
                                                         Orange                Orange, Pumpkin                                   Retrieve Next Colorant
                                 yellow                  Yellow                Canary, Lemon, Sunflower                               Combination
       yellow-green                           orange
       green         -a gray         +a       red                                                                                 Find best loadings
                        -b                               Formula Key      Colorants in each Key                                  using those colorants                     yes                   yes
     blue-green                                          Key1        White, Black, Red
                    blue             violet                                                                                                                                           no                     no
                                                         Key2        White, Black, Red, Yellow
                                                                                                                                                                            Another              Another
                                black                    Key3        White, Black, Red, Yellow, Orange                                Save best match                                                                  End
                                                                                                                                                                          Combination?            Key?
                                                         Key4        White, Black, Red, Orange
                                                         …                ...                                           18

                                                                                                               Page 3


                           FormTool - Benefits                                                                           Outline
                                                                                                Introduction to Color Matching
        • average number of test chips created decreased from 4.2 to 2.7                        FormTool - lab color matching tool
        • average reduction of 4.5 hours per color match
        • savings of $2.25 million per year                                                     ColorXpress - web customer tool
      Colorant Cost                                                                             Customer Innovation Center
        • reduced amount of colorants
        • cost part of selection algorithm                                                      ProductXpress - product selection and research
        • average of $2.4 million per year
      Global Consistency                                                                        Conclusion

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                               ColorXpress Select                                                     ColorXpress Select - Benefits
       Internet Color Matching and Ordering

       Customers use our pallet to select colors                                                  ColorXpress Select has been in use since 1999.

       Existing color samples delivered in 48 hours                                               It is one of the first customer service tools that GE
                                                                                                  Plastics has made available over the web.
        ColorXpress Web-site       Color Matching Process   Order Entry Process

                                                                                                  Simplified the process for customers to submit
                                                                                                  orders over the web.

                                                                                                  GE now leads the plastic industry in on-line sales.

             Step 1                       Step 2                Step 3

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                                       Outline                                                                  Innovation Center
                                                                                                  Brings together all information needed to select colors
     Introduction to Color Matching                                                                   • Chip room
     FormTool - lab color matching tool                                                               • FormTool
                                                                                                      • Small lot manufacturing
     ColorXpress - web customer tool                                                                  • Experienced color matchers
                                                                                                  Create custom color and effects in one day
     Customer Innovation Center
     ProductXpress - product selection and research

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                                                                                  Page 4


                    Innovation Center Video                                                              Outline
                                                                                      Introduction to Color Matching
                                                                                      FormTool - lab color matching tool
                                                                                      ColorXpress - web customer tool
                                                                                      Customer Innovation Center
                                                                                      ProductXpress - product selection and research
                               Click to Play

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           GE ProductXpress - In development                                                             Outline
                                                 Existing Solution                    Introduction to Color Matching
                                          or                                          FormTool - lab color matching tool
                                                                                      ColorXpress - web customer tool
                                                                 Solution             Customer Innovation Center
     Application          ProductXpress        Research
                           Wizard                                                     ProductXpress - product selection and research
     Specify all needs:    Search global       Search global                          Conclusion
        • color            knowledge base      knowledge base
        • thermal          of products         of experiments
        • molding
        • strength
        • etc.
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        One Possible CBR Project Life Cycle
            •   start as internal productivity tool
            •   expand to customer web tool
                                                                                                       The end
            •   allow greater customer interaction
            •   expand to a wider range of uses

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