Friday, February 27, 2015

What Color is that Dress?

The internet is bustling over a photo that is causing lots of controversy.

What color is this dress?
Photo from Tumblr user swiked

This photo was posted to Tumblr with a simple question: What color is this dress? Who would have thought it would become an internet sensation. 

There are two main responses: White with Gold or Blue with Black.

The true colors of the dress are blue and black. You can see the same dress below.

By using Photoshop, you can see what happens to the photo when you limit the light coming in from the background. The dress is starting to look like the professional photo. Light is an important aspect to how we see color. Our brains are good at correcting for the effects of lights. 
Photo from

The reason "the dress" looks white and gold in some pictures and it looks blue and black in other pictures is because colorants in the dress can behave differently under different lighting conditions. If a colorant appears to be the same color under different lighting conditions, then it has color consistency. We interpret the color of objects based on how we interpret the light around objects.

This is why when you match a tie to a shirt in the store and then you wear it outside it may mismatch. This phenomenon is called metamerism and the only way to prevent this from happening is to spectrally match the color. The color may not be color constant, but it will match in various illuminations.

Tell us what you see? White and Gold or Blue and Black?

Ron Beck
R&D Manager – Core Technologies, Americhem Inc.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Buzzing About NPE2015

It’s almost here: NPE2015. In just a few short weeks (or 34 days, but who’s counting?), the largest plastics show in North America will kick off in Orlando, Fla. Since the show is only held every three years, significant changes happen to the global economy and to the plastics industry between shows. In 2009 the show was characterized by declining attendance and fewer exhibitors at the height of the global economic crisis, while the 2012 show was upbeat with the recovering economy and a new show location (Orlando), Everyone is buzzing about the prediction of a  robust and exciting show in 2015.

Americhem has proudly exhibited at every NPE since 1988 – so NPE2015 will be our tenth show as an exhibitor. We even have an employee, national account manager Doug Croley, who has worked at every single Americhem booth since that time. Congratulations, Doug, on your upcoming 10th show.

The show takes place at a time of steady growth in the economy. Manufacturing in the U.S. is strong. 2014 witnessed the best performance from U.S. factories since 2010. Pundits predict that U.S. factories will outpace foreign plants since oil prices are falling and domestic job growth has boosted consumer spending. Favorable raw material costs seem to be benefitting companies at almost every link in the supply chain.

In fact, plastics industry insiders, like Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) President Bill Carteaux have stated that falling gas prices have “made U.S. plastics a competitive industry.”  We’re excited about the prospects of a great NPE show and look forward to hosting lots of customers and other visitors at our booth 24027 in the South Hall.

This year’s NPE has lots of special pavilions including NPE3D, which NPE is billing as a “show within a show.” This pavilion will feature everything you ever wanted to know about 3D printing, including a wide variety of working 3D equipment. Americhem has been working in this industry for some time now, and we will also feature a working 3D printer demonstration in our own booth.

The Zero Waste Zone will teach visitors how the industry is recycling, processing and using them in new products. The zone will also have demonstrations as well as a display of products created from recycled materials. It will also feature a self-directed educational tour conveying the recycling value chain and process.

Americhem is excited about all the possibilities this year’s show represents for our company and for our industry. The plastics industry is the U.S.’s third biggest manufacturing industry and we’re proud that it is going strong after all these decades. NPE will be a great place to celebrate and grow.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Vinyl Siding Institute and Americhem

Americhem as been a member of The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) since the institute’s inception. VSI started off in the 1960’s and at that time, they were a part of the Society of the Plastics Industry. Americhem was involved with the organization from the very beginning of the vinyl siding industry, which also started in the 1960s.

Americhem has played a key role in the coloring and color retention of vinyl siding. Former Director of Research Rick Mathew knew that color retention was going to be crucial in the industry’s foundation.

Based on his knowledge of color science, he knew that the numeric ΔE value, which measures the color difference between the initial color and the color of weathered siding, does not always agree with visual assessments of color difference.  Rick lead the industry in establishing hand drawn ellipses for multiple regions of color space that corresponded to a visual assessment of the limits of acceptable color change in siding after weathering.

Back in those days, in order to determine if a vinyl siding color was within the acceptable color change limits, Americhem employees made hand drawn ellipses for each of the vinyl siding color spaces, plotting the ΔE’s by hand. This was in the time before personal computers which now make such tasks much easier. The work done by Americhem helped establish a new standard in the industry, ASTM 3679. This specification establishes requirements and test methods for the materials, dimensions, warp, shrinkage, impact strength, expansion, appearance, and wind load resistance of extruded PVC siding. The weathering component of the standard was an appendix which remained in place until the late 90’s, when Americhem scientist Phil Ledgerwood urged the industry to move to mathematical equivalents of the hand drawn ellipses. This resulted in a new, easier method of determining if weathered panels met the color retention requirements.

Americhem has continued its contributions to VSI until the present day, including the introduction of CIEL*a*b* ΔE2000 as the method of choice for vinyl siding color retention over the previous Hunter Lab method. This move redefined what was acceptable and unacceptable in the industry.

Americhem employees have served on committees within the VSI, including several polypropylene task groups, the heat distortion committee and the life cycle analysis group. Beyond the organization, Americhem has helped dozens of vinyl siding manufacturers over the years to optimize their product offerings.

In 2005, Ledgerwood won the VSI’s Ken Mieure Award for distinguished service, which was one of the first awards given to an employee of an industry supplier (most past awards went to employees of vinyl siding makers.) The award was created in the late 1990s and recognizes extraordinary efforts of members in helping to build and advance the industry. 

We continue our active participation in VSI and recently, market segment manager Mike Fair was named to VSI’s board. Americhem’s contributions continue with our work in dark color spaces, where the goal is to prevent heat distortion, and in variegated products that simulate the look of natural wood grain. The VSI has served a valuable role in the industry by establishing standards and monitoring for the industry’s products. Many industries could benefit from following VSI’s model.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Colors with Meaning

At Americhem, color is our business. We work with color every day and we know what makes a good color. With our high color standards, we take a lot of care when choosing the colors to represent our company. We used a tool known as the Dewey Color System®, which is considered the world’s first statistically valid color test that utilizes extensive opinion testing to scientifically verify the common links between color and emotion. With this system, we were able to accurately choose company colors to convey our company values.

Navy Blue
Navy Blue expresses a sense of authority, stability, and efficiency. Over the past 73 years, Americhem has been established as an industry authority. We work hard to educate through our Americhem U  series of courses, to host presentations at industry trade shows, and to be an available resource for our customers.

Navy signifies a company that is stable and efficient and is depended on by its customers. Trust and acceptance from our customers are important. We consistently follow our company principles, holding ourselves to maintaining the highest of ethical and moral standards with our customers.

Sage Green
Sage Green indicates nature and wholesomeness. It represents Americhem’s dedication to being eco-friendly and preserving the natural environment. We recently attained ISO 14001 certification for our Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio plant. This distinction recognizes Americhem for environmental management solution dyeing process  that saves water and energy while eliminating waste material.
systems. We are also the leader of the eco-friendly solution dyeing process that saves water and energy while eliminating waste material.

Green generates a calming, relaxed mood and shows that a company is genuine, forthright, and sincere. Our ability to surpass the competition is dependent upon the collective drive and intellect of cohesive teams. We work in partnership with our customers to create the best available solutions.

Burnt Orange
Burnt Orange is the color chosen to accent our two main colors. While not part of our logo, burnt orange still plays an important part in our company image. It represents Americhem’s specialty in uncovering solutions to problems. Americhem is dedicated to being your problem solver. Some of Americhem’s best selling products came into being as a result of our responsiveness to a specific customer problem.  From idea to reality, we collaborate with our customers to overcome product design challenges and to meet exacting color and end use property specifications.

Orange embodies our innovative spirit and responsiveness to customer needs. Our research and development team are constantly working on polymeric research that leads to groundbreaking technologies  for our customers. We strive to improve our own efficiency and effectiveness to provide the best value and innovations to our customers.

Aubrey Barto
Marketing Assistant, Americhem Inc.