Although many people may think that achieving, the right color of a product is simple, in reality there is a sequence of very important of steps to follow in order to achieve the required color. We’ve already mentioned this in our recent article dedicated to our Romanian client, Benjamin Paints. Today we will see how to examine and check the color of molds and plastic components.

For an injection mold manufacturer, for example, finding defects in the color of an object represents a failure in quality control.  This results in the product being sold at a discounted price or even discarded, even before it is placed on the market.

That is why it is so important for the manufacturer to get the correct color.

Failure to achieve the correct color of a product before placing it on the market implies a wide range of issues that involve not only the economic aspect, but also puts the reputation and reliability of the brand at risk. Not to mention functionality issues:   for example when highly reflective colors that are required for certain applications, get unsatisfactory results.

Getting the colors right is essential, but how?

check the color of plastic components

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How can manufacturers check the color of molds and plastic components?

You may have already heard that colors are identified subjectively and emotionally. There is a lot of truth to this and precision work is at the base of it, by making sure that the color obtained is exactly the one specified.

Fortunately, technology has taken color measurement and control to the next level. While visual assessment is still the first step, there are tools like professional colour difference meters and color matching cabinets, that make color quality control much easier and more accurate.

But having state-of-the-art instruments isn’t the only step manufacturers need to take to get the right colors. Getting the best results involves a gradual process where every single detail has to be considered.

Here are some of the most important aspects that a manufacturer needs to achieve the best results:

Having a trained eye: visual inspection

As mentioned above, the first filter for color control is through visual inspection. When color differences are noticeable, having an expert eye that carries out this first inspection will save time and resources. However, when the differences become difficult for the eye to see, it is then necessary to use specific measuring instruments.

Using the right tools: colour difference meters and color matching cabinets

To check the color quality, the go-to instrument is the colour difference meter (see the article “Colour difference meter: what it is and why it is important”).

In some cases, a colorimeter is all you need.  However, there are some cases where tolerances require the highest level of accuracy possible or the nature of the product and the material used to manufacture it, require other types of instrumentation to be used. For example, a color matching cabinet can come in handy when a neutral environment with uniform light is required.

Color matching cabinet

How to use a colour difference meter and a color matching cabinet?

Having the best measuring instruments on the market is not enough, if you do not know how to use them correctly.

Having an expert eye for visual inspection coupled with training for correct instrument operation and correct interpretation of the results, makes a big difference in ensuring that the quality control process is 100% reliable.

Those who buy SAMA Tools name-brand measuring instruments will be guided step by step, via remote or in person, when they choose to combine our training courses with the purchase of an instrument.

On-site training courses for colour difference meters and color matching cabinets

Nowadays, many companies require training courses combined with the installation of the instruments/equipment, directly on-site, in order to fully understand how to use the tools effectively and straight away.

Our trained technicians explain how to use the colour difference meters in order to be able to compare the various components produced, with all the reference standards imposed by their customers, and thus identifying any delta deviations from the color values. This evaluation allows them to make all the necessary changes in order to ensure excellent quality while avoiding any kind of dispute.

However, many sectors work a lot with translucent objects, which is why it is imperative to have a color matching cabinet as well.

The cabinet allows you to recreate a neutral environment with uniform light, where the tested components are not affected by anything around them.

Thanks to our courses, the instrument features are explained in every detail, allowing for a better assessment of the differences between the various colors, mainly in transparent molds, which are hardly visible to the naked eye.

Our customers can thus ascertain whether the production is in line with the required standards, or not.

Training course

SAMA Tools colour difference meter and Color matching cabinet training course

After the training course, instrument adjustment and periodic calibration.

As human beings, we are not perfect. Even when well prepared, human error is present, so establishing clear procedures for how to take measurements is essential to minimize human error.

Furthermore, each certified company can guarantee higher quality thanks to specific procedures.

Not only people, but measuring instruments can also sometimes be wrong, which means that periodic calibration and adjustments should be included in these procedures.

Quality control in molding

Many S.A.M.A. Italia clients work in the field of molds and plastic components.  These are often activities within the automotive and household appliances sectors.

To fulfil their mission, they work hard to find accurate and reliable tools that can improve and optimize the work surrounding quality control.

Our customers carry out quality control inspections in order to understand how much the colors of their productions differ from the reference standards dictated by the orders they receive.

SAMA Tools and color control of plastic molds

Companies that rely on us as their main supplier of instruments for their quality control activities, always receive professional advice from our qualified technicians who analyse their production to better understand what their specific needs are.

After this preliminary consultation, which is included in our service, customers  who are interested in color measurement and control generally, purchase the SA230 colorimeter and / or the SACAS276 color matching cabinet.

Technical consultant to check the color

SAMA Tools Consulting and technical explanation

How to reach us

In addition to color quality control instruments, we offer a wide range of non-destructive testing tools for a variety of applications.

Buying a SAMA Tools name-brand instrument gives you the security of being able to choose, at any time, the right training for your Quality Control, without wasting time.

Customer satisfaction is our main goal and we would be more than happy to see you become one.

So, if you need help choosing your color quality control instruments, you can always count on our technical advice.

Contact our technical department and call us at 0584/392342 – 0584/392453 or, alternatively, fill out the online form to contact us in writing.


In a survey among LinkedIn users, we asked different professionals whether they used hardness testers in their line of work.

We received 126 answers as described here below:

44% YES
23% NO
33% used them in the past.

Of course, hardness testers are not all the same. And each one is suitable for a specific application. We invite you to keep reading to learn more about these non-destructive testing instruments.Click here to check the Linkedin poll.

Linkedin - survey

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What are hardness testers?

According to the famous encyclopedia Britannica, a hardness tester is a “device that indicates the hardness of a material, usually by measuring the effect on its surface of a localized penetration by a standardized rounded or pointed indenter of diamond, carbide, or hard steel.”

Simply put, hardness testers are non-destructive testing instruments that allow you to determine, based on the applicable standard, the value of hardness of different materials, including, but not limited to:

  • Steels and steel alloys
  • Aluminum and aluminum alloys
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Plastic
  • Thermoplastic elastomers
hardness measure on material

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How is hardness measured?

The typical hardness test involves an object called indenter which is pressed on and into the surface of the material being tested.

The indenter must have specific dimensions and must be loaded with a specific pressure depending on the type of tester.

Afterwards, the hardness is determined by measuring the depth of the penetration or the area of the indentation. Measuring one or the other will depend on the type of hardness test being performed. The most common ones include:

  • Leeb hardness test
  • Rockwell hardness test
  • Vickers hardness test
  • Brinell hardness test
  • Shore hardness test

Why is hardness testing so important?

Knowing the hardness of the materials used on a piece or structure is important for various reasons. First of all, hardness testing allows you to assess important properties such as strength, ductility and wear resistance.

Therefore, with the information obtained, it is easy to determine whether the material is suitable for the application at hand or not and whether further surface treatment is necessary to achieve the desired results.

Also, it can be used to verify the quality of the material and determine if maintenance is required.

What are the different types of hardness testers?

As mentioned above, there are different hardness testers for different applications. So, let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Leeb Hardness Testers

As the name suggests, these testers are based on the Leeb hardness test as defined in the ISO 16859 and ASTM A956 standards. It is a dynamic test method where the ratio of rebound velocity to impact velocity of a moving impact body is used to determine the hardness.

Leeb hardness testers are usually employed for testing various metals and alloys, and they are a great choice when checking incoming and outgoing goods, for quality control activities, and maintenance of structures and workpieces subject to wear.

Here at SAMA Tools, we offer 3 different Leeb hardness tester models :

  • Leeb hardness tester SAP180, with D type impact probe and a test block.
  • Touchscreen Leeb hardness tester SAP550, with touchscreen display and a wireless printer for printing reports on the go, which is great for quality control activities on the field.
  • Pen type Leeb hardness tester SAP650, a compact and highly accurate tester with automatic detection of impact direction with a wireless interface.
Leeb hardness tester – SAP180

In photo: user with Leeb hardness tester – SAP180

Barcol Hardness Testers

Similar to the previous type, these instruments are named after the hardness test that they perform, the Barcol test.

This test is usually used on softer materials such as aluminum, aluminum alloys and some plastics. It was previously known as Barber-Colman Impressor since Walter Colman developed this test as a portable method during the World War II.

The process uses the indenter or “impressor” to press on the material and measure how deep the tip of it penetrates.

We offer 2 Barcol hardness tester models :

  • Analogue Barcol hardness tester
  • Digital Barcol hardness tester

In photo: uder with Digital barcol hardness testers – SABA934P

Webster Hardness Testers

This simple model of hardness testers allows to measure the hardness of soft materials such as soft steels, aluminum, brass and copper. Moreover, it can be applied on different geometries and very small thickness values.

The values obtained can be easily converted to the common scales, including Vickers, Rockwell and Brinell.

We offer 3 versions of the Webster hardness tester:

  • SAMW-20
  • SAMW-20a
  • SAMW-20b

The main difference is the range of thickness and diameter they can be applied on.

Webster hardness testers – SAMW

In photo Webster hardness testers – SAMW

Shore Hardness Testers

Shore hardness is defined as the resistance of a material to penetration from a spring-loaded needle-like indenter.

By definition, we can easily conclude that the process to perform a hardness test with a Shore hardness tester is very similar to the one with the Barcol tester.

There are different scales for Shore testing,  the most common ones being the Shore A scale for soft elastomers like rubber, and Shore D for hard elastomers and other polymers like thermoplastics and thermosets. This makes Shore hardness testers a great option for quality control activities in rubber and plastics industries and for maintenance on ring nuts and gaskets.

We offer 3 different versions of the Shore hardness testers:

  • Analogue Shore Hardness Testers
  • Digital Shore Hardness Testers
  • Pro Digital Shore Hardness Testers

The last one in the list is the most powerful of all, since it can handle more than the two scales mentioned above, and it comes with many other interesting features.

We also offer special stands for more accurate and repeatable results, and Shore test blocks for verification and calibration purposes.

Multifunctions shore digital hardness testers – SA6610

In photo: user with Multifunctions shore digital hardness testers – SA6610

Bench Hardness Testers

The most specialized hardness testers in the market are usually bench hardness testers, since they offer a higher accuracy and repeatability. Therefore, they are the favorite option for metrological laboratories and applications which require the maximum of these two aspects.

These testers work with the indentation principle by applying a constant load over a specific period of time on an indenter which is in contact with the sample. They can use indenters of different sizes, shapes and materials, thus providing the possibility to work with different standards and scales with the same device.

We offer 5 versions of bench hardness testers, some of them are manually operated and others which are motorized. The versions are:

  • SAB150-B which is manual, analogue and works with Rockwell A, B and C
  • SAB150-BM which is motorized, analogue and works with Rockwell A, B and C
  • SAB150-B/DGT which is manual, digital and works with Rockwell A, B and C
  • SAB150-BM/DGT which is motorized, digital and works with Rockwell A, B and C
  • SAB187,5-B which is motorized, analogue and works with Rockwell A, B and C, Brinell and Vickers hardness scales. It comes with a microscope.

All of our bench hardness testers come with a diamond cone indenter and corresponding test blocks.

Rockwell bench hardness testers – SAB150

In photo: Rockwell bench hardness testers – SAB150

So, which hardness tester is used the most?

According to the poll, most of the participants who claim to use it or have used it in the past, say they have used the bench hardness tester. This is followed by users of shore hardness testers and Leeb hardness testers. Last but not least are the Webster and Barcol hardness testers.

The most common answers to what it was used for:

  • Inspection on workpieces after hardening to ensure durability.
  • Controling of incoming goods.
  • Recognizing the hardness of the material to be welded.
quality control

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How can I select the best hardness tester for my needs?

When selecting the best hardness tester for your needs, there are different things to consider. The most important are:

  • Type of material tested
  • Requirement of standard compliance
  • Material’s approximate hardness
  • Sample size and geometry
  • Mounting requirement
  • Number of samples to be tested
  • Required accuracy and repeatability
contact us form

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If you want to see all the hardness testers that we offer and  select the right one for your needs, just click here.

Instead, if you are not sure yet or have any doubts about hardness testers, we recommend  you contact us and one of our specialists will gladly assist you.

Video summary: Portable or bench hardness testers? The challenge



How is it possible to be sure that the same object does not present colour differences?
We discover it in this article, read on because today we talk about the main colour measurement instrument: the colour difference meter.
You will understand all its features and you can see it in action in the video we made for you.

What is a colour difference meter?

The colour difference meter is a device used to measure chromatic differences, which allows performing accurate measurements of differences between all colour types of the same material, according to the international standards.


[Video] Do you need a colour difference meter – color meter?


Objects’ colour

Design colour’s choice is extremely important, even if is quite subjective.

Colours arouse emotions and this particular emotion may differ from person to person.

Studying how colours influence people is a real kind of business.

The simple change of a tone or a saturation is enough to arouse completely different feels.

Moreover even cultural differences should be considered, because what means happiness somewhere, could means sadness in somewhere else.

Our Logo, for instance, RED and BLUE show different meanings between Orient and Occident.

• Occident: excitement, love, passion
• Orient: wedding dress, joy

• Occident (Europe): relaxation, confidence
• Orient: sadness, depression, wedding tradition, prudence

Colour perception

What is really important for any producer is to be able to reproduce the chosen colour without facing the risk of visual errors.

Light, object and observer are three essential components in colour perception.

The variation of one of these three components changes inevitably the colour perception.

In the event that light and observer do not change, the object will define the observer’s colour perception.

The object can influence colour perception because his reflective surfaces (transmittance surfaces) modulate the spectrum of the light source.

Each object has several reflectivity surfaces, these one are modified by the light source obtaining various results.

The same observer, but different colours perceived.

The colour difference meter help us to measure chromatic differences.



Calibration report for the colour difference meter

An optional service for the colour difference meter is the calibration report.

It is a document edited by metrological laboratories that insures that the test has been made with reference to national acknowledged samples.

The technical worthiness of these documents is based on the laboratory’s qualification, on the operator’s expertise and by the metrological procedures employed.


Application fields

Colour difference meters are able to operate on plastic, metal, printings and painted surfaces.

They are mainly employed to perform quality checks on incoming and outgoing goods.

How the colour difference meter works?

The colour difference meter operating principle is based on the measurement of chromatic aspects of the light that arrives on the surfaces from any source, directly or indirectly.

Suitable for intermediate stages analysis in producing materials such as:

  1. Clothes
  2. Building
  3. Interior design
  4. Plastics
  5. Paints
  6. Facings
  7. Porcelains



It is a perfect device to be used for field measurement.





It is used to check chromatic differences between samples of the same material in a fast and accurate way.


Would you like more information or assistance?

If you are looking for further information on a specific color meter model or want to know more, contact our technical department. You can call us at 0584/392342 – 0584/392453 or, alternatively, book an appointment for a video meeting.


The difference between gloss and brightness is that gloss is (uncountable) a surface shine or luster/lustre, while brightness is the quality of being bright.

The glossmeter performs measurement on flat surfaces and operate like a refractometer.
Gloss and brightness of a particular surface is measured in “Gloss” and it is an optical property, based on the relationship between light and the physical characteristics of the surface, which means the surface capacity to reflect light in a specular way.

Gloss importance

Brightness is one of the most important parameters of a surface, because it can alter the perception of profiles and shapes, influencing the visual experience.

Brightness acts on the surfaces according to different aspects: angle of incidence of light, observer position, physical properties of surface and observation conditions.

This parameter plays a key role in several production sectors where metrological instruments are relevant in order to standardise the quality control.

Brightness measurement was consolidated according to international methods approved by ASTM, DIN e ISO.

Basic physical principle for gloss measurement

When a light source radiates a surface undergoes a double effect: partly dispersed, partly reflected with opposite angle but with equal amplitude, with respect to the initial radiation.

The brightness of a surface is calculated according to this specular reflection.

This last element determines the gloss level of a surface.

Specular reflection intensity is determined by the material and angle of incidence of the illuminating measured according to certain conditions.

Measurement scale

Values are conventionally expressed in units of gloss (GU : gloss units) and they refer to a scale based on the index of refraction of a black glass mirror with a reflection 100GU in relation to a specific angle.

All non-metallic materials, such as paints or plastics, can have a value associated to this data, while for highly reflective metal surfaces, such as laminates and other crude materials, the user can measure get up to 2000GU.

Geometry Types – When and Which one to Choose?

Gloss meters are divided into two types, mono-angle (60°) and tri – angle (20°/60°/85°).

To have more angular references of the illuminant allows improving measurement accuracy according to the level of brightness of the surface.


• Measurements at 20° are more indicated for very bright surfaces;
• Measurements at 60° are more indicated for medium bright surfaces;
• Measurements at 85° allow to obtain optimized values for little bright surfaces.

60° geometry is widely used thanks to its range of median use, however it is recommended to refer to 20° value for measurements above the 70GU, while 85° is preferred for measurements under 10GU.

Example: Measurement of the specular brightness of a painting film

The moment we are going to paint a wall, we need to decide even about the finish: matt, satin or glossy?

Colour can change according to the brightness grade.

EN ISO 2813 provides for the use of the gloss meter to measure the mirror brightness of a painting film.

Caparol Media, the web portal for colour, decoration, isolation and restoration, shows us in 5 steps how to make measurements.


1. Prepare the sample to be measured by applying a paint film and let it dry at 23°C and with 50 % UR;
2. Wait 16 hours for conditioning at constant temperature and RH rate;
3. Calibrate the gloss meter
4. Repeat the measurement six times in different positions, in a parallel and perpendicular direction to the drafting of the film;
5. Calculate the average of measured values and identify the reference ranges.


Upon request, we can carry out calibration report on the whole instrument or on the different angles (20°-60°-85°).

Which are the 5 strength points of the 3 angles digital glossmeter by Sama Tools?

  • Attractive design
  • Compact size
  • Three-angle geometry of the lamp
  • High-precision
  • Ideal for quality control on production line or in the field

Thanks to the master supplied with the instrument, calibration could be performed in few seconds.

The 3 detection geometries, respectively 20°, 60° and 85° allow maximum flexibility of use, covering low, medium and high brightness surfaces.



Glossmeter applications:

– Brightness measurement of ink, paints, sealing wax prints.
– Cladding and processed wood products
– Decorative building materials: marble, granite, glass, glass blocks, etc.
– Plastics or papers

Who was the inventor of the glossmeter?

According to Wikipedia, the first one who realize an instrument for brightness measurement (of paper) was Ingersoill in 1914.

The “Glarimeter” (as it was initially called), was based on the principle that light was polarized in a specular way.

The light was incident at an angle of 57.5 ° and employed a contrast method to subtract the specular component from the reflected light with a polarizing element.


What is a Gauge block?

The Gauge block consists in a parallelepiped, which works to obtain two opposing parallel faces, spaced apart by a precise altitude (nominal thickness).
These Gauge blocks are also called Johansson blocks, in honour of the Swedish Carl Edvard Johansson, who certified them.


The beginning of modern industry

Even if the inventor’s history is not well known, his gauge blocks created the modern industry, making the present day mass production possible.

Around 1890, he started to work in the Carl Gustafs Stads’ rifles factory in Eskilstuna, where he became Chief Inspector.

His main task was to verify different metrological instruments employed in weapons manufacture, which was the first mass production of that time.

The weapons manufacture requires a great precision, so that each part should have the same sizes.

In 1897 Johansson created his first gauge blocks’ set, but his fight to obtain the Swedish patent lasted up until 1904, while the English one was obtained two years before.

In 1903 his invention received a silver during an exposition in Paris.

In 1923 he moved on the USA being taken by Henry Ford, the car’s inventor.

In the lobby of Ford’s firm there was a glass furniture with a British Encyclopaedia together with a Johansson’s gauge blocks set.

Both were very significant in Ford’s opinion, so he trusted CE Johansson a lot.




Johnson’s gauge blocks box

Gauge blocks are rarely used alone, they are usually bought and used in series with several pieces.


Kit shows different size blocks, creating several calipers throughout arithmetical combinations.

Johnson’s ACCREDIA gauge blocks

SAMA tools’ gauge blocks are made up of particular steel and are employed as “primary reference standards” in order to calibrate and control other blocks, other equipment or to check working operations.

Quality control in precision machining industry? Read this post

Purchase of gauge blocks

If you are considering buying gauge blocks, we have good news! SAMA Tools also manufactures and distributes measuring instruments for mechanics.

These include various types of blocks such as:

  • Steel gauge blocks set
  • Single steel gauge blocks
  • Ceramic gauge blocks set
  • Accessories for gauge blocks

Access now the section dedicated to gauge blocks and ask for a quotation. Our technicians will answer you quickly and you can ask questions to clear any doubts.

With our free pre-sales assistance, we drastically reduce or cancel incorrect orders every day.

This means for our customers avoiding production stops, wasting time and money. For us, at SAMA Italia, on the other hand, it means having satisfied customers who are happy to share positive feedback, such as that of Effegibi, the Italian manufacturer of steam baths and saunas that exports all over the world. Each item is subjected to qualitative checks both from an aesthetic and functional point of view. The Company carries out tests with equipment calibrated to predetermined thermal and electrical values in compliance with the strictest regulations in force.

In SAMA I have found very competent, helpful and kind people.

Orlando Gozzi