In addition to providing training in the area of instrument-based colour and white measurements, the Hohenstein Institute in Bönnigheim has recently begun to offer visual colour analysis training for employees. These education training courses can make a ‘visible’ difference in quality control. Besides the paper and plastics industry, importers, retailers as well as the automotive industry, the training courses are first of all directed at the textile industry – here they can for example help to improve the purchasing control in the field of military textiles.

As an important aspect of quality assurance in textile industry, colour consistency is vital, especially when it comes to military clothes. Textiles equipped with camouflage colours or IR-reflection always need to fulfill the standards in order to guarantee optimal combat performance and should therefore underlie strict quality control. For this reason, the Hohenstein Institute offers courses for employees. The courses specialise on the detection of possible colour perception impairments, training in visual colour analysis, and training in the use of instrumental checks for quality assurance.

Having employees who are trained in visual inspections may prevent expensive complaints. However, not all employees are suited to conduct visual colour analysis due to their visual capacities. Approximately 8% of men and 0.5% of women have an impaired colour perception capacity, which generally appears as the so-called red-green blindness. Depending on the extent of the blindness, individuals, for example, are not able to differentiate between green and red colour tones, which can pose a big problem in quality assurance activities.

Therefore, the Hohenstein Institute uses the Farnsworth Munsell Hue 100 test to exclude any colour perception problems. This test requires individuals to configure 85 colour plates according to the colour wheel. Deviations from the configuration of colour samples are analysed by experts on a computer, and provide information about a participant’s potentially colour perception impairment.

Participants with sufficient visual capacities then can be trained for colour analysis by Hohenstein specialists to safely detect visually detectable colour deviations. One of the essential aspects of profound quality assurance is for example the use of standard light conditions.

In addition to these visual training courses, the Hohenstein Institute offers workshops on instrumental checks of the chromaticity and IR-reflection of different textile materials, for example desert combat dresses or multi-terrain combat clothing. These are usually equipped with common camouflage patterns consisting of three / four colours, mostly in soil- or olive tones, which must conform to given specifications. The specific chromatic coordinates, which define the colour, can be checked by using the spectral photometer.

By resembling the surrounding nature, the right colour sample can reduce the soldiers visibility to the enemy and thereby improve the soldiers performance on the field. Especially at night missions or in dark operational areas, a high level of non-visibility to night-vision devices using IR is required. Textiles with low IR-reflection or materials that absorb IR, reliably checked by the spectral photometer, can thus add to successful mission accomplishment.

Training on visual colour analysis and instrumental checks is offered at the Hohenstein Institute in Bönnigheim, near Heilbronn, and is also available as part of on-site workshops at interested companies. In addition to that, all mentioned checks are also available as a service provided by Hohenstein experts to military customers.