RAL is actually a colour matching system found in Europe which is created and administrated by the German RAL gGmbH (RAL non-profit LLC), that is a subsidiary of the German RAL Institute. In colloquial speech RAL means the RAL Classic system, mainly employed for varnish and powder coating but nowadays you will find reference panels for plastics as well. Approved RAL products are supplied with a hologram as of early 2013 to make unauthorised versions hard to produce. Imitations may show different hue and colour when observed under various light sources.
RAL Colour Charts are perfect for utilization in reference to choose an appropriate colour for painting using powder coat colours although other tools such as RAL Colour Swabs and RAL Colour Control Cards tend to be more useful.
A RAL Colour Chart is great for hanging on the wall for general reference as well as for use when discussing power coating colours over the telephone. However, they are certainly not perfect for use within the workshop, especially should they be pinned to the wall. Here is where RAL Colour Swabs and Control Cards are available in.
A RAL Shade Swab is a fan of colour coated plastic with every fan detailing a different RAL Tone & Colour. This fan is great for utilization in the work shop along with off site and also at a customers factory when discussing important powder coating decisions. The RAL Shade Swab may be placed with an item to give a more accurate representation from the intended finished powder coating for me placed on the metal component. Most Swabs have several hundred colours on them offering an entire variety of colours, shades and tones available as powder coated finishes, and also the RAL Swab will help you to determine the preffered selection of powder coated finish.
However, the limitations from the RAL Shade & Colour Swabs are almost as tight as the ones from the RAL Tone Charts pinned towards the office wall. The tiny Swab tabs that are generally only 100mm long and 40mm wide do not present an exact colour match, only a close representation. This is when a RAL Colour Control Card comes into play.
The Colour Control Card is actually a large specially prepared colour coated card prepared through the paint manufacturer. powder coating Colour Cards give you a perfect match up against the manufacturers paint and may be kept as reference for later colour matching exercises. RAL Coating Cards are compatible with permanent colour references for technical documentation along with legal contract referencing. Whilst all colours might vary slightly as a result of changing powder coating environments and respective nacmlk regimes, the Ral Shade Card is regarded as the definitive reference for paint matching against RAL Powder Coating Colours.
Ral Colour Swabs can be found in the K7 format which shows 5 colours per fan finger, and therefore is really a cheaper fan type and also the K5 which includes more fan fingers each of that is focused on one particular RAL tone, shade or colour. Ral Colour Charts are available for purchase over the C&S Processing website at great rates.
In 1927 the German Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung (Imperial Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance) invented a selection of forty colours underneath the name of “RAL 840”. Just before that date manufacturers and customers were required to exchange samples to explain a tint, whereas from that point on they would rely on numbers.
Within the 1930s the numbers were changed uniformly to four digits as well as the collection was renamed to “RAL 840 R” (R for revised). With tints constantly included in the collection, it was revised again in 1961 and changed to “RAL 840-HR”, which includes 210 colours and is used to this day. Inside the 1960s the colours received supplemental names in order to avoid confusion in the case of transposed digits.
As “RAL 840-HR” covered only matte paint the 1980s saw the invention of “RAL 841-GL” for glossy surfaces, limited to 193 colours. A main criterion for colours in the RAL Classic collection is going to be of “paramount interest”. Therefore, most of the colours inside it are used on warning and traffic signs or are focused on government agencies and public services (for example: RAL 1004 – Swiss Postal Service, RAL 1021 – Austrian Postal Service, RAL 1032 – German Postal Service).