RAL is actually a colour matching system used 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 utilized for varnish and powder coating but nowadays you can find reference panels for plastics as well. Approved RAL goods are furnished 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 use in reference to choose the right colour for painting using powder coat colours although other tools like RAL Colour Swabs and RAL Colour Control Cards tend to be more useful.
A RAL Colour Chart is ideal for hanging on the wall for general reference as well as for use when discussing power coating colours over the phone. However, they are not perfect for utilization in the workshop, especially when they are pinned towards the wall. This is where RAL Colour Swabs and Control Cards come in.
A RAL Shade Swab is keen on colour coated plastic with every fan detailing another RAL Tone & Colour. This fan is ideal for use within the task shop along with off site and also at a customers factory when discussing important powder coating decisions. The RAL Shade Swab can be put on an item to give a far more accurate representation in the intended finished powder coating in my opinion applied to the metal component. Most Swabs have several hundred colours to them offering a total range of colours, shades and tones available as powder coated finishes, as well as the RAL Swab will assist you to determine the preffered selection of powder coated finish.
However, the limitations in the RAL Shade & Colour Swabs are nearly as tight as the ones from the RAL Tone Charts pinned to the office wall. The little Swab tabs that are generally only 100mm long and 40mm wide usually do not offer an exact colour match, just a close representation. This is when a RAL Colour Control Card comes into play.
The Colour Control Card is a large specially prepared colour coated card prepared by the paint manufacturer. powder coating Colour Cards offer a ideal match from the manufacturers paint and may be kept as reference for later colour matching exercises. RAL Coating Cards are suitable for permanent colour references for technical documentation as well as legal contract referencing. Whilst all colours might vary slightly because of changing powder coating environments and respective nacmlk regimes, the Ral Shade Card is considered the definitive reference for paint matching against RAL Powder Coating Colours.
Ral Colour Swabs are available in the K7 format which shows 5 colours per fan finger, and therefore is a cheaper fan type and also the K5 which has more fan fingers each of which is focused on one particular RAL tone, shade or colour. Ral Colour Charts are for sale to purchase within 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 beneath the name of “RAL 840”. Prior to that date manufacturers and customers were required to exchange samples to explain a tint, whereas from then on they might count on numbers.
Within the 1930s the numbers were changed uniformly to four digits and also the collection was renamed to “RAL 840 R” (R for revised). With tints constantly added to the collection, it had been revised again in 1961 and changed to “RAL 840-HR”, which contains 210 colours and it is being used to this day. Within the 1960s the colours received supplemental names in order to avoid confusion in the event of transposed digits.
As “RAL 840-HR” covered only matte paint the 1980s saw the invention of “RAL 841-GL” for glossy surfaces, confined to 193 colours. A main criterion for colours within the RAL Classic collection will be of “paramount interest”. Therefore, the majority of the colours within it are utilized on warning and traffic signs or are dedicated to government agencies and public services (for example: RAL 1004 – Swiss Postal Service, RAL 1021 – Austrian Postal Service, RAL 1032 – German Postal Service).