Datacolor and Hesse-Lignal Have Developed A Unique Color Mixing System For Colored Wood Stains and Varnishes Providing Solutions, Not Just Products


The color formulation software Datacolor MATCH™ AFX significantly reduces the time, cost and resources needed for the development of color stains and varnishes


We not only strive to meet our customers’ expectations, but to exceed them.” This is the credo for both Datacolor and Hesse-Lignal, and also a key objective and driving force in everything they do.


Both companies look to be the best possible business partners for their customers and to provide solutions rather than just products. With the color mixing system for wood stains and varnishes, consisting of a spectrophotometer from Datacolor and the color formulation software Datacolor MATCH™ AFX, the partners have developed a system with which the formulation and correction of stains and varnishes can be completed quickly and easily. This solution is currently the only one of its kind worldwide.


Wood, a material that provides a comfortable, cozy feeling in the home, is becoming more and more popular, and colored woods are increasingly being used in living areas. Architects, interior designers and furniture designers are increasingly using color and the natural appearance of woods in combination with other materials. What’s more, customers as well as designers want to have total freedom in terms of color selection, in order to allow their creativity free rein. In line with this trend, colorful stained woods have become highly popular as design elements, for both interior and exterior areas. Up until now, however, the development of colored wood stains involved an enormous amount of time and high material costs.


The different types of wood, with their own specific characteristics such as age, density and tannin content, pose a challenge for all colorists. The tight cell structure of latewood can, for example, store more tannic acid and is therefore stain more intensely than earlywood. The varying levels of penetration depth of the color pigments with their differing thickness, as well as numerous other factors, also have an effect on the staining result. The technological requirements for the dyeing of wood 1 thus do not apply for wood 2. As a result of this, individual concentration series are required for each surface (with its specific properties) when calculating the stain color recipes, meaning the colorist must generate a large number of samples and possess a great deal of expertise. In addition, for each new wood that appears on the market, the color development process must be repeated, as it is not possible to use existing calibration series.


With the color formulation software Datacolor MATCH™ AFX, this process is simplified and shortened considerably. Production processes can be optimized quickly and easily. Well-arranged buttons and a user-friendly interface make the system easy to use for all users.Within seconds, the perfect recipe can be generated for colored wood stains or glazes. This saves an enormous amount of time, money and resources.


For Hesse-Lignal, a leading manufacturer of wood coatings, customer orientation has the highest priority. “To be successful in the market over the long run, it is absolutely necessary to develop products and services that focus on customers’ needs,” according to Beate Hesse, one of the three Manager Directors at Hesse-Lignal. “We guarantee quality and first-class service. Responding quickly to customers’ needs is extremely important to us. Our cooperation with Datacolor in developing a color formulation system, which can simplify and shorten our color development process, is perfectly aligned with our goals. The long development time has definitely paid off. The use of Datacolor MATCH™ AFX results in a significant improvement throughout the entire process. We can thus react more quickly to color trends in the market and the needs of our customers.”


The basis for the breakthrough was the development of a new recipe formulation algorithm. SmartMatch technology has been used for years to greatly improve the quality of initial color formulation. It was only with the development of AxisSmartMatch, however, that it became possible to use this solution with great success for highly absorbent surfaces and translucent or transparent coatings. By using this technology, the number of samples needed to identify and calibrate the color on wood surfaces is reduced by up to 80%, leading to significant time and resource savings. The preparatory work is drastically reduced with a simultaneous improvement in accuracy and process efficiency. The ability to be able to describe the characteristics of surfaces (substrates), which influence the effect of colorants and thus the appearance, with so few color samples brings scientific accuracy to a process that was previously a process of trial and error. Hesse-Lignal and Datacolor have combined outstanding color measurement technology with color science and production expertise, thus developing the most exact and efficient color formulation solution for colored wood stains and glazes on various wood types. This solution is currently the only one of its kind worldwide.


Hesse-Lignal is convinced about the capabilities of this color formulation system. “We develop all of our recipes with MATCH™ AFX,” confirmed Beate Hesse. “The software is even used in our depots. We developed a simplified SHOP version for this purpose together with Datacolor.”


Data color Case Studies Hesse Lingnal


“The installation of the system in stores did not pose any problems, and our dealers now have far more options in relation to the provision of advice and the sale of wood stains and varnishes.”


As a manufacturer, Hesse-Lignal – as well as their dealers in depots – can respond to individual customer needs and provide any desired color tone in the required quantity. Even repairs or additions are possible later on. The existing sample is measured using a mobile measuring device – this is completed directly on site for large or non-transportable items, such as cabinets or doorframes. Changes to the hue, which may arise due to different wood batches or aging, are taken into account during measurement. Afterwards, the measuring device is simply connected to a PC and the measurement is transferred with the click of a button. The desired hues can then be formulated and corrected. By directly controlling the paste mixing system, the stored hue cards can be dosed and corrected directly. The appropriate hue is then provided in the desired amount, with little effort. This is a service that customers value highly!


About Hesse-Lignal


Since setting up in 1910 Hesse-Lignal has produced lacquers and stains for interiors. Customers are industrial manufacturers as well as the companies from the carpentry trade. Quality has made Hesse-Lignal the market leader in Germany and one of three biggest manufacturers of lacquers and stains in Europe. Their products are produced following the latest recipes and unite standardised quality with easy and safe processing. The most modern manufacturing plants enable the company to produce about 100 tonnes of lacquers and stains based on approx. 40,000 recipes every day. Hesse-Lignal employs approx. 450 employees and has a very extensive product range, solvent free as well as aqueous environmentally minded systems, and last but not least, of course, their Potterra qualities which are produced exclusively from natural renewable raw materials.


About Datacolor


Datacolor is a global leader in color management solutions and color communication technology. The world’s leading brands, manufacturers, creative professionals and consumers, have been choosing Datacolor’s innovative technology and solutions to consistently achieve the right color for 40 years. A Swiss-held company, Datacolor’s global presence encompasses a sales, service and support network serving customers in more than 65 countries throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia, along with 13 worldwide operation and production facilities. This combination has given the company an intimate understanding of its core markets and how they depend on color, thus allowing Datacolor to provide cost-effective solutions to manage color globally throughout its customers’ workflows – enabling them to realize their vision, save time, improve quality, reduce costs, and excite their customers. Industries served include apparel and textile, paint and coatings, automotive, plastics, photography, digital imaging, home theater, ink, printing, paper, leather and others.




Walter Franz, Global Sales Director Industrial Business Unit, Datacolor


Gabriele Hiller, Hiller Direct Marketing


Beate Hesse, Managing Director, Hesse GmbH Co. KG


Images: Datacolor, Hesse-Lignal, Dreamstime (