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    ​Colorant c​alibration:
    The key to your bottom line and your ROI.

    By Mike Sherman, Mulchologist, Colorbiotics ​

    I do calibrations every year for many customers, and for various reasons. No matter why we’re doing the calibration, one result is the same: The producer gains the data and tools needed to make adjustments that control costs and help them hit desired ROI numbers.

    Why perform colorant calibrations?

    Gain Efficiencies

    Hit financial and quality targets with calibrated colorant and hit water rate targets, including improvements in coverage and mulch weights.

    Understand Equipment

    Better understand your colorant equipment for a smoother and more cost-effective process.

    Train Operators

    Operators learn how to get repeatable results and improve accountability.

    All systems benefit from calibration.

    Calibrations can and need to be done on every kind of coloring system: stand alone, grinder, trommel and batch mixers. During a calibration exercise, I divide my focus into the three main elements of the coloring process: Output, Colorant, Water.

    Output is imperative.

    It’s critical to understand the output of the colorant system. With most systems, if the fiber is the same and machine is fed the same, the throughput of the machine is the same. But, you must know the specific output number in terms of cubic yards per hour. I use my experience and expertise to help my customers calculate machine output. This is imperative because color and water rates are impossible to calculate without knowing output.

    Colorant helps determine quality.

    Colorant can be viewed as the producer’s investment in the quality of the finished product. This number is first determined as a cost per yard. Then, it’s converted into the amount of colorant to use per yard that aligns with cost per yard. Finally, it’s converted to pounds of color injected into the colorant process per minute that aligns to the output of the system.

    Water is the carrier.

    Water is the diluent and carrier of the colorant so it can spread over all the fiber’s surface. Water has the most variability of these three elements, and several outside factors can impact the amount of water required in gallons per yard. These factors can be 1.) moisture present in fiber source, 2.) grind size, 3.) amount of fines, 4.) ambient temperatures and 5.) efficiency of the colorant system.

    See what colorant calibration can do for you.

    Successful calibration gives both the owner and operators a thorough understanding of calibration purposes, and of specific numbers for output, colorant and water rates. With this important data, the producer is well equipped to make adjustments that will help control costs and hit desired ROI numbers.​​​​

    Comparison of Sahara X3 Before and After Calibration

    Output Color
    Before Calibration 300 yds/hr 20 lbs/min
    4 lbs/yd
    75 gal/min
    15 gal/yd
    After Calibration 275 yds/hr 13.75 lbs/min
    3 lbs/yd
    59.6 gal/min
    13 gal/yd​