WHAT IS THE RAL COLOUR MATCHING SYSTEM?
The RAL Colour Matching System is a well known and commonly used system that helps with colour matching for paints, plastics and other coatings, such as vinyl.
The RAL system is of German origin, and stands for Reichs-Ausschuss für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung. This translates as “Reich Committee for Delivery and Quality Assurance”, and provides a standardisation system for coloured products.
There are different ranges, with a commonly referenced set in Europe being the “Classic” range, which is based on paints.
RAL RANGES AND RAL COLOUR CHARTS
You may be familiar with RAL colour charts. These are fan decks which list the colour name, code and show a swatch of the colour.
Using a specific range, such as the “Classic” range which is common in Europe, you can match materials from different suppliers.
There are other ranges too, including RAL Design, RAL Plastics and RAL Effects. RAL Design is a larger collection of colours, whilst RAL Plastics are, as the name suggests, colours for plastic materials. RAL Effects are metallic colours based on acryllic paint application.
Each range has a colour chart with a specific number of colours within it. For example, RAL Classic has 213 colours to choose between, whilst RAL Design has 1625 colours.
HOW DO I USE THE RAL COLOUR MATCHING SYSTEM?
The RAL Colour Matching System gives colours a specific 4 digit code, and a name, such as “Oyster White”.
The RAL Colour system allows you to match different products from different suppliers to the same colour.
When looking at products, see if a RAL colour is referenced. These will be in the following example formats in English:
- RAL 1028 (Melon Yellow)
- RAL 5021 (Water Blue)
Remember, don’t use a screen image or photo to try and match colours to RAL charts as they won’t appear correctly.
HOW DO RAL COLOUR MATCHING SYSTEMS VARY?
RAL colour matching systems can be a little different dependent on how the colour is applied. For example, a vinyl material with colour code “RAL 9001” may be different to a paint colour with the same code.
When it comes to paint, spraying can also provide a different colour to other methods. You also need to consider variances such as the drying/curing process and ‘gloss’ levels – especially with paint based finishes. This won’t directly change the colour but will affect how it looks, with a high gloss level being more reflective than a matt finish. The light reflections can change the eyes perception of the colour.
Remember, for areas or products where LRV (light reflecting value) is important or has regulatory restrictions, this can be a vital element to know.
For example, our lifts use a RAL colour that is sprayed onto the lifts. The gloss level on our 7000, 4000, 6000 and 9000 lift models is “12” (+-5), and the curing process is at 170 degrees centigrade for 20 mins. This means the LRV within the lift shaft is at regulatory levels.
Speak with your suppliers to discuss this and get the correct match.
WHAT RAL COLOURS CAN I ADD TO MY LIFT?
Our lifts all use the RAL colour matching system for coloured finishes to the shaft, doors, walls and other elements.
The gloss level on our 4000, 6000, 7000 and 9000 lift models is “12” (+-5), and the curing process is at 170 degrees centigrade for 20 mins. This produces a matte finish – which is important when considering the LRV (light reflecting value) in the lift.
You can choose almost any RAL colour for our other models, such as the 5000 and 8000.
We have also had some customers wrap their lifts in vinyl wrap, which allows for almost any colour, pattern and effect to match other elements of the rooms!