08 / 02 / 2024

AMWOOD PROJECT. A software to achieve the exact colour

The goal of the AMWOOD project is to revolutionize the distribution chain of transparent wood dyes by providing the market – globally – with a system capable of allowing the distributor to formulate ready-to-use transparent dyes at their own location.

Like opaque paint, we aim for the customer to leave with their dye prepared and ready for use on the chosen substrate and for the intended type of application. A compact solution is being developed that makes use of low-cost hardware that can be easily installed by the customer.

The system will calculate which concentrated dyes and in what quantity they should be mixed, and if necessary, it will manage communication with the manufacturer.

Currently, there is no method for the automatic formulation of transparent wood dyes. Developing this method is the greatest scientific-technological challenge of the AMWOOD project. With this new method, the entire process of color capture, formulation of the new dye, and stockpiling of materials needed by a dye distributor is proposed to be improved.

How does Amwood work?

The dye distributor receives an order from a customer who sends in a veneered wood or with a specific color tone and demands a dye that will produce the same result on a veneer or solid wood that may be similar or different from the sent sample. As there is no automatic method for dye formulation, and due to the complexity of the task, the distributor often must refer the problem to the manufacturer of the pigments and solvents that make up the dye. The manufacturer is also informed of the application method, according to which the dye must be deposited once formulated.

The manufacturer, knowledgeable about the properties of each pigment and solvent, estimates a mixture of materials to achieve the desired dye. They must select from their catalog not only the types of pigments and the solvent to be mixed but also the proportion in which each of these substances will go into the mixture. In other words, they must estimate the formula of the dye. The manufacturer sends the mixture to the distributor, and the distributor tests it in their facilities. If not satisfied with the result, the above process is repeated until the manufacturer achieves a satisfactory mixture for the customer. Once the mixture is achieved, the manufacturer produces it in the volume required by the distributor. This iterative process is inefficient, slow, and incurs additional costs for both the manufacturer and the dye distributor.

With AMWOOD, we aim for the dye distributor to have greater autonomy and be able to design the dye mixture themselves or estimate what materials and in what quantity they need to supply. For this, we need a compact and low-cost system, thus discarding expensive and inefficient spectrophotometers for this task. The use of a photo scanner will be studied to digitize wood samples for subsequent processing, and the mixture estimation module will be based on Artificial Intelligence techniques to formulate the optimal mixture. These steps will be included in a computer application that will also calculate the quantity of materials needed for a specific job and manage communication with the manufacturer.

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