ColorTrack Laser Color Analyser

roasting & roastery operations

ColorTrack Laser Color Analyser

Postby danyee on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:13 am

A ColorTrack laser colour analyser has been added to our arsenal at the roastery. Not necessarily to replace our Agtron but to compliment it to hone our accuracy and add to our quality control feedback loop. After a few software hiccups and upgrades we have been finally able to put it through it’s paces. I have a mountain of questions.

Some feedback we have got from Coffee Laboratory & Fresh Roast Systems in regards to the Agtron reading (which never made sense to me as they are reading different things) is how they acquired the ‘equivalent’ reading via testing “500 or so” Agtron readings and ran the same samples on the CT. This doesn’t sit real well with me but eh. Our boss was told at the ’09 SCAA that the readings were meant to be full-proof as far as getting an accurate, repeatable reading. Not 100% convinced about this as of yet.

I’m sure that there is a lot of potential with this microwave looking device but I’m yet to be totally won over. I guess I have to get out of my brain calibration of the Agtron.

Has anyone else got one? If so, how are you finding it? What type of distribution technique are you using? What is the length of the scan are you using? How have you integrated it into your systems? Any tips?

I’ve recently found out also that there was an intermittent fault that has been rectified by upgraded software of the first second or two not being recorded in the set time.
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Re: ColorTrack Laser Color Analyser

Postby SeanCapistrant on Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:22 pm

Danyee, what kind of margin of error are you getting on the ColorTrack? (or anyone for that matter) How does it compare to Agtron? What is the interface like?
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Re: ColorTrack Laser Color Analyser

Postby chris.hallien on Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:39 am

I am curious about the ColorTrack. I spent several years working in a coffee laboratory, during that time we tested alternative methods for measuring roast degree and then attempted correlations to the Agtron measurements of the same coffee. The problem we continually encountered was that the Agtron values are not static. Agtron values are dependent on proper sample preparation as well as time since roast (manual recommends fully quenched but no more than 20 minutes after roast, for this reason we operate with roaster-side as well as finished product roast degree measurements to account for any darkening factors).

I noticed that ColorTrack provides an Agtron scale for user use (does it provide both Commercial and Gourmet Agtron scales?). Becoming more fluent with the Agtron we measured the delta between whole bean and ground Agtron values and found that there was a range of values that provided a prefereable cup profile and began developing whole bean:ground Agtron specifications. Again I would be interested in how these scales related to one another and if the information know in the world of Agtron could successfully be transitioned to ColorTrack?
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Re: ColorTrack Laser Color Analyser

Postby danyee on Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:40 am

Sean, I'll have to go back and have a look at some of the test results we did a while ago. It wasn't so much the margin of error, but the fact that the measurement was often different. Because the laser is able to be slid along it's rails to make the circumference of the readings larger. This then changes the amount of revolutions (if the set time is constant) and the amount of data collated to give the ColorTrack number. So often the start and the finish point vary every time you do a scan. Even when using the same sample. I think for it to be more reliable it has to read only one revolution, starting and stopping at a single point. Otherwise you're taking double readings of some beans, and only single of others, and that's where the variance is. The interface is kinda cool as far as being able to see the range of colours measured, in the line graph, rather than a final average.
Some feedback I was given from the Fresh Roast Systems was told the beam & track width is less than 2mm, ground samples should not be patted down - level, but not compacted, just fill and scrape. Laser should sit in housing just shy of flush (1/4"-1/8"), but doesn't really matter.
Chris, I think the scale is Gourmet for Agtron, I'll have to double check. What you raised in regards to the Agtron sample prep are some of the things the CT was meant to overcome. For the Agtron, we also do both readings (roaster-side and finished product). We have also calibrated our tastes profiles on the delta reading between bean and ground. The readings aren't directly inversely proportional to the Agtron readings either.
Our Colortrack at the moment is a big microwave-looking paper weight until we have time to put into it again.
I think it has potential to compliment the Agtron, but for us at the moment (for us) it could never replace it, until we adjust our taste calibration. We're planning on doing some tests soon.
Happy to throw around ideas if you have any.
Cheers, Dan
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Re: ColorTrack Laser Color Analyser

Postby Chris Kornman on Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:33 pm

chris.hallien wrote:I noticed that ColorTrack provides an Agtron scale for user use (does it provide both Commercial and Gourmet Agtron scales?). Becoming more fluent with the Agtron we measured the delta between whole bean and ground Agtron values and found that there was a range of values that provided a prefereable cup profile and began developing whole bean:ground Agtron specifications. Again I would be interested in how these scales related to one another and if the information know in the world of Agtron could successfully be transitioned to ColorTrack?


Chris - the default value for the agtron scale provided with the colortrack software is calibrated to the Commercial scale. The software has the potential to calibrate to any device of the user's choosing when provided with broad enough parameters. I'm playing with one of these puppies right now, and I'm pretty impressed with the accuracy of the reading and the depth of information. The whole-bean readings are SERIOUSLY WAY MORE INFORMATIVE than the agtron, because it returns a range of data rather than just the average color number. It's a cool machine...
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Re: ColorTrack Laser Color Analyser

Postby danyee on Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:54 pm

Chris, thanks for your experience with it. Feel free to share any tips/info/guidelines you use.

We're in the process of moving our roasting facility but once we do, I'll be putting the CT through it's paces and giving it the time it probably deserves. I noticed there was a new upgrade to the software a few weeks ago too.
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