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What are RAL colours?

Have you ever heard of the RAL colour chart? No? Well, you are not alone in that! However, when we explain it, we are sure you will know exactly what we mean!

The RAL colour chart is an important system used for a variety of different purposes, from painting to varnishing, and even powder coating. As aesthetically pleasing as it is to look at, it actually serves an important purpose. 

Keep on reading to find out exactly what the RAL colour chart is, how many colours are in the chart, and why it is so important in the world of DIY and powder coating. 

What is the RAL colour chart?

The RAL colour chart is a system that was designed in Germany by the German State Commission for the Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance! That is one hell of a name, am I right? Well, just wait until you see the German name for it - Reichsausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung. 

The idea behind it is that it will be a colour matching system. In a way, it is very similar to the system for colour matching used in printing, known as the Pantone system. You may recognise Pantone thanks to its popularity on social media. 

Whereas Pantone was designed for printing, RAL colour charts were designed specifically with powder coating and varnishing in mind. As well as this, it is the most popular and most commonly used colour system in a variety of industries and is by far the most popular central European colour standard. 

The types of sectors and industries that use the RAL colour chart system include industry, construction, road safety, recreation, and architecture. As well as being used for paint and coatings, you may also find it being used for plastics.

Many different companies offer colour matching in line with the colours offered on the RAL colour chart system. This doesn’t just happen with paint colours, as you know, but can also happen with powder coatings. When you want some metal powder coated, most technicians will ask what colour you want, in relation to the RAL chart. 

How many colours are on the chart?

There is an astonishing number of colours that feature in the RAL colour chart. These colours get added relatively often, and at the moment, the number currently stands at around 1825 colours. 

It is important to note that the RAL colour system is actually grouped into a variety of sections. For example, there is the RAL classic which is a collection of 40 colours, originally invented way back in 1927 in Germany. 

Over the years this has expanded and now the collections include the RAL Effect which has 420 solid colours and a further 70 metallic colours. 

As well as the Effect, you may also be interested to find that the RAL Design system was released in 1993 as an update on the outdated 1927 version. This had 1625 original colours and did not intersect with the colours of the RAL Classic system. 

Lastly, there are the colours in the RAL Plastics collection. These colours are used solely for plastic and contain 100 of the most popular colours from the RAL Classic chart, as well as 200 colours from the RAL Design chart. 

Why is it used so often in powder coating?

The reason why the RAL Colour Chart system is used so often in powder coating is the same reason why it is used so often in the world of painting and plastic colouring. 

When businesses, companies, and other people request certain colours, especially for commercial use, there needs to be some uniformity in what they are expecting. 

The use of the RAL Chart, as well as other colour charts such as the Pantone, ensures that the colours are standardised. This standardised roach to colours is particularly attractive to businesses who want their colours to remain on-brand. 

As well as this, it has benefits in many industries such as the architecture sector. If an architect wants steel frames to be powder coated, all in the colour orange, this could be interpreted in many ways. 

By choosing an orange from the RAL colour chart, the architect can ensure that all pieces of steel are going to look identical. 

This standardized approach to colour can mean that producing powder coats and applying them when needed, is made far easier. Service is always kept consistent. As well as this, clients know what to expect, and technicians know exactly how to make it. 


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What are RAL colours?

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