Better Way to Spec colors to Factories in China

We use the Pantone PMS colors all the time to spec plastic colors to our factories in China. This works OK with non-metallic colors, but when it comes to metallics the Pantone metallic color book is way too limited with respect to monochromatic silvers.
I realize the PMS color system is not intended for doing this, but the reality is that is how colors are spec’d. We have even purchased the plastic Pantone books, but nobody we’ve worked with yet has had those books or can cross reference the number. Even if that worked it wouldn’t really be valid because we tend to paint things silver verses moulding in metallics.
We use the Dupont Spectramaster color system for painting mockups, but then have to find a close color from Pantone, which usually means 877 silver, or the 8400 series of silvers and that is pretty much it
Just wondering how others might be dealing with this particular language barrier.

877c ruins my life sometimes.

I’m stuck in this hell right now. Particularly the fact that I’m stuck trying to color match one color from two different vendors and 2 different processes! (One molded part, one printed film part).

I think the best way to do this is to get the same color chip for the color you want, and mail it to your vendor(s) and demand that they match the chip. Even if you spec a PMS color, every factory in China has a different set of chips and none of them match. If they do match, sometimes they just don’t care enough to check.

I’ve heard stories of Chinese factories using literally a torn off shred of a chip like 5mmx5mm to try and color match in the past. Sometimes it just takes a trip overseas to sit there and critique things in person to get it just right.

Have you looked into painting extra flat panels when you are painting ‘mockups’? Color code with Spectramaster number, and your unique color name, and send to your Chinese factories. These samples become your standard. Each may need at least one (each) for factory to send out to their plastic, colorant, or paint supplier, and one to keep one for QC purposes. Oh yes, keep at least one for yourself. You can demand that they match the chip per cyberdemon’s comment, but the ultimate Quality Control is your visual verification. Having factories submit a range of samples (color coded) can save a bit of back and forth. You can switch out the ‘mockup’ painted standard with supplier color, paint, plastic number once you achieved success.
You can also request sample color swatch, or samples from the factory suppliers, to potentially inform color choice and selection.

Good ideas. One of the problems we run into is we have to spec a color today to communicate to the factories overnight o I don’t have time to get anything painted. Of course by the time we go back and forth over the color being wrong for a week, it would be much faster to send a chip over there.

I may have to pick a range of colors and have our model maker paint up what I think might be this seasons metallics that way I have them ready to go if I need them. Thanks for the advice, nice to know I’m not the only one with this problem.