Agfa Paper back in Mar-2007

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by RalphLambrecht, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    A German analog photography forum announced today that Agfa MCC and MCP will be back this Spring, or more accurately, the press anouncement will be made in March 2007. They are hinting in their (German) text that it will come from the old Agfa facility in France.

    http://www.aphog.de/

    Let's hope it's true!

    BTW, 'old' Agfa paper (made in late 2005) is still available in Germany from Maco for now.

    http://www.mahn.net/
     
  2. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Good news Raplh, Thank You for the post.
     
  3. Photo Engineer

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    On the last day in March in the last hour of the day, I would not hold my breath for this announcement even for an instant.

    But, OTOH, I wish them the best of luck. My knowledge of what is involved in restarting a coating line and getting good product prompts this comment. I hope I'm wrong.

    PE
     
  4. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    But, OTOH, I wish them the best of luck. My knowledge of what is involved in restarting a coating line and getting good product prompts this comment. I hope I'm wrong.

    PE[/QUOTE]

    I really hope you are wrong !
     
  5. Photo Engineer

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    Hey, I share your feeling, but Fuji cannot even start up Velvia 50 after a lapse of about 2 years or so and with all of the equipment and engineers in place.

    Kodak got a different Azo in Canada than they made in Rochester and the last batch did not match previous batches.

    OMG people, look at the track record. I hope for the best but expect the worst.

    PE
     
  6. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    I know you do and I'm as afraid as you. Agfa represents all my photo background starting with Record Rapid and Portriga. It was my only brand and signature. So I hope for a miracle...!
     
  7. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Why is starting up a film factory so difficult? It's been done before, obviously, so what's the problem in doing it again?
     
  8. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I dunno - must be dumb of me to ask. But if the company has gone bankrupt several times - indicating, at least in part, that the brand has little following and market presence - why would it succeed this time? :confused:
     
  9. Photo Engineer

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    Ask Fuji why the new film they are "RESTARTING" is not the same.

    Johnny, all you other guys. I've been trying to tell you that analog film making is a heartbreakingly difficult thing to do and once you start you dare not stop. Once you do, you can never go back.

    You just don't believe me. Well, the Fuji evidence is all I can offer outside of my own experiences. Sorry. I've been there and done that! There are so few of us in the world that can say that, that it is no wonder that this problem is so misunderstood.

    When I went back to visit one of my professors of Biochemistry and described this process to him, he said "My God, it is like desiging a human being from scratch it is so complex, and all done at the micron scale and at high speed".

    PE
     
  10. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    Agfa was big with many divisions. What I can say is that the BW paper was selling well, at least in europe and for sure in France where I used to live.
    Color film for example, was another story. And that company didn't face the digital revolution loosing a lot of fields like x-ray for another example (which was bread and butter).
     
  11. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    PE, what about the change of plant for the Tri-x ? Even if it's different today (very marginal for me) it's still there. Why a slightly different paper isn't possible ?
     
  12. Photo Engineer

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    Hey, I'm just saying that it will be different and may not work at all.

    IDK. I hope for the best.

    PE
     
  13. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Agfa

    PE-we know what you know-now let's all sit in a large circle and have a group prayer. Someone somewhere has to step to the plate or the matrials WILL die out for us. Let's face it the internet has changed everything and whoever was running Agfa was a bunch of morons/and greedy mother something or other...
    It may be hard but not impossible or else we'll all be coating our own glass plates!!! Let's have some positive nergy here folks. Think positive!!!
    Best to all of you analogue boys and girls!!
    Peter
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

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    Peter;

    Nice to hear from you. I agree! I wish I could help them, but I know from nothing about Agfa methodology.

    Best to you. Start making and coating! What is your excuse?

    Ron
     
  16. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I don't think it's a matter of negativity.

    I just don't see what the big deal is bringing out a product with the Agfa name on it. At this point it is just a brandname - nothing more than that.

    If you're into nostalgia then perhaps you will get a warm, fuzzy "feel good" over buying a box of paper with the Agfa name and logo on it. But that's all you're going to get.

    The firm has been dead for quite a while. Whatever workforce remained at the end (likely quite aging) has dispersed. It's more likely than not that some "vulture investor" group has now come in to buy the brandname (for paper products at least) and the old French factory on the cheap.

    The idea is for the buyers to try to squeeze the last bit of milk out of this otherwise dry cow and hope what they earn exceeds what they're paying for a distressed asset sale! They are counting on nostalgia - because its almost certain they have nothing new to offer.

    [The fact that this scenario may be a prelude to the decline and demise of other film photography and related products manufacturers is something only time will reveal.]
     
  17. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Historically, what Agfa b/w papers were coated in France? I was under the impression that all the b/w paper coating during my lifetime in Photography, (1960's to present) were from Germany? But I am in the USA. Perhaps that is all that was exported. What plant in France would still be extant with equipment in place?
     
  18. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    PE, it's not that I don't believe you. I have no expertise in this field. I do know it takes about 3 years for a world-class pulp mill to reach it's design capacity and quality (and 3/4 billion $). One of the differences between this and photo paper factory is that the pulp mill can sell off it's below-standard stuff at a reduced price.

    I think I understand why it would be difficult to make exactly the same product they were making before the shut-down. But how about a "new, good, similar" product? In spite of the difficulties you mention, it has been done before. I am not trying to argue with you when I ask what is different now?

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2007
  19. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    I know they did something with paper in France, but I was told by an Agfa employee that they only cut and boxed paper there. If you had seen the paper coating equipment in Germany, you would understand that it makes no sense to have another coating facility in France.
     
  20. ath

    ath Member

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  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I'd have thought the Gevaert plant in Belgium was a likelier candidate, as they are still in operation (coating, among other things, aero films, one of which is cut down as Maco Scanfilm).

    Since Guilleminot went under, I know of no paper coating line in France.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  22. Photo Engineer

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    You are right in that theory says it is possible. And, it is possible.

    It takes time and money, as you also state and the rejected product cannot be sold.

    One of the big factors with film is this; formulas don't scale readily neither emulsion making nor coating. This is one of the big problems facing engineers in the industry. Also, they don't 'travel' well so making a formula in Rochester differes somewhat from one made in Windsor Ontario for example. Azo paper is a good example of that latter proven and well known fact.

    So, if I get a lab scale formula of 1 - 10 liters (or Kgs) and have to scale it to 1000 liters (or Kgs), it may take 10 or more tries to get it right. Along the way the coating scaleup problems enter into this as well and you have to be able to separate out coating from making problems. And, all of this takes time and money. The best example here is M&P trying to recreate Azo. The small scale trials seemed to work, and it is my understanding that they are on their third try now of the larger batch.

    So, given time and money, yes they will get there. It is just probably not going to happen on the time scale that they suggest, and as discussed above it is not going to be Agfa paper, merely Agfa like paper, just as M&P will not be making Azo, merely Azo like paper.

    I make an "Azo" emulsion, but I prefer to call it "Azo like", and if Kodak started to make the genuine material today, it would only be "Azo like" due to inevitable differences.

    At Kodak, we had a product that looked awful for 6 months and had to be aged before selling. It was one of very few that had to be aged. The elderly engineer who headed the product line died suddenly and the product would never age properly after that. It took them nearly a year to re-learn what this engineer did, and I don't think it was a secret either. He had assistants and apprentices, but they just didn't do it his way.

    Among other things, we had an instance of one persons usual cosmetics influenced the result her husband got in film making even though we thought we understood the product. Now that was a major detective project when the cosmetic product changed because the product changed.

    I hope that this gives you a bit better insight into why I feel that the schedule is optimistic and the products will, in the end, only bear the Agfa name. This also does not mean that they will be bad products, merely different.

    PE
     
  23. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Neither for photo paper nor whisky!
     
  24. Photo Engineer

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    Johnny Walker would know the latter better than me. :D :D

    PE
     
  25. johnnywalker

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    Actually, I used up more than my lifetime supply 8 years ago:D .

    Anyway PE, I've heard similar stories about old high grade paper mills (not photo). And I think I read something years ago about an employee of Campbell's Soup getting ready to retire, and they had to bring in an "expert system" consultant to figure out exactly how he made this particular soup before he left.

    Sounds like it's at least partly a matter of having deep enough pockets to get through a long start-up. I can only wish them luck.
     
  26. r-s

    r-s Member

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    Well if you think that's sad, think of us poor bastards who cut our teeth on Velour Black.