Color Roller Transport Processors

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by L Gebhardt, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I am looking for suggestions for a roller transport processor for my home darkroom. I would like one that does up to 16x20 and can switch between RA-4 and Ilfochrome fairly easily. Obviously the more reliable and easier to use the better. I don't think I need a wash or a drying module, but it would be nice. Also, one that holds a smaller amount of chemicals is better for me because I don't print a lot at one time.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. edz

    edz Member

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    Sounds like a roller transport processor is NOT for you. They are for handling a lot of prints at one time and are ill-suited to leaving set-up with chemicals. I suspect that you'd be better off with a Nova type processor. Unless you do a lot of 16x20" prints I'd stick to the 30x40cm model and use a drum or something else for the 40x50cm prints.

    If its gotta be a roller transport then in 30x40cm the Durst Printo machines are nice.
    If you are set on a roller transport that can handle 40x50cm then you probably should look at the Thermophot models.
     
  3. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I should add that I can exhaust 2 liters of Ilfochrome in a weekend, and RA4 is cheap enough that I wouldn't mind wasting a bit since I seem to only use about 1 liter in a weekend. Maybe I should stick to the Jobo, but I don't like cleaning and drying the drums between prints. I was just thinking with how low all the prices are on traditional darkroom equipment now would be a good time to pick up something.
     
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Iford sold a line of processors that could be used for RA4 and Ciba and might also be configurable for RC B&W. I have used an older version that was dedicated to B&W and it was very hardy and had a 20" paper path. The base unit I believe was made by Thermophot.

    I have used a similar small table top made by fujimoto that also had a 20" path. I don't know if the fujimoto was configurable for cibas and it did not seem as well made.

    Your point about chemistry is right on. Mix a little bit more than what you need and print until your done. If you have chems left over and if you can displace the air in the replenishment tank it will easily last a a week or two.

    Run water through your replenishment system and processor until the taste is gone.



    (kidding about the taste thing)
     
  5. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    look for automated jobo

    I would reccommend looking for an automated jobo like the atl2 or atl3 or autolab2200.

    They are nice processors that do one shot processing. They really are simple versitle machines.

    I print ilfochrome using a 31" kreonite roller transport.. they are tricky, expensive and use alot of space.

    Also drying ilfochrome is tricky and critical... using a jobo you can pull it out hang it up and you're done.

    I have also processed using a jobo with excellent, consistent results...

    Do yourself a favor and buy an automated jobo!

    Good Luck,

    Corey
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Larry

    I used a Cap 40 for printing cibas before I got my machine, It could do 9-16x20 or 15-20 11x14 in a weekend, very easy to maintain and clean up after a session. The only concern I would have is the dual speed and tempature required for using both products. There were threads on this topic in the past and the posters who used the machine may be able to help you out further.
    Ilford should have some info on this machine as they distributed this item.
     
  7. DKT

    DKT Member

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    parts and service are just about non-existent for ilford machines at this point....personally I'd steer clear of any processing machine made by them, or anything with their name on it even if the thing is brand new. they haven't made a machine in years, and they haven't made parts either. the only Ilford machine that you'd even have a chance of getting support on would be the 2 made by Kreonite. The Omnipro (ilfo rapid & b/w) and the 2240 for b/w. The rest are orphans now.....

    I don't know if they can accomodate Ilfochrome, but you might want to look at Mohr processors. They're cheap and have good support. I use an Ilford machine where I work, and there's a lab next to me Colex machine on the way to replace an old kodak. At home I own a thermophot made Durst processor and a Printo. If I had to buy another machine now though, I'd go for a rebuilt Kreonite. Personally I've had it with the foreign made machines--no offense to anyone, but finding compatible parts is hard as hell in the US. Those Ilford machines? You can forget finding rollers and other parts for them outside of scavenging them off junked machines. Nobody can find parts for these machines, not even Ilford US. They don't even have anyone that can field a simple tech support phone call.
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    DKT

    I have an Ilford Exel 80 , colenta west german , model.
    I have excellent rapport with Colenta, parts are stocked and will arrive 3 days after order, The European machine is the best processor I have ever worked on and my experience with Colenta is first rate.

    As well I have an 20 RA4 colenta processor and have recieved the same high level of support.
     
  9. DKT

    DKT Member

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    hey bob--like I said no offense to anyone about the european machines, but this Ilford processor we use takes different thread sizes for the internal plumbing parts and finding these little seals, springs, gears and the like is murder in the US. We almost had to get a worm gear cut at a tooling shop, but lucked out in buying a junked machine to strip a gear off of. If you have to replace a roller or something, forget it. You can't even get a water supply hose easily to fit this thing.

    We've had an Ilford machine for over ten years now, and have replaced every part at least once including the body. the first machine failed within less than a year and Ilford had to replace it, even though it took forever for them to admit there was problem. We had a service contract for about ten years and they go into bankruptcy and tell us they haven't made parts in over 2 years....they were still trying to sell these machines brand new last year, and they couldn't even support them...now, they say they aren't even making the parts, so how do they even plan to support this stuff? Legally they're supposed to do it for 7 years, but they couldn't even supply a worm gear or a water hose, much less field a phone support call.

    so forgive me, but I wish we had bought the Colex or the Kreonite models....not the Brand X, Italian made model that has integrity problems that cause it to cave in on itself and warp all the parts and cause hairline cracks in the plastic fittings, causing leaks....the one the Serco techs call the "soft mold".

    This other lab, when it came time to replace their aging Kodak machine, they went with a Colex Studio 50. They were sold on the support from Colex, and the fact that they could buy packaged parts kits. I know they went with a service contract even though I think the company told them they were so reliable they wouldn't need it. That service contract? man, it's like 3500 a year on top of 15K for the machine....you can get a rebuilt 20 inch RA4 Kreonite with a warranty for about 5 grand. Plus, Kreonites are bare-bones machines and there are service shops all over the country.

    I look at it like our Wing Lynch machine-- there's nothing that can go wrong that we can't fix ourselves. The dealer we use--we can call him up and he talks to us free on the phone and walks us through the repairs. He's a nice guy--but in an experience with Dunning recently, they were the same way even though no sale was in it for them.

    Ilford is so different---they charge by the minute for tech support without a contract, and with the contract they just try to get you off the phone. We called them a few months ago after a hose busted on the machine, and they told us it was a standard US hose thread--which it ain't...it's a british thread, and it took about two days to get this sorted out and made a big mess...so, turns out that we get the hose off an old Colex machine from another lab. So what does that tell me about getting a Colex and needing a new hose someday? tells me to buy a kreonite, when I can go down the steet to the local plumbing shop and buy the parts I need.

    I dunno--just a long drawn out bad customer service experience that I guess will only get better when the machine finally dies. I know I sound crabby, but I'm just trying to pass along some advice to anyone thinking they're going to get help by calling Ilford at this point. If you got the Colex, or the Kreonite--you can just call those companies and bypass Ilford altogether.

    fwiw--I recently got an email from a guy in a large lab that uses the same model machine. He was trying to swap gears if we had a spare one...this lab is probably the largest I can think of that would be using this machine. If they can't get the parts, we're doomed.
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    No offence taken, I totally understand the frustration of purchasing gear and it crapping out on one.
    When I bought my first hope from kodak , I immediately found a service tech handy with the hope, in fact he took factory training, when I bought the ilford machine , I did not take on Ilfords service contract with the as I knew they would be as usless as tits on a bull.
    What I did buy into was the Colenta name and I sent my service tech guy to Germany for factory training with Colenta and as well with Jobo, as we purchased two jobo machines. When he was in Germany he slipped into Switzerland to visit Ilford and was trained on quality control for ciba. I know this may sound excessive but since I have 5 thumbs it was basically my achilles heel in running a shop and without a good tech guy I would be sunk.
    Peter can fix any machine, and as well that Dunning fellow you mentioned seems to have parts for the Kodak(hope processor) so I can keep that puppy running as well.
    The secret I think is having a tech guy on hand who will fix your gear to factory specs and can speak their lingo.
    We have purchased an Italian Lambda and with it the service contract is 32K a year. The bonus is very little downtime and a well maintained machine.
    Colex - I think is the sister company or was of Colenta and I have only heard good things about them.
    I think you are wasting your time with Ilford as they only sold these products to promote the material through them.
    Best finding a good technican in your area and making sure they get a good rapport with the manufacturer of the machinery you have.
     
  11. DKT

    DKT Member

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    hey--I agree...I always used processors (kreonite, kodak royalprints & dektomatics, noritsu) before this as part of a job, but never had to maintain them. I've just been sort of thrust into this by circumstance...

    but it was always annoying to get such crummy service from Ilford, since a lot of money was going back to them for chemistry, film and paper. It's not like one little lab someplace, but many labs buying through one big system. there are still enough labs to get materials at prices lower than wholesale, because they order so much--and yet to the company it was as if we didn't exist. Our rep even quit coming after the processor died. I haven't seen an Ilford rep since 1994.....this other lab that ordered the Colex? They actually tried to get an Ilford machine last summer and Ilford never returned their phone calls. They tried for a month and even went throught a contract vendor and had no luck...I don't think Ilford wants the processing business. I think they want out of it and these machines are like a monkey on their back now. They have to legally support these things since the time they were discontinued plus 7 years, but they're tight lipped about these dates. I kind of have a rough idea from talking to serco in the past, but I know they were selling some machines at discounts at the end of last summer. Makes you wonder what sort of deal you really get when you can't get any parts....

    That lab with the Colex will need a machine to run for about 20 years at least I think. I kinda doubt any of these companies--Colex or Kreonite will be around then, but I sure hope they have better luck than we have had.

    okay--well --my opinions only/not my employers.
     
  12. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Thanks for the opinions. If I was to cut my requirement back to 11x14 and use the Jobo for 16x20 is the Durst Printo a decent system?
     
  13. DKT

    DKT Member

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    yeah--the printo is a pretty neat little machine, that can be regeared easily just by adjusting the orientation of the main gear. the temp is adjustable in each tank through what they call an "energy-therm". The tanks just add onto one another, so you can piggyback the thing from about 2 tanks minimum to however many you'd need. the basic setup is two tanks, with the entry module which allows you to feed a print and close a light tight lid. the wash tanks usually are set up with just the motor, which is cheaper, but I think they recommend running two in a series for the best wash, and then it has a forced air type dryer unit as well. I have one with just two tanks and run at RA4 type speeds and use b/w paper mainly...

    The only thing I don't like, is that the chemistry level in the tanks needs to be almost to the very top--you just clear maybe a millimeter over the tops of the rollers, and then you only have maybe a quarter inch to the edge of the tank, and the lid then rests on top of all this. So, if you ever-so-slightly overfill a tank, leaks can happen, and it's incovenient to remove a lid to replenish. I had mine set up for a long time, like a year and a half or something and only took it down a few months ago to go back to tray processing. I had some problems with an energy-therm getting all buggy that I never have resolved, and it drove me nuts (I think it developed a short somehow inside the housing)---but I left the machine set up and replenished it. Whenever I changed chemistry, I just drained it out--refilled the tanks with warm water and ran them for about 5 minutes--dumped this back out and refilled with fresh chemistry. It was great to just run into the darkroom, warm the machine up for about 20 minutes or so and make some prints. I have an Arkay RC100 dryer, and I used a tray with a siphon for washing. My dev & fix time was 90 seconds, and I washed for 4 and then dried in about 30 seconds or so.


    the printo gets expensive though as you add on modules--it gets up there in price comparable to other tabletop machines like a fujimoto or thermophot. mohr might be another one to look at, but I don't know if they do ilfochrome or not. They do RA4, b/w and other film processes though.
     
  14. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    How long does RA-4 chemistry keep in the Printo processor? Can you keep it for only one session, a few days, or a week plus?
     
  15. DKT

    DKT Member

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    sorry--I'm just running b/w in the printo, so I can't really help you with the RA4 only to say that the physical set-up of the machine is the same...

    RA4 should last for a week or more in it if you replenish it though. It only holds 2000ml of chemistry in each tank, so could be you won't even put enough through it to really matter. if it doesn't oxidize, you might be able to stretch it out for a couple of days, but I'm not sure what the carryover from the dev would do the blix. I don't know if it would throw the pH off too much if you didn't replenish. The tanks are really well sealed though--when you shut it down you leave the lid open overnight so condensation doesn't form, or you can pull the lids as well--but I hated to do this....I got a week and a half tops out of unreplenished machine chemistry like 2150XL and could do longer with replenished LPD and Rapid Fix A. With something like 2000RT, I could have gone for weeks on end, but I wouldn't have had enough throughput to really replenish it right. It wasn't cost effective for me to have it set up as replenished compared to just using the chemistry to exhaustion. But I still got quite a few days out of it. I managed to put a couple of thousand 8x10s through it in a year--this is just for myself, messing around at home...

    fwiw--the Printo comes with a nifty little parts packet, and it has most of the gears and springs and stuff that you would need to do a minor repair. I had a gear bust a couple of years ago, and it was piece of cake to fix. I think it's well made and designed piece of equipment, even though it's like a "junior" roller transport processor. The only thing that's going to go wrong is those energy-therms or the energy-mot's (or whatever they're called). The rollers would probably eventually become pitted and might fall apart, but there are no pumps or auto-replenishment sensors or anything computerized to really worry about. If a spring lost it's tension, you could probably find that pretty easily or make a replacement. It's not as complicated as some of these biger machines though, it's really pretty simple. You could probably actually stockpile an extra tank and energy-therm and parts kit as a backup and be set, if you were set on using it for years to come.

    I just burned out at the end of the year with the processor at work, and so when the printo started acting up I put it away....I'm kind of sick of dealing with busted gears and bad rollers and all that, and wondering what that "thud" I just heard in the bowels of the machine was, or why there are streaks in the image and etc. they all seem to break down sooner or later, especially in the middle of a big project or on a tight deadline.

    jobo has a schedule for phased out support of the various durst printo models, so could be you can find a decent used one that's still supported and save some money. I can't see there being a real big market right now for any of these things though, with a printo or a fujimoto targeted at advanced amateurs or small labs--they cost about $4000+ new (as the full unit, only about maybe 1500 for the basic set-up on a printo, funimotos are in the 3500-5K range). Think of the competition there with inkjets and dye sub printers and even Pictro printers...I think the days are numbered for all this stuff, sorry to be so pessimistic, but good luck all the same.
     
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