KENTMERE Range Update : From HARMAN

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Simon R Galley, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear All,

    As promised please find our full press release below :

    HARMAN CONSOLIDATES KENTMERE RANGE:

    Leading photo-imaging company, HARMAN technology Limited announces new product development and new supply arrangements for KENTMERE along with three unavoidable withdrawals.

    When HARMAN technology Limited acquired KENTMERE PHOTOGRAPHIC in 2007it was always HARMAN's intention to maintain the existing KENTMERE monochrome range.

    Recognising the enormous popularity of certain products, it pulled out all the stops to replicate many of the range's coating formulations at its state-of-the-art production facility at Mobberley. It has also used its expertise and infrastructure to increase batch-to-batch continuity and worldwide product availability - and has just launched KENTMERE film along with the existing paper products into the North American market through its US distributor WYNIT Inc and its Canadian distributor AMPLIS.

    However, despite its good intentions and its considerable successes, such as the continuation of popular products like KENTMERE VC SELECT , HARMAN's best efforts have in part been thwarted by harsh commercial realities.

    Following a decision, which has not been taken lightly, three KENTMERE products are to be withdrawn because they have proven themselves impossible to produce in a way that's either acceptable or economically viable. Contributing factors to this regrettable situation include global supply issues, changing legislation and an increasingly difficult trading climate, not just for HARMAN - but for all manufacturers.

    The products concerned are :

    KENTMERE CENTENNIAL POP ( Printing Out Paper )

    Whilst demanded in relatively small volumes, HARMAN recognises that KENTMERE CENTENNIAL POP has a passionate following throughout the world and so announces with regret that this product can no longer be made.

    The most significant reasons for this include the need for extremely elevated temperatures during the mnaufacturing process. There are also chemical additives involved in the coating that HARMAN does not wish to use from an employee health and safety perspective.

    To adhere to the required production methods safely, and certainly in a way that at its bare minimum complies with UK health and safety legislation, would necessitate an enormous investment into HARMAN's factory. This cannot be justified due to the low volumes sold. HARMAN did look into the possibility of manufacturing elsewhere but feels it would be unethical and hypocritical to manufacture in a different country where employee health and safety requirements are perhaps less rigorous.

    KENTMERE KENTONA

    Current stocks of KENTMERE KENTONA - the unique, warmtone, glossy, chloro-bromide, fibre-based paper - are very good, but manufacturing of this product has now ceased as its emulsion cannot be replicated at HARMAN's plant.

    The market has long requested a variable contrast version of KENTONA and HARMAN is pleased to announce that its product development department is now working on this as part of the launch of THREE NEW PAPERS within the KENTMERE FINEPRINT VC range. It is anticipated that this new warmtone, glossy paper will be available later in 2009.

    THE KENTMERE ART COLLECTION

    This range was withdrawn by KENTMERE prior to its acquisition by HARMAN technology Limited because the base substrates involved were no longer being manufactured. Despite extensive research, KENTMERE failed to find a comparable base suitable for quality photo coating.

    Whilst HARMAN remains open to appropriate bases becoming available, the length of time since the production of these products means the chances of an economic re-launch at any time in the future is unfortuanately very small.

    Speaking of the changes, Steven Brierley, Marketing Director at HARMAN technology Limited said. " The tremendous success we have enjoyed in seamlessly integrating KENTMERE into our business and increasing its availability worldwide has been somewhat tinged by the need to withdraw three products. If anyone was going to maintain them it was going to be HARMAN with our state-of-the-art coating and finishing facilities and our photo-imaging expertise which now stretches back 130 years. We apologise to those customers affected and reassure them that we did explore every feasible alternative before coming to this decision".

    END


    Forwarded by Simon, ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  2. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    It still makes no sense to me that Harman can't make Centennial POP, but Kentmere was able to do it. After all, Kentmere was operating under the same British health and safety regulations as Harman, and the temperature problem doesn't seem to have held them back either. Despite the reference to Ilford's state-of-the-art production facilities, it would seem that Kentmere knew how to do a thing or two which Ilford can't manage, wouldn't it? Ilford ought to offer the formula for Centennial POP to Foma—maybe they can make it. Or give it to the Chinese.
     
  3. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Thank you for the detailed update Simon. This will kill any rumours and allow people to stock up if they used any of the discontinued papers. Can I also take from this announcement that the talk about Kentmere bromide's demise is incorrect and that this paper will still be manufactured ? I don't need to go out and buy a freezer full now :wink:

    thanks again,

    Fred
     
  4. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Charles,

    I took this quote as a possible reference to Foma. I've just started using Kentona; which seems to have a very controllable warm emulsion on the white base. References to non-portability of Kentona fits in with general remarks made by Ron Mowrey on this forum and others.

    Tom.
     
  5. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Charles,

    Health & Safety rules depends a great deal on interpretation...we interpret in a way that has won us the presidents award for our safety record...a record and an award we intend to keep....

    I think we have already said, that we value the H&S of a Czech worker or a Chinese worker just as much as we value that of our own.

    Regards

    Simon.
     
  6. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I think that's a little harsh on Harman....Kentmere was a tiny firm and one wonders whether we would have any of their products by now if they had not been taken over (rescued?) by Harman?

    Knowing the unique support which Harman give to B&W workers, I'm sure that
    they would make POP paper tomorrow if this were viable (and profitable...no business can be a charity these days!). And health and safety regulations get more strigent all the time...if Ilford find them too expensive and onerous, I'm sure Kentmere would have had even worse problems. I'd also expect that Foma would have similar H&S regulations, the Czech Republic being in the EU.

    China is a slightly different matter, but, as Simon indicates, there are ethical and environmental issues in sub-contracting production to the Far East.
     
  7. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    the expansion of the fineprint range is good news
     
  8. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    I am not pleased with the end of KENTMERE KENTONA....
    I used it a lot for lith print. I first must see that the new vc version still works..
    To bad the art document is not coming back :sad:
     
  9. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Yup, can`t wait to try them.:smile:
     
  10. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    In answer to your questions, stock of all KENTMERE products in the USA is excellent, including KENTONA and BROMIDE.

    Simon. ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  11. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    NO!!!!!!!!!!! Not Kentona! Back to the drawing board....
     
  12. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    I find myself agreeing with you on this.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thanks for sharing the news, Mr Galley! Even though some will be drastically affected by the withdrawal of some products, it's better to know.
    And I will look forward to the new range of VC papers in the Kentmere range. I am aware of what 'new product introduction' means, especially if you care about testing, and health and safety regulations. It is tough business to get something new to the market, and expensive as well. These products have to be treated as new products to Harman, as they were not previously manufactured in their facility.

    I just ordered some Fineprint VC warmtone in hopes the new version will work with lith chemistry too. Otherwise I'll think of something else.

    - Thomas
     
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  15. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    Indeed…
     
  16. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    "Rescued" by Harman? How? Sorry, I have to disagree - I don't see it that way. POP is gone, and so will Kentona be. Note that these were available and being made by Kentmere prior to their acquisition by Harman. So I don't see how this "rescue" that you speak of is helping me, the customer. As I see it, Harman's acquisition of Kentmere has not been a positive step.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  17. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Simon,

    Has Kentmere Bromide been discontinued?

    Tom.
     
  18. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I noticed some potential good news in the press release, too:

    • Harman "has just launched KENTMERE film" -- I guess I hadn't noticed mention of this before. I see it's available at Freestyle and B&H, and I found this APUG thread. I highlight this in case somebody else missed it, too.
    • "The market has long requested a variable contrast version of KENTONA and HARMAN is pleased to announce that its product development department is now working on this as part of the launch of THREE NEW PAPERS within the KENTMERE FINEPRINT VC range. It is anticipated that this new warmtone, glossy paper will be available later in 2009." -- I look forward to hearing more about these new products. In the long run it looks like three withdrawals and three new paper products, so this may not be such an awful development, overall.
     
  19. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    Well, for people who like graded papers it is a small comfort. But I guess you have a valid point.
     
  20. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Thank you, Simon, for the update.

    So, do I understand it correctly that only POP and Kentona are discontinued (Art Document was discontinued by Kentmere) and Bromide and Fineprint VC are still being made?


    Regards,
    Sanjay
     
  21. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Simon, thank you again for your information and your continued presence.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think it's pretty clear from Mr Galley's post that the Kentona, Art Document, and Centennial Pop will be discontinued, and all other items will remain. In addition, the Fineprint VC line will possibly be enhanced.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Personally I would far prefer a a good VC version of Kentona than the very limited grades that were available.

    I used quite a bit of Kentona before Kentmere removed the Cadmium and it was wonderful paper, the last version hasn't got the same characteristics although it's still a nice paper.

    One thing we have to remember is that paper ranges have always been changing ever since silver gelatin papers were first introduced and as long as we still have variety in the market place then tht's healthy.

    Ian
     
  24. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    First, people complained at the limited range of grades for Kentona, now people are complaining that Ilford is going to attempt a VC version of Kentona. Make up your mind people.
     
  25. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    It's positive if the alternative was that Kentmere would have gone out of business...and, as a tiny company in a rapidly declining market that seems quite likely.

    Who would have produced your POP, Kentona or any Kentmere products when that happened....Kodak (no B&W papers)...Agfa (gone)...Orwo (gone)...Fuji (no B&W papers?)....can you do it for us?

    I'm as disappointed as anybody that I'll never be able to try POP paper, but let's be realistic....even Harman can't work miracles and are, at least, open with us as to the reasons and problems.
     
  26. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Hardly the same thing, Travis.