Kodak stops making acetate film base by Making KODAK Film author

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by laser, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. laser

    laser Advertiser Advertiser

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    Since so many APUG members have purchased my book I will comment on today's Kodak announcement.

    Firstly, thank you for your orders and kind words after reading the book.

    Secondly, Kodak has announced that they will stop making acetate support (cellulose triacetate, CTA) that is primarily used for still roll and motion camera films. After their existing stocks are consumed they plan on purchasing acetate for these films from other manufacturers.

    I don't believe that this will cause any significant decrease in product quality or availability of Kodak photographic film. CTA is used for applications like flat screen TVs so other have learned how to make high quality CTA.


    This announcement isn't surprising. As volume decreases the efficiency of support manufacturing decreases so it will be cost-effective for Kodak to purchase from someone else. However, it is another indication that volume continues to decrease.

    The other film support, ESTAR, is used for sheet film and motion picture print (projection) film. ESTAR is PET (like Coke bottles) and is not affected by this announcement.



    Bob
    www.makingKODAKfilm.com
     
  2. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    Bob,

    Eastman Chemical is a large producer of PET; is the Kodak Estar being manufactured by Eastman Chem. anyway?
     
  3. laser

    laser Advertiser Advertiser

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    You are correct! Eastman Chemical does make PET (polyethylene terephthalate). As my book shows PET is delivered to Kodak Park in small pellet form. Kodak liquefies the pellets and then drafts and tenters (stretching lengthwise and widthwise) creating a uniform sheet that is rolled up as 54 inch wide by 10,000 foot long rolls.

    Cellulose Triacetate (CTA) looks much the same when it is delivered to Kodak but the manufacturing process is quite different. The CTA is dissolved in a solvent. Then the "dope" is continuously extruded on a 60 inch wide 18 feet diameter wheel. Just before a revolution is completed it is striped off and rolled up in rolls 54 inches wide by as long as 11,000 feet.

    This description greatly simplifies the process for making both supports. There is a lot of technology in the process. The resulting sheets (in roll form) have to be flat, smooth, straight, and free from imperfections when enlarged several diameters.
     
  4. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    Bob,

    I figure the market for PET is huge compared to CTA, and the market for extruded CTA even smaller still. With the rather 'touchy' financial situation at EK, it would probably makes sense to stay with one subtrate only.

    Question: Are we going to see the "Big Wheel" for sale on APUG? :D
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi bob

    there is a manufacturer down the road from me that used to make the film base for fuji and
    i heard when they ( fuji ) closed down their carolina plant kodak was then using this base ..
    had kodak stopped making the film base a long while ago already ?
    this was maybe 8+10 years ago i am talking about not something recent ...

    john
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    One such wheel stands/stood in Kodak Park as monument.

    In Europe casting is done on an endless belt.
     
  7. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The problem is that they can't. Other film bases are subject to light piping and would complicate the amateur film market. Kodak has long warned that when loading films using a polyester base like Estar to do it in subdued light. Polyester base can also damage motion picture cameras and projectors and so cannot be used with them.
     
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  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Jerry, note that Bob indicates that PET film is used for MP projection.

    Kodak recently had a huge order fro MP films from Sony BTW.

    PE
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    How about cameras? An article from many years ago said that acetate was used because it would just snap before it could do any damage. Has the polyester film been changed to prevent damage?
     
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  10. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Not quite true. The PET base that is currently used (and intended for aerial still cameras or cine cameras/copy cameras) has this light piping characteristic.
     
  12. laser

    laser Advertiser Advertiser

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    I am not sure where "down the road" is located.

    Kodak is currently making polyester and CTA film bases in Kodak Park.
     
  13. laser

    laser Advertiser Advertiser

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    Making Kodak Film has a photo of the casting wheel that is a lawn ornament at Kodak Park. There are also schematics and photos of the estar and acetate manufacturing equipment.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    at least 6 or 8 years ago "a base" was being manufactured
    in rhode island ( i spoke to the factory, and was friends with someone who was allegedly making it )
    and at least one person at K- verified it ...

    i believed the kodak rep who told me that K had no plans on stopping production
    of any traditional photographic paper too when i asked him on the phone about
    the closing of the plants in south america ... and then 2 weeks later they announced
    the end of kodak b/w paper

    i guess i am just gullible ... :blink:
     
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  16. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    So what does this all mean? Do we now have to worry about potential quality issues as Kodak farms this out to whoever?
     
  17. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The naphthelenic polymer films used with APS films seemed to have great promise. Is anything being done with these? I suspect they also had light piping problems, but I don't know for certai.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Jerry, I have posted that same observation on PET ruining cameras, but Bob says "motion picture print (projection)". And we had PET coated films for in-camera use back in the 60s.

    PE
     
  19. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    I'd be even more worried if my favourite film stock is coated on the same material as movie print film, big Sony order or not ... the fact that PET is also used for plastic bottles gives me about as much confidence as the fact that gelatin is used for food and color couplers for hair dyes There may be completely different specs and requirements for film base and plastic bottles.
     
  20. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Sorry to hear of those who've lost his/her job due to this strategic change :sad:

    Per
    http://rochesterhomepage.net/fulltext?nxd_id=394722
     
  21. kuparikettu

    kuparikettu Member

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    Making Film Now and Into the Future – The Manufacture of Kodak Motion Picture Products

    Like any business, Kodak is always looking at ways to drive operational efficiencies while maintaining product quality. And, as its traditional businesses evolve, Kodak will continue to adapt its manufacturing, distribution and support infrastructure in order to supply our customers with the products and services they have come to expect from the Kodak brand, the world’s leading producer of premier quality film for the industry.


    This entails anything from shifting component supply strategies to adjusting machine loads and staffing levels.


    Similarly to other components within the manufacturing process, we have chosen to look at alternative sources of acetate supply for the future – while at the same time building a significant inventory buffer of this component. We have built years’ worth of acetate base. That inventory, in combination with our ability to alternatively source acetate when we need additional capacity, makes us confident that Kodak will continue to meet customer demand for the foreseeable future.


    Please know that everything we do is an effort to create sustainable models for Kodak’s silver halide products. Kodak’s motion picture film business is part of the company’s Emergence Plan, and it continues to be the largest driver of film manufacturing volume for Kodak into the future.


    Kodak remains committed to participating in the film marketplace – while at the same time taking the necessary steps to ensure a viable supply of product. We are aware that there are more choices than ever today, but for those filmmakers who want to create their images on film, Kodak will supply it.
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Again, this is related to motion pictures. As far as much still photography is concerned, estar is far superior to actetate. It's stronger, dimensionally stable, and resists age and handling better. Most 120 film is thin acetate. Most sheet films are polyester (I wish they all were).
     
  23. Photo Engineer

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    Not all substitute components were created equal. So, you have to do R&D to find out if they match what you are currently using. This takes money and trained staff. These are things that Kodak has been losing quite a bit of nowdays.

    Therefore, I think that there will be the possibility for a decline in quality. Just MHO.

    PE
     
  24. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    In just roll film or sheet too..?

    Tmax 100 & 400 in 4x5 is about the best base material I have ever encountered, even if the smooth emulsion of 100 plays havoc on AN glass carriers...
     
  25. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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  26. Photo Engineer

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    Yes Ian, you have the data and it is stated in the OP.

    PE