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View Full Version : It's official, Kodak is selling its film business.



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Ektagraphic
08-31-2012, 07:02 PM
Are there any ideas of people that may actually be interested in buying this division of Kodak?

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 07:24 PM
There is an old story (about 20 years or so old) that the National Geographic photo division were visiting EK and they asked about Kodachrome. They used a LOT of it back then and wondered how long it took for Kodak to coat their years supply. The tour guide told them "we just did". It took about 15' to coat the years supply of Kodachrome for Nat. Geog.

So yes, Kodak can coat a years supply of certain products in just a few minutes. It depends on individual demand. E6 films was one of the product types that had very low demand, and Kodachrome was another. Kodak was coating Kodachrome once every 2 years (IIRC) at the end. They were coating enough in one day to supply the world with Kodachrome for 2 years.

Now, understand, coating time is NOT prep time. For example, for nine weeks before the run, nine emulsions are made and tested and then combined and tested. Sensitizing dyes and other items are tested, so basically it required say 2 - 4 minths of prep for a day of work making the material. This is why film making is deceptive.

PE

Fascinating PE, just fascinating. There is no way that the general public can ever appreciate the ground breaking technology that Kodak developed in coating.

Question, how large of a batch was a typical coating run? I'm talking about the volume of chemicals mixed together to form the emulsion. Were they prepared in a mixing kettle or a reaction vessel?

kb3lms
08-31-2012, 07:54 PM
Corrections:


Question, how large of a batch was a typical coating run?

Question, how large of a batch IS a typical coating run?


Were they prepared in a mixing kettle or a reaction vessel?

ARE they prepared in a mixing kettle or a reaction vessel?

The fat lady might be warming up but she hasn't sung just yet! :laugh:

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 08:01 PM
Are there any ideas of people that may actually be interested in buying this division of Kodak?

Many rumors flying here!!! ;)

kb3lms
08-31-2012, 08:01 PM
I think he's asking about amount of emulsion in liters. But actually any and all statistics would be interesting to know.

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 08:08 PM
For B&W, you have emulsion + gelatin + finals in one kettle, big enough for a run. Minimum run is 1 master roll. The melt, as it is called, is pumped to the coating machine through insulated SS pipes. There is more of this than will make a master roll. This is line fill and startup. You coat more than a master roll for a similar reason, startup. You need 3 master rolls to coat one master roll due to leader and machine threading.

Between each product the equipment must be purged and cleaned or it will clog the lines or contaminate the next run. The machine must be reconditioned for drying in terms of heat and humidity as each product takes different drying conditions. If support changes, the machine leader must be changed and the equipment re-gapped or tensioned for the new support (35mm is 5 mil and 4x5 is 7 mil as examples).

The list of things is long, but there is a lead in to each different product. The schedule is adjusted to group related or similar products together.

PE

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 08:40 PM
Corrections:



Question, how large of a batch IS a typical coating run?



ARE they prepared in a mixing kettle or a reaction vessel?

The fat lady might be warming up but she hasn't sung just yet! :laugh:

I was asking about PE's time during Kodak, not today. I am sure batch sizes during PE's time were much larger than today.

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 08:41 PM
For B&W, you have emulsion + gelatin + finals in one kettle, big enough for a run. Minimum run is 1 master roll. The melt, as it is called, is pumped to the coating machine through insulated SS pipes. There is more of this than will make a master roll. This is line fill and startup. You coat more than a master roll for a similar reason, startup. You need 3 master rolls to coat one master roll due to leader and machine threading.

Between each product the equipment must be purged and cleaned or it will clog the lines or contaminate the next run. The machine must be reconditioned for drying in terms of heat and humidity as each product takes different drying conditions. If support changes, the machine leader must be changed and the equipment re-gapped or tensioned for the new support (35mm is 5 mil and 4x5 is 7 mil as examples).

The list of things is long, but there is a lead in to each different product. The schedule is adjusted to group related or similar products together.

PE

What volume of fluid was in the kettle before pumping into the coating line PE? I'm just trying to compare batch sizes from Kodak to my own company (industrial lubricants). The largest batches I ever saw were 5,000 gallons.

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 08:52 PM
Well, depending on batch (product), the kettle ranged from 50 - 1000 L. Obviously, I cannot give an exact value for any one product, but you can assume that 50 L was a small runner and 1000 L was a big runner. BTW, that is true today as well. They did not rip out equipment, they just run it less often now.

Attached is a photo of the smallest research coater. It used about 100 ml at the low end and 1 L at the high end. It occupied the space of a one car garage including everything.

PE

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 08:55 PM
Well, depending on batch (product), the kettle ranged from 50 - 1000 L. Obviously, I cannot give an exact value for any one product, but you can assume that 50 L was a small runner and 1000 L was a big runner. BTW, that is true today as well. They did not rip out equipment, they just run it less often now.

Attached is a photo of the smallest research coater. It used about 100 ml at the low end and 1 L at the high end. It occupied the space of a one car garage including everything.

PE

Very interesting. I guess I failed to really appreciate how thin the coatings are. Even with miles long rolls, the batch sizes are not particularly large.

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 09:00 PM
Here is an exact example of the process. Kudos to the unknown artist who posted this all over Kodak Park!

PE

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 09:04 PM
Very interesting. I guess I failed to really appreciate how thin the coatings are. Even with miles long rolls, the batch sizes are not particularly large.

A coating can be thinner than a human hair.

See attached.

PE

Ken Nadvornick
08-31-2012, 09:09 PM
Wow. I've never seen a scale comparison like that third photo. That's beyond amazing!

Ken

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 09:26 PM
Fantastic info PE, really great! What did you guys at Kodak think when Fujifilm came out with their 4th color layer? Was that a real development or just marketing BS?

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 09:39 PM
The 4th layer was a bit of both.

It was good under fluorescent lighting, but didn't do much more and made the coating more difficult It did cause some process problems IIRC. Not sure about that.

I forgot to mention that the images are courtesy of my friend Bruce Kahn, former professor at RIT. He gave me a lot of help, images and formulas for my book.

PE

Kevin Kehler
08-31-2012, 10:14 PM
PE, could the research coating machines be used to create smaller batches or are they just not capable of that? I am assuming they are a miniature version of the large machine. If someone was to buy one, could they make a thousand rolls easily (instead of a million) or are they set up for 20-50 rolls at a time? Just curious if one of those were for sale, could an Efke, the Impossible Project or even a Freestyle use it to make enough film efficiently to generate a profit.

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 10:25 PM
IDK how many research machines still exist nor do I know their condition. They might make usable product, but you would need a slitter, chopper and perfer. You would need spooling equipment for 35mm or interleaving equipment for sheet film. You would need an emulsion engineer and a coating engineer. Etc!!!

So, Kevin, what is your point?

If you bought one, who will make the emulsion, design the coatings, get your support and package it?

PE

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 10:31 PM
IDK how many research machines still exist nor do I know their condition. They might make usable product, but you would need a slitter, chopper and perfer. You would need spooling equipment for 35mm or interleaving equipment for sheet film. You would need an emulsion engineer and a coating engineer. Etc!!!

So, Kevin, what is your point?

If you bought one, who will make the emulsion, design the coatings, get your support and package it?

PE

PE, with 20,000+ posts here, you appear to have some free time. Might you consider putting your chef's hat back on again?? :laugh:

SkipA
08-31-2012, 10:42 PM
So, Kevin, what is your point?

If you bought one, who will make the emulsion, design the coatings, get your support and package it?

PE

Well, Kevin mentioned Efke. Just as a thought exercise, if Fotokemika or some other company with current expertise in filmmaking were to buy one, they would presumably have the experienced engineers and could figure out how to use the machine. If someone else without expertise were to buy one, he'd need to hire some old pros and train some new pros. Seems like, anyway. Not that someone who bought such a machine could make Kodak emulsions, but if they had the skill to formulate emulsions, do the coating, slit, perf, package, etc., then they could make use of it.

Kevin Kehler
08-31-2012, 10:43 PM
I was more curious as to if one were available to purchase (it doesn't sound like it), if it has any value to a smaller film maker or wannabe film maker. If you could get one and it saved 20-30% of a start-up costs over building a new machine, you wonder if that amount would be the tipping point between some company/individual purchasing it for usage or not investing in film production at all. I could see some movie maker with a passion for film (Christopher Nolan, for example) working the price of purchase and start up into a movie and using the film from that machine for their movies - what is a $1m expense for most blockbusters? The travel and feeding of the crew costs more in a couple weeks and it would free the studio from relying on Kodak for final analogue copies/back-ups. I actually think this might be the salvation of film to a limited extent, the movie studios forming a consortium to make film for their own purposes; they might not care about us still users but would preserve the knowledge/skills required (can't get a job at Universal Studios? See if Ilford/Adox/Fuji has an opening).

I was more interested if they are (were) fully functional machines capable of being used for production or if they have limited functionality.