KENTMERE Range Update : From HARMAN
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Following a decision, which has not been taken lightly, three KENTMERE products are to be withdrawn because they have proven themselves impossible to produce in a way that's either acceptable or economically viable.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.
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".
Forwarded by Simon, ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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?
Originally Posted by Chazzy
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.
the expansion of the fineprint range is good news
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
Yup, can`t wait to try them.
Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth
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 :