Monochrome Coating & Related Threads
I have been reading the threads about manufacturing of monochrome products, and believe some negativity may be being expressed, so called doom and gloom, :
I think its time we have to put a few things in perspective :
KODAK and FUJI are very large corporations with shareholders and they have to manage huge changes in their 'traditional' businesses. That is very tough and is an on-going process. Everyone here at HARMAN has a huge respect and admiration for these companies, their products, capabilities and their history.
Its only six years ago that HARMAN technology Limited was founded, and very much in our memory is that we formed the company out of an enforced restructure due to the change in market conditions. I am absolutely sure that there are people in KODAK and FUJI that are as dedicated and committed as we are to analog photography and to the fine products that they make. I am sure they are just as passionate as the people who use their products and passionately support them here on APUG. I think we should all remember that while debating the issues on product availability.
HARMAN technology Limited was founded to run the UK factory and remains very much focussed on the worldwide monochrome analog photo business, it is the biggest part of our operations, whilst we do more and more other things that strengthen our business, the manufacture of monochrome is our key business business area.
We have had much debate about coating machines, we are incredibly fortunate in that our coating machine ( Machine M14 ) though large and very sophisticated with high capacity is incredibly flexible, and indeed we have invested in it to make it so. The fundamental is that it will coat film, paper both RC and FB, inkjet, polyester and specialist substrates, but its the change capability that is key, we can change from coating one type of product to another very quickly.
We can coat economically as little as 5,000m2 of one type of product at a time, this is important as it means we can, and do, coat every one of of our film and paper products in a monthly production cycle, we only coat the volume that is needed to fill the supply chain. This system was designed and implemented from the start of HARMAN so as we could maintain all our coated product ranges in film and paper without excessive inventory, and combined with finishing on demand, maintain 100% stock availability of over 2,500 items.
We have developed this manufacturing system to cope with the decline of monochrome volumes, monochrome will continue to decline we cannot at this time envisage a time when it would reverse and grow, yes you will have area's within the product families that may show growth or prove more resilient, overlaid on that you will have the individual performances of businesses within the market that grow or decline by market share. We plan to continue to grow market share around the world and we plan to maintain the full product range as it exists today.
We do continue to invest in our monochrome business, the first brand new ILFORD paper in 13 years will be launched in Q2 and will be the biggest product launch since the founding of HARMAN. We continue to invest in our coating technology, you have to, we continue to invest in R&D and in using and adapting new raw materials as some suppliers cease manufacture of vital component products.
We at HARMAN are very optimistic about the future of analog photography, we believe it to be the ultimate expression of the art of photography and that it will never cease to exist, we believe the more manufacturers who remain and are involved in supplying goods the better, choice is important as well as the widest range of products possible.
But the future of analog is really down to people like yourself, we must be advocates of analog photography one and all, we must continue to innovate, excite and inspire others, we must continue to teach and share our knowledge and not compromise.
As a business we obviously must first and foremost make a profit, whilst we are a private company where the shareholders also run the company day to day our full audited accounts must be filed with Companies House in the UK and are available for anyone who is willing to pay for a copy, our accounts will be filed in the coming months for the financial year to December 31st 2010 showing that we are a stable and profitable company.
Simon. ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited.
Thanks very much, Simon, and best of luck to Ilford/Harman. Kodak and Fuji would come in for less criticism here if they had representatives on APUG to answer questions about product availability. What you do on APUG increases my respect for the Ilford brand enormously.
Looking for the "like" button.
Thank you, Simon.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
First, thank you so much for your insight.
Then, I hope I'm not asking you too much as this question indeed is very difficult, but can you give any, even a completely personal opinion on this;
If it ever happened in the future that Kodak and Fuji would have to cease the production of color film -- while I personally find that unimaginable in the near future, it still has been speculated here --, would Ilford / HARMAN consider or evaluate the possibility of producing some kind of color film -- even if it couldn't be as modern as the current Fuji and Kodak products? I'm not asking if it would be made, but more likely, if it would be even considered or discussed. Do you find that possible?
Finally, for all participants, I want to say that because the involvement of Ilford in these discussions is extraordinary, it may even set our expectations almost too high . Most of the companies in any field never do this kind of service, so let's not give a minus to Kodak or Fuji for that, let's just give a plus to Ilford.
Originally Posted by hrst
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Originally Posted by Toffle
Hi Simon (and your colleagues at Ilford).
Thanks for posting.
More years ago than I care to remember I commenced with photographic endeavours with Ilford film and paper. After a brief affair with a German mistress (who left me) I've returned to Ilford. I take heart from your comments that Harman is a stable and profitable company with flexible manufacturing capability; low inventory and committed to R&D and new products. All this suggests to me that you are likely to be round for a while.
But if you wish to strengthen and deepen our relationship: what about a thin-base ortho-litho sheet film suitable for mono masking techniques - like the recently discontinued Arista APHS II? (... you gotta admit it makes a change from the incessant requests for Pan-F or Delta 400 in sheet film )
Best wishes for the future.
Originally Posted by Chazzy
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
I understand your question, I think we will always leave colour film to the experts in colour....KODAK and FUJI and I am sure it will be still around for many, many years.
Sorry to hear of your relationship 'issues' I fear our relationship with a 'thin base' ortho / litho will never make it past first date.....the reason would be the specialised base committment, you would have to buy many years of base stock up front....sorry.
Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
Originally Posted by Simon R Galley
My relationship 'issues' are in the past and I'm committed to Ilford for the foreseeable future :-).
As regards a 'thin base' ortho/litho film: I can only say that I feared that would be your response.... Bugger! (But no harm in asking - and just in case you haven't discussed it with that "Freestyle" mob in the colonies...)
Still. Best wishes wishes for the future. Keep churning out that FP4+ that I like so much.