By now we must be getting pretty close to that "swift and sure denial..."
"They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."
— Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs
Originally Posted by OzJohn
I'm sure you're correct with that. Apart from all the technical considerations, I can't see that there woould ever be significant profits or ROI even if Ilford were the last manufacturer of colour film. There monochrome business seems to be a solid ongoing niche, and they are already diversifying into other non-photographic areas.
Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick
This is such a great question. I find it staggering that a small film plant cannot be built to supply the world efficiently with various films. We know how huge and massive Kodak's plants are. That was what was needed with film consumption was in the billions of rolls. Those days are gone and it is impossible to run Kodak's coating lines efficiently.
But what if Harmon had a far smaller line built? The ROI calculation is far different then, and for the better.
I have seen giant steel mills that roll 50-60 ton rolls of steel. That's the normal way steel is produced. Yet I have seen tiny mills that roll steal at only 1 ton a roll. If a huge steel mill could be downsized, why not a film coating line?
There will still be demand for millions of rolls of film and someone should be able to find a way to profitably meet that demand. Kodak won't do it. It does not look good that Fujifilm will subsidize film with their profitable business. That means an opportunity for someone else.
My dream is that E-6 somehow outlasts C-41 and stays alive somehow, and I will only hope and pray that if fuji stops making Velia and Provia100f altogether, that ilford will sweep in, buy the machines to make a small run facility, and then bring back ilfochrome papers for printing, they would OWN the whole color market. And they already have the technology for the paper and chemistry, no real research would have to be done, and they would have the formulas for making Velvia/Provia (maybe even Astia) and even digital hybrid users would flock to the ability to have archival prints that last forever with no fading. I dunno, I can dream right?
In reply to post #35...
Cibachrome/Ilfochrome materials are/were made, owned and sold by the 'other' part of the broken-up Ilford company. The one in Switzerland. They had no success in the further development, logistics or marketing of those products. Harman may well have worked on some materials contracts, but the actual product was not theirs.
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Just think of the cost of building a new coating line for color, even a small one. You can't buy one readymade, so you need new specialist buildings, specially designed and built one-off machinery, plant for emulsion making (many seperate coatings all to be ready at the right time), and the qualified and experienced staff to operate it. You then need packaging machines (or at least different packaging and print supplies), quality control support, at least some initial R&D, a distribution chain to the smaller number of specialist customers, with processing services or chemical kits if Kodak and Fuji no longer supply them.
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
Don't hold your breath.
Yes but Ilford could always license it or buy the patent/equipment(if it still exists) from Harman Switzerland or something, I mean the company is sort of failed right, so they need the money
Originally Posted by MartinP
It's not quite rocket science and if people have done it before, they can do it again.
Originally Posted by railwayman3
Coating machines are not exclusive to film. They are used to coat magnetic materials for recording tape and adhesives to plastic and lots of other things I can't think of right now.
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
I agree, but we're talking about a product with maybe 12-14 separate coatings to the highest standards...I read somewhere that color film is one of the most complex consumer products on the market. Robert Shanebrook's book is instructive (and well worth buying before it sells out for ever), and, having been on one of the Mobberley factory tours, even B&W to Ilford's high standards (maybe just 2-3 coatings) is a remarkable product.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
Granted, Efke could knock out a usable B&W product with their ancient facilities, but, even if they were still here, I dont think they'd be tackling color.
And, talking of rocket science, NASA sent men to the moon 40 years ago, but SFAIK they've no firm plans to do it again. No doubt they could do it technically, but it doesn't justify the cost for the benefits it would produce....sounds a little like color film....
It is not up to NASA. Sending men to the moon in this day and age is not a technical question or even a question of money. It is a question of political will and what those in charge of the country have on their personal agendas. If the government wanted to put a man on the moon once again versus doing those things that it seems they would rather do now, then someone would be on their way to the moon today or already have been there. Can a new Saturn V be produced? Of course. If they want to, they'll justify it and make it happen. It's that simple.
And, talking of rocket science, NASA sent men to the moon 40 years ago, but SFAIK they've no firm plans to do it again. No doubt they could do it technically
Same with producing a new color film - or any other product for that matter. There is a market out there at some size that keeps Kodak's machines running at some level. If someone wants to be in that business, then they will "right-size" the production model and make it happen. It appears that someone somehow associated with Ferrania intends to do this. It is all a matter of wanting to do it or not. Sure, there are numbers and profits and all that stuff. But as my mother has said for years, "if there is a will, then there is a way" and those with the will, will make it happen.
If Kodak's production model eventually becomes unsustainable with the production plant they have today, it is a question of whether those in charge of the company have the will and the want to create a production line at the right size to keep producing or not. If they want to, they will - if not, they won't and will exit the business. If they want to stay in the film producing business they will work all that out for the market that exists. It's that simple and in the big corporate world it is just as much a question of head-trash and agendas as much as anything else.
Same as people making buggy whips. There is certainly a market for them where I live but nobody is setting up a multi-national billion dollar operation to produce them. Some fellow has a shop out behind his house set-up to make several hundred a year because that is the business he is in and wants to be in. He makes a living out of it because he is right-sized.
Adox is working to resurrect Polywarmtone. Why? Because there is some size market for it and they WANT to be in that business. But I am sure someone there understands that the production model is, say, two runs of paper a year - not 30 miles worth a day. But they decided on those grounds that they want to bring Polywarmtone back to the market and therefore they will.
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.