Dear All,

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.