I wonder if part of the problem is that Kodak's coating machinery was built to serve 1990's level of demand for film. Now that this demand has all but vanished, the overhead costs in starting a production run small enough for today's demand is terribly large. Would I be correct to guess that Kodak won't build a smaller machine with less overhead because the cost will never be recovered?
Fotokemika was able to hang in there until the coating machine broke recently, and then it was curtains for their photo products. Several other coating companies folded or up and left the market when the consumer photo and medical x-ray market went away.
Ilford went through a painful restructuring process some years ago and was able to emerge alive and competitive. Is Ilford's coating machinery smaller and more economical for small runs than Kodak's?