220 Film Petition / Reply From ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology
Dear Customers :
We have received your petition for the return of ILFORD 220 roll film, we deeply respect the fervour and passion shown and the great effort that has been expended to assemble such a list of renowned photographers who would like to see this format re-introduced.
We have obviously taken note of the potential commercial opportunity of once again having 220 film within our product family, we would be remiss not to.
The Board of Directors of ILFORD Photo, HARMAN technology Limited have discussed this petition and the opportunity, and discussed at length with our manufacturing and finishing staff the practicalities of returning 220 film to the range.
After due deliberation, we find it impossible to do so at this time, the reasons are set out below.
1) The finishing route of this film is part automated, the machine designated to 220 is chronically obsolete, in excess of 50 years old, and is currently de-commissioned. To refurbish the machine is impossible and to manufacture a new one ( using the old machine as a template ) would cost in the region of £ 300,000.
2) Hand finishing of 220 has been evaluated and rejected due to the potential quality issues of hand finishing in total darkness.
3) The highly specialised coated papers used for backing strips for 120 and for 'tops and tails' for 220 film has to be ordered ( and finished in a process ) in very large quantities, the minimum order for 'tops and tails' to our required specification would equate to seven years and eight months stock* having to be ordered and paid for in advance of any production.
* Based on the last full years sales figures of all ILFORD 220 films, with no decline in sales taken into account and using a generic, none film specific
'top and tail'.
4) If we were to commit to a new machine and the advance order for 'tops and tails' and endeavour to recover the costs ( including interest ) over a 3 year period, the cost of an individual 220 film would be more than three an half times the cost of a 120 film, we do not believe this sustainable, therefore volume would reduce, and we would fail to recover the cost of our investment.
So what can ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology do ?
Our intention is to continue to try and pursuade a partner to finish the film for us, we have had little success so far, but we will continue, and increase our efforts, now that AGFA Photo has gone ( although they had already ceased all manufacture of roll film and the equipment was scrapped ) only two companies in the World have a quality system that is equal to our own for the finishing of roll film so we do not have many options.
We will keep the photographers who petitioned us ( and APUG members ) informed of any progress. The board of ILFORD Photo would like to take this opportunity to reassure all those who petitioned us and all APUG memebers that all the film products will continue to be available in 120 and that all our other monochrome product families will continue to be manufactured and new products will continue to be added to the range. We always have been, and always will be, passionate about our products, and our customers who use them.
We thank you for purchasing, using and valuing our products:
Simon.R.Galley, Director, for and on behalf of the board of directors of ILFORD Photo, HARMAN technology Limited :
Mobberley, Cheshire, UK 7th April, 2006: