Saturday, June 14, 2014

Paper in New55 FILM

New55 FILM is made mostly of paper. You would think that paper of the type, thickness, opacity and stiffness would be easy to get - there are so many papers in the world. But Fujifilm, Polaroid, Kodak etc all use(d) custom-made papers for their products. They could do so because they needed so much of it, and the paper industry is scaled for very large production orders.

We need more than a dozen kilometers of paper for our first run. This sounds like a lot, but it is puny compared to what the paper manufacturers want to run.  "OTS" means Off The Shelf, referring to commercially available things. We are fortunate that some 4x5 sheet films are OTS items, because the cost to develop and run new ones would be enormous.

Over the last four weeks I have spent nearly every day researching "lightproof paper" and "baryta paper" to see if I can find any OTS papers that fit our needs. I've visited paper mills and contacted others, and still do not have a complete answer to what we need. I'll continue to look for the perfect paper that is ready to go, but anticipate that we have to contract custom runs.

For the Reciever

A 7 or 8 mil, totally lightproof baryta paper is needed. One excellent company named Felix Schoeller of Germany made such a thing for Polaroid in the past, and we have contacted them. Since there is nothing OTS about this paper, I have found an alternative lightproof coating that can be applied to ordinary baryta paper if needed. But the extra cost of doing that is something I prefer to avoid. The Receiver paper has to be respooled and then converted to the right width for our Sleeve Machine.

For the Cover

Any color, as long as it is completely lightproof, thin, perhaps 5mil, and available converted to long rolls for the machines we are building. Another European company, James Cropper of UK, has made these types in the past.

The "Tongue"

Long rolls aren't needed as this is a die-cut part, but it still should be reasonably opaque, lubricious and stiff enough to allow support of the 4x5 film sheet, pod, and clip attachment.

This is not even a large roll of paper, by most standards

Paper Experts

I have not found a product engineer who is a paper expert, though I assume such a person exists somewhere in the paper industry. Each manufacturer has their own experts who know the details of what they make, but I would like to hire a person experienced in sourcing and specifying "technical papers, as a consultant. The right person will have direct experience with buying papers for industrial applications - preferably in North America.


A box and other papers are needed to put the product in including labels. I think we can get these easily, but it will take some work, and have a cost associated with it too.


Kristian Heitkamp said...

Have you considered backing paper from 120 roll film? They might be lightproof since there are roll film cameras that have these red windows in the back to check the frame number.
Okay – it's a red window but maybe this is an approach? (take it as a double layer than it might be surely lightproof)

Kristian Heitkamp said...

What is about 120 roll film backing paper? It should be lightproof since the red windows in the back of some roll film cameras let you check the frame numbers.
Should be off the shelve.

Kristian Heitkamp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristian Heitkamp said...

Also I do not believe, that the original Polaroid sleeve was plain paper. Surely it was plastic coated, like the backing paper of a Fuji Rollfilm. This also prevents the chemicals to bleed through the pouch.
But it also could be paper with a plastic coating – in the printing industry this is called film lamination (german: Folienkaschierung). Every commercial printer should be able to add this coating to every paper you deliver them. The also can create tools to die cut the wanted shape.
If you look at the backing paper of Foma films and sever it you might see that it is just very dark painted paper. But it is not only painted on the surface but the whole paper is soaked in black paint. I believe that the paint was added in the production process (solid coloured / dyed through).
This paper should be easily obtainable.
In Germany we have so called "Fotokarton" or "Tonpapier" which is about 150 g/squaremeter strong and looks a bit like the Foma backing paper. I think in english it is called construction paper.

Bob Crowley said...

Thanks for the suggestions. None of these materials are available off the shelf as far as I have found. If you know of the specific suppliers that would be most helpful. We have lots of construction paper, but it usually has a lot of pinholes.

Kristian Heitkamp said...

Sorry, just saw your question.

Here you find the construction paper I am speaking of. Take it to a print shop and they can tell you where to buy it in big quantities:

I am actually trying to find out how this technique of laminating paper with foil is called in english. I am a teacher for printing in a german vocational school so I have a lot of literature about it but all in german. But I will soon find out and report back.

Kristian Heitkamp said...

ok here I have found an english website from a british print company. They offer the whole process from printing, folding, binding, (dye) cutting and finishing (varnishing and laminating). These are just the standard steps in the print industry and every professional print shop should be able to offer these by themselves or at least should know a supplier.

If I was you I would take a sample of the construction paper I sent you the link of, take it to a print shop together with a sample of the original polaroid sleeve.

They can create a dye tool for little money (about 100 Euro each cutting tool) and so they can first laminate and then cut out your sleeve in no time and send it to their folding machine (seaming machine) (which is a standard machine that can just fold everything that is made of paper) where it gets folded.

You get the parts that you just assemble in your sleeve-machine.

So you don't have to deal with maintenance of these machines and do not have to worry about another step in production. This should be produced at very low cost.

Bob Crowley said...

Perhaps you might take one to a local print shop and ask them. No print shop around here has a clue about the coatings and edge taping we have developed. Die cutting is simple and we have that. There are no folding steps in the process, or varnishing. We do need a Si coat with a nanoporous surface and a release coat with the nanoscaled catalysts, which is not really something a print shop has, around here at least. As I have said before, the mechanical part of this is fairly straightforward though tricky, but the materials are very complex. That construction paper was OK for a few handmade units, but not a production unit with film in it, as there are pinholes in that paper, which I previously mentioned.

Your lead on lamination was most informative, and helpful. It is a service we can obtain and we have that - it is a paper base with an 8micron foil and a polymer overcoat (with a custom color!). It is perfectly lightproof and has excellent mechanical properties for the job. That STILL has to be coated again. at least three times, though.

Kristian Heitkamp said...

I am happy that at least the coating information was helpful.

What is about the 120 roll film backing paper? Kodak uses a paper base that is laminated with a black foil. And ADOX uses for its ADOX CMS 20 film black paper with black paint on the surface.

ADOX claims that they produce their films handmade by themselves. And I think they are analog affinidados so I believe that they do see their benefit to give you some knowledge support:

Kristian Heitkamp said...

Another idea ist some special ink that can be bought relatively cheap for inkjet printers and which let you print digital negatives with a dmax of higher than 3. If you take inkjetpaper that is printable from both sides the dmax would be even higher:

Here you find the inkjet paper that has this micro porous surface that is able to receive a lot of ink on both sides:

This supplier seems to have direct contact to paper mills.

What is good about the inkjet paper is that it is relatively stiff, so maybe this might be an alternative? May be not so expensive it might seem from the first glimpse?