Visiting FOMA factory in Hradec Kralove
Old 12-16-2012   #1
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Visiting FOMA factory in Hradec Kralove

Lazy as I am I just dig out pictures from last year visit to FOMA factory in Hradec Kralove. As the film production is unchanged since the late 70s or early 80s I guess that it doesn't matter that pictures were taken in November last year.
Pictures shows BW film production from emulsion to warehouse. Seeing the technology the final result seems miracle to me..
How long will it last? As long there is demand for various X-Ray films, which seems to be the core business of the factory now.





























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Old 12-16-2012   #2
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Nice shots. Thanks
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Old 12-16-2012   #3
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To produce results like the Fomapan films with technology like that (straight from the communist 1980's it seems) indeed is remarkable.

Reading that they rely heavily on X-ray film and conventional film is perhaps a by-product, I'm not sure that this is something to feel secure by...
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Old 12-16-2012   #4
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I'm about to try my first Fomapan film. That makes this interesting. Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2012   #5
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Thanks for the pictorial. That reminds me I really should pay my neighbour Slavomir a visit, OK he´s 15km away - but he´s the main distributor of Foma films in Europe. Funny how I have tried just about all other manufacturers, but Foma.
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Old 12-16-2012   #6
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They are also selling color film localy but they are rebranding it - mostly Japanese material as they say (sometimes Italian).

I guess that they will produce film while rentabile but pictures can give some hope as well - you dont need much technology to produce decent film.

I was limited with the number of the pictures in the first thread. They also have those in the warehouse.







Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
To produce results like the Fomapan films with technology like that (straight from the communist 1980's it seems) indeed is remarkable.

Reading that they rely heavily on X-ray film and conventional film is perhaps a by-product, I'm not sure that this is something to feel secure by...
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Old 12-16-2012   #7
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As someone who uses Foma film these pictures have a certain strange feeling for me– a bit like visiting the kitchen in your favourite restaurant :-)
I like that the whole operation seems low tech, probably they can keep a cottage industry style range going for longer.
Thanks for posting...
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Old 12-16-2012   #8
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I love the Arista EDU films. I wish I had a brick of that nice Foma film. Thanks for sharing these photos.
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Old 12-16-2012   #9
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Good stuff, thanks for sharing.
Reminds me of driving past the FED factory in Kharkiv, Ukraine a few years ago. I should have paid them a visit.
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Old 12-16-2012   #10
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Foma/Arista.EDU films are nice. Divide box speed by 2. Begin testing. Slower may be even better.

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Old 12-16-2012   #11
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Thanks for the pictures. Looks a bit like heaven to a confirmed film shooter! I have tried several of the various FOMA films over the years - but distribution in Canada seems a bit spotty and I hate to get used to a film and then find that when I want to restock - it's gone.
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Old 12-16-2012   #12
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I'm loving the Arista.EDU/Foma films. 2x speed in Diafine is like magic...
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Old 12-16-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vobluda View Post

That chap on the right in the foreground with the hat on looks VERY dodgy. I bet he made off with a stash of film stuffed under his coat when nobody was looking!!!

Great set of photos, Martin. I've been waiting to see them since last November!!!!
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Old 12-17-2012   #14
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remember... more nude photos are taken on Fomapan films..

https://www.google.com/search?num=10....1.FOWy7exnUEQ
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Old 12-17-2012   #15
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Wow, really interesting stuff. Thanks for posting this!

Is it still possible to visit Foma? I don't speak czech but I guess that an e-mail in English could get me in since I live about 300 km away from Hradec Kralove.
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Old 12-17-2012   #16
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Coat? He was there with a huge van

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Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
That chap on the right in the foreground with the hat on looks VERY dodgy. I bet he made off with a stash of film stuffed under his coat when nobody was looking!!!

Great set of photos, Martin. I've been waiting to see them since last November!!!!
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Old 12-17-2012   #17
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Fascinating. Fomatone MG Classic has been my favourite FB paper for quite a while now. Prices have slowly caught up with other papers, but it's worth every penny.

I'm just getting into Fomapan film now Adox CHS has gone. I just hope they don't go the same way as Efke.
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Old 12-17-2012   #18
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I can post the picture from the paper cutting and packing room in the evening.
It is fascinating as it is done in complete dark.

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Originally Posted by Snapper_uk View Post
Fascinating. Fomatone MG Classic has been my favourite FB paper for quite a while now. Prices have slowly caught with other papers, but it's worth every penny.

I'm just getting into Fomapan film now Adox CHS has gone. I just hope they don't go the same way as Efke.
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Old 12-17-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vobluda View Post
I can post the picture from the paper cutting and packing room in the evening.
It is fascinating as it is done in complete dark.
Classic! I'd love to see those, should I bring a flash light?
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Old 12-17-2012   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vobluda View Post
I can post the picture from the paper cutting and packing room in the evening.
It is fascinating as it is done in complete dark.

i hope they don't get too many paper cuts in the dark....
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Old 12-17-2012   #21
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As much as I wanted to focus on the film production, two things leapt out at me from these pictures: 1, the extreme retro feel of the control room; and 2, these chaps are hockey-mad! No wonder they package some of the 30 m bulk rolls in black canisters so that they look like very large hockey-pucks!

Anyway, am I correct to infer from your first picture, that this entire manufactory is in one building about the length of a city block and two storeys high? If so, that's rather smaller than I would have expected. "Cottage industry" indeed!

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Old 12-17-2012   #22
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The factory is from 1920s and the BW film has been constantly produced there since 1930s. It is typical factory areal from that age with several buildings.
You eyed well the control room. The whole film life cycle can be followed on the main control board. And yes, in order to produce the film you need one looong room and at least three floors.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Argenticien View Post
As much as I wanted to focus on the film production, two things leapt out at me from these pictures: 1, the extreme retro feel of the control room; and 2, these chaps are hockey-mad! No wonder they package some of the 30 m bulk rolls in black canisters so that they look like very large hockey-pucks!

Anyway, am I correct to infer from your first picture, that this entire manufactory is in one building about the length of a city block and two storeys high? If so, that's rather smaller than I would have expected. "Cottage industry" indeed!

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Old 12-17-2012   #23
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My main observation: Since when has any factory or assembly plant allowed outsiders to photograph inside? Amazing to me that you could freely shoot photos. Hell I can't even photograph the front of a store at our local mall without risking trouble.
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Old 12-17-2012   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
remember... more nude photos are taken on Fomapan films..

https://www.google.com/search?num=10....1.FOWy7exnUEQ
Dunno if it's an artefact of the way Gurgle individualises searches, but the first four are a guy I know!

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Old 12-17-2012   #25
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This is a Public Service Announcement
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remember... more nude photos are taken on Fomapan films..

https://www.google.com/search?num=10....1.FOWy7exnUEQ
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A few more.
Old 12-17-2012   #26
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A few more.

From the same visit. BW on Fomapan 400 only. Summar on Canon P and Fuji DL super mini.

















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Old 12-17-2012   #27
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Those are the pictures from the guy with the van
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Old 12-18-2012   #28
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Don't Tell Anyone

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
That chap on the right in the foreground with the hat on looks VERY dodgy. I bet he made off with a stash of film stuffed under his coat when nobody was looking!!!

Great set of photos, Martin. I've been waiting to see them since last November!!!!
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Old 12-18-2012   #29
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Quote:
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Those are the pictures from the guy with the van
It's not a van!!!
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Old 12-18-2012   #30
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To all you guys who have problems getting hold of Foma, why don't you just order online?

www.fomafoto.com, fotoimpex.de and macodirect.de typically sell these.
They, and other places, have all Foma films in stock, this is no different than ordering from B&H.

Hell, even freestyle has both the Arista/EDU and Foma brand available for sale.

I would never expect a local shop to have anything else than Kodak and Ilford in black & white (usually they don't), buying film online is a standard operation.
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Old 12-18-2012   #31
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Quote:
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My main observation: Since when has any factory or assembly plant allowed outsiders to photograph inside? Amazing to me that you could freely shoot photos.
Generally of course that's true of factories or even offices. But it seems to me that in this case, Foma have little to fear. A factory that is making film (a business that others are exiting, not trying to break into) and doing it with a mix of 1930s tech to modern tech including Sharpie-handwritten instructions on the wall, probably is not high on the list of industrial espionage targets. It may even be on the list of places that industrial espions run the other way from.

Edit: By the way, what do those instructions say, if anyone reads Czech? I could only get one word into it with Google translate: "Describe..." (?) and then I'm struggling to read the handwriting of the other words.

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Old 12-18-2012   #32
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it says: "write (or mark?) on the bag you have got (from the company)." and word "fix" means "marker-pen".

thanks for sharing this, it's really nice to see foma alive, kind of unbelievable they survived 89 and digital revolution at once. to my eyes their technology does not look outdated for what they are doing. "darkroom" atmosphere is there. my childhood is preserved on foma films.

one more thing: "zdenicka" is a girls name (given to machine).
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Old 12-18-2012   #33
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Thank you Vobluda for taking us along with you.

This thread is why I am so fascinated with photography.
As one who likes to "create" photos, seeing those old machinery and the people running them almost bring tears in my eyes.

"Image only" ??? ... yeah, right.
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Old 12-18-2012   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argenticien View Post
Generally of course that's true of factories or even offices. But it seems to me that in this case, Foma have little to fear. A factory that is making film (a business that others are exiting, not trying to break into) and doing it with a mix of 1930s tech to modern tech including Sharpie-handwritten instructions on the wall, probably is not high on the list of industrial espionage targets. It may even be on the list of places that industrial espions run the other way from.

Edit: By the way, what do those instructions say, if anyone reads Czech? I could only get one word into it with Google translate: "Describe..." (?) and then I'm struggling to read the handwriting of the other words.

--Dave
It means: Sharpie! Sign your bag.

And the tech is from 50s-60s :-)
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Old 12-19-2012   #35
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Let's not delude ourselves, film production lines haven't changed much since 1950s anywhere. There's only thus many efficient ways to mix and coat emulsions. The ancient phones and CRTs in control rooms have nothing to do with core technology.
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Old 12-19-2012   #36
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Cheers Will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
Thank you Vobluda for taking us along with you.

This thread is why I am so fascinated with photography.
As one who likes to "create" photos, seeing those old machinery and the people running them almost bring tears in my eyes.

"Image only" ??? ... yeah, right.
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Old 12-19-2012   #37
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It means: Sharpie! Sign your bag.

And the tech is from 50s-60s :-)
Looks more like 80s-90s if you ask me - much of the visible machinery seems powder coated and CNC milled, both things that did not get widespread before the late seventies even in the West. You'd be closer to the mark if it were a US setting (or maybe ten years early in Western Europe), but this is a former East Bloc plant, where the state of 60s industrialization still was pretty much steam age, struggling to slowly get back to pre-war conditions. Pictures of Orwo in the sixties look like Agfa of the 1890's in a state of advanced decay...
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Old 12-19-2012   #38
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All right, all right, as to misoverestimating the obsolescence of their technology, I'm sorry, as it appears I started that.

Meanwhile, thanks to the translators for help with the bag-labeling instructions.

--Dave
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Old 12-19-2012   #39
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super, thank you for photos. I like Foma films and BW paper
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Old 12-19-2012   #40
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It's not a van!!!
You took something bigger???
I am impressed

But where's my cut of the stash, brother?
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