Monday, August 31, 2015

Osterode 1975

Osterode was one time a border town only a few miles from the east-west border.      One of the reason Polychrome set up a factory there was said to be the  tax incentive from German government to encourage business to be near such somewhat "undesirable" location.       When we first visited Osterode plant, the biggest attraction after work was to be taken to the fence dividing east-west and watch the East German guard watching us.          The town was not highly industrialized, then only one Panasonic factory and another small specialty factory were there.   (But two Chinese restaurants!)
This photo was from 1975 when the management organized soccer game between Osterode team and Berwick team.         The time was still "good old days" unlike the modern profit oriented businesslike era.  

Typical houses in Osterode and elsewhere in Germany    

te Brommelstrot chatting and Evangelos Karanastasis watching

Saturday, August 22, 2015

mini-mini reunion luncheon

Jenchi Huang and JB Huang both originally from R&D joined us for a Japanese lunch with Simon in Ardsley NY.       This restaurant Sazan opened as Roppoingi in 1980's and was frequented by Polychrome employees.       Simon was just back from his beach house where he enjoyed his usual summer retreat with clam bakes, crabs and family get together.         Jenchi came from Columbus plant  to his Mt Kisco home and is  enjoyingstrips and cruises in his retirement days.         JB is the only one working among us and is enjoying his work-from-house arrangement getting in touch with world wide Kodak R&D staff.          Now that Kodak plate R&D is 100% from old Polychrome, Osterode and Gunma,  he is playing a key role there.  

from left Jenchi Huang, Simon Chu, Ken Shimazu and JB Huang
August 2015, Ardsley New York

Sunday, August 16, 2015

1996 CTX presentation by Bob Hallman

In 1996 we were in the middle of CTP revolution.       Examples of CTP installations at RR Donnelley and others sparked interest in many major printers.     With many technologies still battling for the position it was difficult for them to decide which system (laser platemaker) and which plates to use.       Bob Hallman was busy visiting many major printer customers and giving his view of the industry trend in CTP.        Internet surfing was not yet popular so that the face to face presentation was a very useful means of getting information short of visiting and spending time at the graphic arts shows.       Bob at the same time brought back valuable customer inputs useful in guiding our R&D.

This Powerpoint presentation is just a glimpse of what he had been doing.        Judging from the lack of final slide usually suggesting next step, this must have been a discarded or work in progress draft but you get the flavor of what he was saying.        

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Silver Speed.... the product which never met "daylight"

Bill Streeter, an outstanding marketeer was sent by Powers Chemco to Europe to run its European arm  in Holland.       He has run the company successfully expanding into offset plate production and sales along with the traditional silver halide production and sales through their own organization throughout Europe.         He was very much interested in new technology and invested heavily when the company suffered crushing currency exchange loss probably from Italian operation in early 1990's.      He had to seek a buyer to bail out the sinking ship.        He hoped the two new technology 1) silver halide catalyzed polymer system and 2) diffusion transfer printing plate similar to Silverlith by Hawthorn would attract buyers and bring necessary  rescue fund.       Unfortunately it appears no other company other than Polychrome was interested in the company.       We saw a good fit in European silver film production and  their sales network.         We have determined, however,  that the two technology was either too difficult to realize ( in case on #1) or not of high enough dot reproduction quality ( in case of #2).    After the Polychrome's purchase of the Chemco Europe, we fully utilized their silver film production facility for local production but moved their plate operation to supplement our Sofia Bulgarian plant.         As you know very well, the film production was shut down and the Bulgarian plant was merged to Osterode later on.         So this very nicely made brochure of the Silverspeed (diffusion transfer plate) given to us to study the technology remains as the sole remnant of their new product development activity at the time.

Friday, July 24, 2015

from 1990 show

The back of these photo hasve date stamp saying Dec 1991 and are probably from the US show (Graphexpo?)   I must have made extra copies of these photos later on.       See all the young Polychromers.

Paul Reily, Victor Lopez and Gary Dolgins at the show.

New Product from Opti-copy

Cliff Coppinger admiring scale model of Fuji's US plant

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Polychrome is 50 yeas old

In 1986 we celebrated our 50th year since the founding of Polychrome and started to use special company logo.      Here is Joe Piot:'s letter to announce the kick off.    (Another contribution from Al W.)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Choke and Spread

Offset printing system depends on transfer of ink from plate to offset blanket and then from blanket to paper.    Depending on how hard the pressure is set between each contact, ink spots are easily squeezed to fatten to produce darker than desired image.       In order to compensate such "gain", halftone dots are reduced in size matching the printing machine's characteristics.      It is easy nowadays to do this by simply adjusting  tone reproduction curve on film/plate scanner but in 1980's there were no such digital equipment so that printers had to struggle to adjust (reduce) the dot size by adjusting exposure during the contact duplicating process.       Depending on what the final plates is used, either choking (thinning the edge of dots of positive film for positive plates) or spreading  (fattening dots to squeeze openings for negative plates) were used.      And in 1980 duPont promoted the use of daylight film saying it reduces waste due to the bright lighting condition rather than the darkroom condition when regular high sensitivity film was also used for contact purpose.        Seeing this to be a new trend Clark R&D focused on the development of daylight film, DLD and DLP around the time when I arrived Clark.        When Al Wietling kindly sent me a bunch of samples, they brought vivid memory of how Gene Wilkerson with his aids worked day and night to develop these film.      As I recall the duplicating film technology was a challenge but we came out with a superb product.        After 35 years we now know these were short lived but was a profitable technology for us.     I am sure most of the current members of graphic arts community would not recognize the word "choke and spread".     But those who experienced the challenge and battle of film world would chuckle and say we were there to meet the market challenge successfully