Friday, November 27, 2015

DIC technical staff in 1988

This appears to be from a Clark  party held in 1988
Unlike all other DIC members,  Mr. Maruko at far left chose not to go back to Japan and instead continued to work in US eventually running a DIC plant in Chicago later on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Florida sales and Polychrome export joint Christmas in 1992

Al Wierling wrote;

These were taken in 1992 when we still had an active branch and warehouse in Miami (actually Ft Lauderdale).      At that time, we shared the premises with Polychrome export and their manager Bernd Ribback suggested to me that we have a joint Christmas party.     I agreed and we met at a site on a rather chilly windy night in December 1992 (chilly and windy by So. Florida standards)       Attending also was the head of Sun Chemical export in Ft Lee, Ursula Stevens, a delightful lady who passed away since then.

Al and Pat Wierling

Cecilia from Export and her spouse

John and Vicky Ferraiuolo

Rick Christancho and wife

Ursula Stevens

Bernd Ribbak + wife

Ross Larrea  + wif

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

1984 China visit

Having successfully completed our first discussion with Chinese official in 1984 for licensing, Simon Chu, Bill Salesman and I had a day of sight seeing in Beijing.          Beijing unlike today had no cars and had clean air.      (I could not find any photo of our actual meetings or the attendants, we may have been too focused on the meeting to think about memorializing the event.)

what Bill Salesman is buying is a caramelized small fruit for 1 cent.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Polychrome Forever!

Jan. 2005 was the date when Polychrome name disappeared altogether.      That was when Kodak acquired the other half of share held by DIC and the Kodak Polychrome became a part of Kodak.
Dr Oe commented later that he was opposed to the plan proposed by Kodak to buy Creo Inc. and decided to sell the share.      I am sure this was a heavy decision made by him as he was the principal architect of the printing plate manufacturing plant in Gunma Japan and with this background he rose to the president and CEO of DIC.          Yet his decision is understandable as he viewed the hardware business to be risky and Creo's best days were over.             Although the name Polychrome disappeared altogether, our fellow Polychromers may be happy to note that our Polychrome lives on within Kodak label.        The three Polychrome production plants are the main remaining production locations in US, Germany and Japan as well as two Polychrome research labs, in Osterode Germany and Gunma Japan are continuing to support the business.         With the demise of silver halide film, color paper, camera and the predicted demise of Xray film, motion picture film, etc. thanks to the digital revolution, printing plates produced at these locations will continue to be the backbone of the remaining and renewed Kodak.    

Thursday, October 22, 2015

DIC friends home party

In the early 80's, DIC sent in of engineers and chemists to work within Polychrome facility both in Yonkers and Clark R&D.         Top management of DIC determined that the best way to support Polychrome is through improving technical strength and built a group focused on plate and film R&D within DIC graphic arts lab.       Members of the group included draftee from other departments as well as new hire like Dr. Oe.       Many young engineers and chemists came to work in US on rotation basis to be exposed to Polychrome technology as well as working side by side with Polychrome research lab members.         Additionally seasoned members of technical group were sent to be liaison between Polychrome and DIC.        The program served almost like the in-house graduate school for many members.     Those graduated and returned home often became key technical managers within DIC both in graphic arts area and in other branch of DIC business.     These photos are from the home parties together with wives held from time to time and from three different years. (I can not determine which is from which year though)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Jay Patel, link between R&D and customer

Ever since joining Polychrome, Jay Patel had been with me as my key link between R&D and outside world.       As the title of our lab "specialty product lab" indicated. we were always working on products not in the main line of Polychrome product.      This meant we did not have a ready production line, marketing and  technical support in the market place.     We went out for a toll coating in case of electrostatic master,  did the marketing and technical service in case of OPC B and CTX.       And it was always Jay who went out to our outside contact to make the product work.
He baby sat for OPC B laser scan at one of the Wall Street Journal plant to make sure the product worked.      He spent many hours debugging complex CTX processor while under high pressure of running production at customer plants.       It was also Jay who travelled to Vancouver to get the plates "qualified" by then very successful Creo imager so that the plates can be sold with confidence. 
We often talk about the need of R&D to be close to customer needs.      He actually practiced it routinely  throughout his day as our staff.     
So it is not an overstatement that Jay is the secret of the success of electrostatic master, Laser Scan OPC-B and CTX.        But since he always chose to shy away from limelight (for example he is not in the picture of LaserScan OPC-B photo as he is the one who took the picture!) his contribution may not be well recognized.         Another major contribution he made is the invention of the Taj Mahal plate.      It is a code name to signify his contribution to develop two layer thermal plate system.    This new plate eliminated needs for special post treatment of a thermal plate for stability and gave an excellent solvent resistance.       Kodak later on adopted this plate and it became one of the most important plate in their lineup.         But most likely no one knows now that he was the one responsible for the creation of this product.         So here is the rare photo of him in the center.     This was taken when Mr. Eviater Halevi our friend at Creo who was our main contact in 1990's for product evaluation decided to go back to Israel and we went to Vancouver to wish him a good luck.
Thanks Jay for your long year of behind the scene great work; enjoy your well deserved  retirement in Denver.

Jay in the center and Mr. Halevi on the far right.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Florida party to say goodbye to Polychrome

Polychrome's joint venture was a big event for the company.      The fact that Kodak and Polychrome arranged 50:50 partnership indicated our strength in our standing and we should be proud of the outcome.           In the detail of the joint venture, however, there were many personal hardship through "streamlining" (reduction in personnel and plant/office shut down),      
Al Wierling sent in  his experience at that time.

Here is my perspective and some pics of the last days of Polychome in Florida.     I realize that others may have seen these events differently, but this is how I saw the demise of Polychrome as a stand alone company.

In January of 1998, we became officially Kodak Polychrome Graphics.       In February of the year, we had our first joint meeting with our new Kodak partners at the downtown Atlanta Marriott Hotel.    As I recall the attendees included sales, tech support and product managers from the Southeastern region.     We were scheduled for two days of presentation about the new company and our array of products.    Surprisingly to me, the first day and a half were all about Kodak with nary a mention of Polychrome.      On the second afternoon the Polychrome part started and was even cut short due to attendees flight times.    All the presenters were staking out their claim for a job and their product in the new company.     During the meetings there were bickerings about who would sell what products and the role of Pitman, the favored Kodak dealer.     Very disappointed, I left feeling like I would be now working for "KODAK Polychrome" Graphics.

Shortly after that we were advised that KPG would be evaluating all positions and would likely make some layoffs.    We had three sales positions in South Florida and curiously all three of us were each invited to a private lunch with Pete Stephens, the local Pitman manager.

Back in Tampa, Dick Hall, himself a former Kodak employee was lamenting the demise of Polychrome, so he decided to hold a goodbye Polychrome party in Tampa in May 1998 and invited only the Polychrome employees.     Dick was very proud of the success we had in Florida and had a cake decorated saying "to the best damn team a Kodak Polychrome will ever have.  Their Loss!!"

Two weeks after the party, the layoffs came down, with most from the Polychrome side.    I was laid off with a generous termination package and KPG  had arranged a job for me at Pitman.    After two weeks of consideration I said no and found employment elesewhere.

Dick Hall at his best

Al + Pat Wierling

Balfe Bradley + Wife

Wyatt Gordon + wife

John Sturgis + friend

Jim Hewitt + ???


Sandy Humphlies + ?+ Barbara Homer

Mrs Ferraiuolo, Wierling, Hall