Harman Technology – the company which produces the Ilford Photo and Kentmere film brands – has confirmed that it has restarted film production at its UK factory.
A Harman Technology spokesperson told Kosmo Foto on Monday (22 June) that film production had restarted last week at the site in Mobberley, Cheshire.
The factory had paused production in March as the UK entered lockdown due to the coronavirus, preparing extra stock of its most popular emulsions over uncertainty as to how long the factory might have to be closed.
“Film production started up last week (the HP5 production video we put out on social was filmed last Tuesday so that was all fresh stock being made). You can see it here: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/ilford-photo-back-in-production/
“Prior to lockdown we increased stock as much as possible and kept our warehouse open to keep orders going out the door. This included online sales from our website but also shipping to our UK stockists and international distributors.”
The spokesperson said some parts of the world might have seen stock shortages quicker than others, especially with more popular emulsions such as HP5+.
“As such stock levels vary around the world but our own warehouse is now all be depleted as thankfully demand remained high. We have a lot of back orders to work through which is our current priority and this is being done product by product so some should be available sooner than others.
“It is hard to put a specific timescale on when back orders will be filled (shipping times come into it too) but so far the machines have responded well to their well-earned rest!”
The spokesperson added that production capacity was not yet up to 100% because some staff were still not back to work because of safe working practices. “During lockdown we introduced a lot of Covid-19 related safety measures and processes on site to keep staff safe but hopefully over the coming weeks we will be back up to full strength.
“When will things be back to normal? I don’t know, but hopefully we can get stock back out there in into the marketplace as soon as possible.”
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Hopefully this will reduce prices as well.
I really doubt production will reach 100% capacity. I foresee a decrease or a stall in production especially this Fall and Winter as COVID cases soar in the UK. I think they will either have another lockdown if there will be a spike in local cases or employees being infected, or still work in reduced capacity. I really hope not, but history teaches us otherwise.
I would rather stock up on my favorite Ilford 35mm films. I don’t want it to become another Imago320 or a JCH 400 Street Pan casualty.