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Slide Mounting and Imprinting



Slide Mounting and Imprinting
by Donna Rogers

While sales may be flat, they're steady. What, then, are the prospects for slide services in the future?

Digital was supposed mean the death of silver halide—and therefore the death of slides, slide mounts and mounting machines. But is that what is actually going on now?

"The handwriting was on the wall several years ago," says Mark Anderson, the national Sales and Marketing director for Think Inc. "With the utilization of the Internet and CDs and the consolidation amongst the larger players in the stock industry" sales are flat or have diminished across the board. "We've taken a pretty good hit, seen a depression in the number of units going out the door," he continues. "It's logical for them—there are valid and good uses of digital."

The demise of the conventional means of photography was predicted about 10 years ago, but the departure hasn't occurred as of yet—moreover, from what labs are saying, slides will not be extinct any time soon.

Photographers and stock agencies continue to store originals and silver halide submissions. Anderson adds, "As long as originals keep arriving on editor's desks," the papers, the sealing systems and the mounters are still a very viable part of the business. Meanwhile, companies in the business have either found their niche or are branching out into related areas.

New, Thicker Mounts
Gepe's Model 9010 slide mounter has become "very, very successful throughout Europe," where they do very high speed, intelligent E-6 processing on cine processors, says Sales and Marketing manager Bob Brown. E-6 film processing is significantly higher in Europe. Here in the States, the Minnesota-based company continues to make small refinements to its existing hardware line to make them more reliable and easier to maintain. One such model is the Model 6006, which now comes in two formats: the original which mounts 80 slides/minute, and a$500 upgrade achievable in the field that can do 150 slides/min.

All Gepe's models feature simplicity—they use no compressed air or high-tech electronics—and thus can frequently be serviced and maintained by consumer lab technicians. The equipment is based on the mount rather than the other way around for smooth processing. The company is announcing a brand new slide mount called the PLS. The new mount is thicker than its predecessor, but also prevents movement and doesn't contain a float inside the mount. While most mounts are about 1.3mm in thickness, this new mount is heavier and stronger at 1.45mm, but is still slim enough to comfortably fit in a standard 1.5mm slide carousel. It is still two-piece, two-color (grey/white) and can be fitted with the emulsion side up or down. It was previously folded over and welded closed; now the two pieces are sealed with ultrasound on three sides and the fourth side flexes open where the film is inserted. Internal locks keep it in position. All the Gepe and Pakon mounters can be modified to use this new slide mount.

Gepe also boasts lifelong service contracts for free parts and service while the customer uses its mounts; the company has also received ISO 9001 recertification this year. "Labs are always looking for ways to reduce costs," says Brown. "One way is to increase quality and, in turn, reduce waste. This [certification] is a guarantee of the highest quality and repeatability that can be achieved today. It transfers to the fewest possible damaged images during slide mounting."

Byers Division Sold
Pic-Mount has sold its Byers division to Image Products Company, under the helm of Laurin Larsen, owner/president. Larsen was previously with Byers and since Byers was sold to Pic-Mount about four years ago, he has served as Pic-Mount's national Sales manager. He explained that his company acquired the division rather than move the manufacturing facility and support people from Portland, OR to Carson City, NV (where it would have been consolidated with the parent company). Image Products Company will continue to supply technical service, sales support, spare parts, and refurbished and new equipment worldwide without interruption.

The mounters they carry are the AV-3000 semi-automatic that mounts 50 slides/min. and the AV-4000, an automatic version that mounts 100 slides/min. Both have the same basic mechanical chassis and are air operated. Also, the Eclipse model is an all electric, no-air unit that mounts 95 slides/min. and, like the AV-4000, is targeted for professional labs processing over 50 E-6 rolls per day. Its advantage over the AV-4000 is its quieter operation.

In addition, Image Products Company will continue to market three inline (those that attach to the mounter) dot matrix imprinters: the Digiprinter II, which prints dating and numbering only, the Flexiprinter 2E and the Flexiprinter 4E, which print two and four lines respectively. Pic-Mount will continue to manufacture the mounts for the Byers mounters and the two companies will preserve a partnership arrangement.

Pic-Mount Imaging Corp., of course, maintains a variety of mounting equipment along with their mounts. Director of Sales and Marketing Ellen Tutsch reports, "We have streamlined the line," which can be attributed to the spin-off of the Byers mounter family.

Pic-Mount's classic A2F automatic slide mounter is a heat-sealed paperboard slide mounter that has been an industry favorite for 40 years. For professional high-volume labs, it mounts 75 slides/min. and is compatible with the inline T-2000 eight line imprinter. Because the T-2000 supplies inkjet versus dot matrix, it offers faster, better-quality printing and enables imprinting of black company logos.

Pic-Mount also markets three mounters for plastic mounts. The P60 automatic slide mounter is ideal for smaller pro labs and minilabs. A very popular model, it is recommended for labs that do up to 80 rolls of E-6 film per day. It seals 50 slides/min., and uses a closed plastic mount that never touches the face of the film, protecting it from scratching. It comes in white and grey or other colors and uses an optional ND1 inline date and numbering imprinter.

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