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Two years on from the management buy-out of ILFORD Imaging UK Limited, nobody can doubt HARMAN technology’s unique passion for progression.
When HARMAN technology Limited was formed to save the future of ILFORD PHOTO traditional black and white photographic products in 2005, it immediately cemented its position in the history of the British photographic industry, not to mention the hearts of the global photographic community. A proven passion for photography, combined with the company’s unique commitment to innovation looks set to secure a buoyant future for HARMAN.
When ILFORD Imaging UK Limited went into receivership in 2004, it left the world’s photographers holding their breath; but just two years after a successful management buy-out, HARMAN technology has become a flourishing business once again. Named after Alfred Harman, the founder of ILFORD, HARMAN technology has maintained the company’s tradition for innovation in the traditional photographic realm, whilst simultaneously pushing the boundaries of digital inkjet media with its new HARMAN PHOTO range.
Best of British
“HARMAN technology is, in effect, the same business that was established in 1879 by Alfred Harman – and we are very proud of our heritage,” commented HARMAN technology’s Managing Director Phil Harris. “We have been based at Mobberley in Cheshire for almost 104 years now, and never in that time have things been this exciting and dynamic.”
Both the ILFORD PHOTO and HARMAN PHOTO brands are pushing the boundaries of photographic products by combining new technological advances with a vast experience of photographic research and development. Since the beginning of 2007 HARMAN has launched three pioneering professional inkjet papers, incorporating unique anti-curl technology along with the same baryta layer that is used on the MULTIGRADE black and white fibre-based darkroom papers. The HARMAN PHOTO brands should not to be confused with the ILFORD brand of digital inkjet products that are manufactured by a completely separate and unrelated business in Switzerland.
“HARMAN PHOTO MATT FB Mp, MATT FB Mp WARMTONE and GLOSS FB Al inkjet papers are the first inkjet products in the HARMAN brand to be produced here. They have enjoyed a fantastic reception from photographers both domestically and abroad,” he continued, “and at the same time we are expanding and evolving the ILFORD PHOTO product range.”
Add to these launches the introduction of the ILFORD HARMAN Selenium Toner last year and the revolutionary new ILFORD PHOTO Galerie FB Digital paper, which for the first time allows photographers to create traditional photographic prints from digital sources, and the momentum of the company’s research and development becomes clear.
Phil Harris continued:
“We are committed to the continual development of our photographic products, and we aim to remain at the forefront of both traditional and digital photographic markets for many years to come.”
“However, the unique portfolio of equipment, facilities and expertise at HARMAN has also led us into exciting new arenas in recent years; arenas that are really quite removed from photography but which require the same precision and capacity for innovation.”
Beyond Imaging
HARMAN technology’s philosophy is, ‘Inspired by Imagination, Shaped by Science’, and this boundless passion for innovation has seen the application of HARMAN’s cutting-edge technology open up opportunities for the business far removed from photography. Having spent decades creating smaller and smaller particles of Silver Halide with maximised photo-reactivity, HARMAN is now seeing a demand for its capabilities in this area from sectors as diverse as bio-medical research and nanotechnics. The same Silver Halide technology that has been developed for over a century to create modern photographic products also has a multitude of other applications when particles are produced to the scale and precision boasted by HARMAN technology.
“We are very close to a number of agreements that certainly fall outside of the traditional parameters HARMAN has been involved in before. We have the capacity to produce nano-particulate, light-sensitive silver particles, which are currently being tested and utilised in healthcare applications for their medical diagnostics,” explained Phil Harris.
“Nanotechnology is an emerging science, and we are involved in a number of R&D projects because of our capability to produce particles to a nanoscale. With these projects, we are unlocking the potential of our expertise, processes and equipment that have developed naturally over the last century. We really are breaking new ground here.”
A bright future
HARMAN’s comprehensive finishing capabilities are also being sub-contracted to various third parties, helping the business to fund its continued investment in the field of photography. HARMAN’s Marketing Director Howard Hopwood added:
“HARMAN’s expertise lies in innovation, development and precision – which is integral to our position in the photographic marketplace, but which is also opening up new avenues of revenue that will help us to grow and thrive in the future.”
Indeed, just as HARMAN is redefining the boundaries between film and digital photography through its innovative ILFORD PHOTO and HARMAN PHOTO products, the company is now forging new and exciting links with emerging industries that will help to secure a buoyant future for one of the longest-serving contributors to the global photographic marketplace. With Britain’s finest photographic heritage, the future certainly looks bright for HARMAN technology, and that’s a situation that will be welcomed by the world’s photographers who were left holding their breath just two years ago.
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