Ilford World class in imaging

One of the greatest challenges for any manufacturer in today’s world is the ability to monitor and respond to the changing technologies and trends in the marketplace. In order to be able to meet these demands, manufacturers have to have the experience, flexibility, and the technical competence to stay at the forefront of their field.

As one of the oldest photographic companies in the world, ILFORD has faced and conquered, many challenges including the revolutionary transition from traditional analogue to digital imaging technology, from silver halide to ink-jet. Thanks to its recent development in the field of nanotechnology, in this fast changing world ILFORD is addressing the future needs for flexible, lightweight multifunctional films.

Since its inception in 1879, ILFORD has nurtured and developed a world-class brand that is still today renowned within the photographic arena. Experience is paramount and ILFORD has used its knowledge to fine-tune its core competencies. The company excels in complex dye development, innovative media manufacturing and highly intricate multi-layer coating technology. As a result, ILFORD is one of the few companies in the world to offer integrated research and development initiatives for dyes, inks and coated media and is therefore able to offer its customers a “best in class” solution for producing outstanding images. Best in class in multi-layer coating

Thanks to its high-speed, multi-layer coating with powerful, but mild drying facility, ILFORD is able to coat very thin layers (0.5 to 50 micron range) onto different substrates, to the highest quality and consistency, for both the imaging and non-imaging industry. Today, ILFORD is proud to be working with blue chip companies from within the imaging sector, as well as building relationships with global businesses from outside the industry. The new global partners are utilizing the coating capability that ILFORD has to offer, to develop leading-edge components, which form part of innovative product development programs.

The Swiss facility also boasts coating and finishing technology that plays a key role in ensuring that ILFORD is recognised as a leader in its field. The highly automated finishing facility is a further strength to the company’s capabilities as it is able to supply a range of packaging options to meet the demands of today’s customers. ILFORD is able to offer its customers a tailor-made solution to match their requirements.

ILFORD supplies photo quality inkjet media to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), leading photographic dealers, wholesalers, commercial and graphic specialists and mass retailers, allowing professionals and amateurs alike to produce quality photographic images around the world. ILFORD prides itself on offering a professional customer focussed approach to its multi-channel business. The ILFORD brand has been synonymous with professional quality photographic material for many years.

For example, the ILFORD GALERIE has become the number one choice for professional photographers and high-end amateurs looking for a truly universal product, compatible with all high-end inkjet printers in the market. Utilising the latest coating technology, the range takes inkjet photo printing to the next level in terms of quality, gamut, longevity and stability.

The ILFORD GRAPHIC range includes display films, backlit products and materials to create pop-up displays, all compatible with the latest inkjet technology. ILFOCOLOR silver halide display films are optimised for digital exposure, where high quality photographic output is a must. ILFOCHROME DIRECT POSITIVE silver halide material is the unique way to print from original transparencies and the ultimate way to print from digital files. ILFOCHROME MICROGRAPHIC is a unique archival recording film capable of storing both optical and digital data on film with a logevity of several hundreds years.

Thanks to its experience and background in photographic technology, ILFORD is among the leading specialists in the formulation of complex web-coated layers, using the latest in proprietary nanoparticle dispersion technology (see figure). These complex multi-layer assemblies can contain active compounds, which are tailored to meet the requirements of a range of industries. From its experience within the Ciba-Geigy group in the 1980’s, ILFORD also excels in developing water-soluble dyes with intense and stable colours for imaging applications, particularly in ink-jet home and professional printing. Tailor made dyes are available for special requirements for spectral, chemical or physical properties.

While the majority of ILFORD’s film and paper applications are in printed pictures, there are new applications appearing, outside the imaging industry, and that demand large area, cost efficient, high quality flexible coated substrates. For small area manufacturing of thin layers, vacuum deposition was for many years the method of choice. However, this process is expensive and not suitable for some sensitive chemicals. Alternatively, multi-layer aqueous curtain web coating  is an attractive method for certain types of substrates.




Marly The ILFORD site near Fribourg offers integrated R&D initiatives for dyes, inks and coated media.




Novel nano properties

Thanks to their extremely high porosity and transparency, ILFORD’s nano-structured layers have a number of novel and interesting properties, such as low refractive index (n<1.2), high specific surface area and thermal insulation. Examples where such properties are of interest include anti-reflective coatings, light guiding and chemical sensing. Active molecules can be further added that exhibit optical functions like fluorescence or colour shift, or biomedical applications, like chemical sensing functions.

As an example of such novel capabilities, ILFORD, in cooperation with the Laboratory of Opto-Electronics from EPF-Lausanne, has developed a colour shifting film prototype that improves the light quality of modern light sources, such as blue LED’s.

Another application example is in the field of security and brand protection, where functional nanoporous films can be structured with subsequent printing or embossing steps. Angle dependent colours or colour changes have been demonstrated, similar to those used as security features on official documents. This is achievable in a much more cost efficient and larger surface manufacturing process. Thanks to its development in nano-technology, ILFORD is able to offer, in this fast changing world, innovative solutions of multi-layer assemblies on various substrates, either for imaging or non-imaging applications.




En français dans le texte

De l’image aux nanotechnologies

Fondé en 1879, ILFORD est aujourd’hui un acteur majeur dans le développement et la production de supports pour la photographie, tant pour l’impression jet d’encre que pour les procédés argentiques. Situé à Marly, dans le canton de Fribourg, son site de production ultramoderne est à l’origine d’un grand nombre de produits jet d’encre de haute qualité actuellement sur le marché. Grâce à la maîtrise des technologies d’étendage en couches minces de nanoparticules développée pour l’image, Ilford s’engage dans de nouvelles applications telles que des revêtements anti-reflets, des couches guide de lumière, des senseurs moléculaires ou bien des protections optiques. En collaboration avec le laboratoire d’opto-électronique de l’EPFL ILFORD a aussi développé un film convertisseur de couleurs qui améliore la qualité des sources lumineuses des LED bleus.

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