Inside the Kodak Film Factory (Factory Tour Part 3 of 3) - Smarter Every Day 286

Inside the Kodak Film Factory (Factory Tour Part 3 of 3) - Smarter Every Day 286

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Hey it’s me, Destin. Welcome back to Smarter Every Day. This... [KA-CHUNK, KA CHUNK] [JET ENGINE NOISES] [CHU-KUH, CHU-KUH] [KER-FLOP] [DING!] is at the Kodak Film Factory in Rochester, New York. The fact that we get to film in the plant is amazing.

This is how Kodak photography film is made. And this is the third of three videos. In the first video, we looked at the backing. How did they make that stuff back there? We learned about films with Estar backing and the incredible engineering involved in taking these plastic pellets and then melting it in a special auger and then extruding it and then stretching it out and cooling it over a continuous process.

And we learned about a concept called an accumulator. This is a clever arrangement of pulleys that spread out to collect material inside the production line so that you never have to stop the extrusion from the auger. This allows you to never stop the process from moving while at the end of the line you can stop a roll and make a cut in the second video, we took that wide roll that we made, right, and we applied a light sensitive coating to it with, get this, a laminar flow waterfall.

I kid you not. It's incredible how this thing works. They're actually applying multiple layers at once with this waterfall and they make the layers, like in these special kettles down in the basement. And oh, by the way, everything is happening in the dark. And after they apply the coatings, they have to go dry it over like a mile of conveyance still happening in the dark. They're hardly touching this stuff because they're moving it with air.

In fact, they use these nineties era robots to move stuff around. It is a technological marvel. So at the end of video two, we have this light sensitive film and these big light proof boxes called caskets, right? So at that point we have to figure out how to cut it up so that it's small enough to put into a camera. We have to like, it's called slitting.

We have to slit the film and then we have to put these little holes in it. Because these little sprocket holes are important for it running through your camera. Right? So after we do that, we have to then build this can. We're gonna get to see how they build the can and then we have to put the film in it. And then after we put the film in that can, we have to put the whole thing in this can? And then we're going to see how they put it in this box.

This process is incredible and I'm very excited to share it with you! Before we start, most important thing to remember: the film we're going to be dealing with today already has that light sensitive coating on it. So we have to keep everything in the dark until that special moment when a shutter is allowed to open [shutter click] and you expose the image. By the way, I'm going to take film photos [click] throughout this process, [click] so we get to see the [click] Kodak process filmed [click] on Kodak film. Very cool. Anyway, let's get started. I going to introduce you to Patrick. Patrick is a young engineer who's been spending the last few years since he got out of school learning this entire process.

And he's going to walk us through every step. Now, this process is amazing, but we're going to start right here at the Slitter and we're going to go meet Tim. Tim is the operator of the slitter and he can literally do this with his eyes shut. [Tim] This is where we slit the film that comes in from coating in a wide role form 54 inches. This is all Dark [Destin] Ah huh It comes in to the cover lifter, cover lifter comes in, takes the cover off. [Destin] So that would be the casket and you're lifting the lid on the casket. [Tim] Correct, the lid is up there.

[Destin] Oh, gotcha. [Tim] Once that's off we go and check the roll. And make sure we got the right roll.

We'll hit some buttons. It automatically loads onto the slitter. This will slit 12,000 feet. So one of these large caskets holds 12,000 feet. [Destin] Wow! And this slitter, we usually do the full roll 12,000 feet. [Destin] And it's about five feet

per 35 millimeter roll. Is that right, Did I get that right? [Tim] yeah. [Destin] That's right. All right. So this is Patrick. Patrick's an engineer.

[Patrick] Nice to meet ya. [Destin] Doing all right? [Tim] This is the unwind. So we put it on the unwind, thread it up. There'll be a leader in the machine.

[Destin] Is this PET or is this acetate? This is Estar. [Destin] Okay, Estar. Got it. [Tim] Yes. So you've got your two banks.

You got your even and your odd bank. This is a 35 millimeter slitter only. [Destin] So you have tension on one side on the whole sheet, which is right here. This is a whole sheet going. [Tim] Everything's got tension. [Destin] Everything's got tension? [Tim] Yeah. These are pulling tensions. See these spinning?

[Destin] They're spinning right now? Oh wow! [Tim] Yes. Yeah. [Destin] okay. So is this actually moving leader through right now? [Tim] No. [Destin] Okay. [Tim] We're not jogging. We just have tension.

[Destin] So this is, this is idling here? [Patrick] Yeah. [Destin] Okay. [Patrick] I have clutches underneath those pullers [Destin] directional clutches. [P] Yeah. [D] Oh, that's how you maintain tension? [P] Yes. [Destin] Gotcha. Okay, I'm with you. That's cool.

So, you know, Tim, you know everything about this machine [Tim] more than anyone else. [Destin] Yeah? So is Tim, is Tim the guy? [Patrick] He's the guy. [Destin] So are you an engineer? What's your title? [Tim] No, I'm just an operator.

[Destin] I didn't mean to offend you by calling you an engineer. So he's an engineer. So you're basically teaching him? [Patrick] Yes. Oh, yeah. [Destin] Yeah. That's how that works, isn't it? Like every manufacturing job I've ever been in, the operators teach the engineers. That's the way it works.

That's awesome. [Tim] So you've got, you know, that's the even when you got the odd bank over there. So this is basically the the odd bank, they're all stuck down and then you got your salvage edges going to the [Destin] Recycle? [Tim] Those are just waste. [Destin] And so you go get the silver out of that somewhere. [Tim] Yes. Yeah, I gets taken and sent over there. This is obviously you know your your scrim.

[Destin] Okay. And that's where they knurled that over on the estar line. [Tim] Correct. [Destin] So since this the slitting machine is so big, we can only see it in pieces. This is what we're looking at as a whole. We get a big roll of film unwinding and being fed into the machine. It goes up and over and down to a series of blades that slit and send half the film to the odd side and half of the film to the even side to be rolled up. The edges are trimmed off and then sent over to a bin so they can be recycled.

So up until this process, you know, after we did the photosensitive coating, everybody's been worried about touching that side. But here it looks like I've got a roller. That is it coming in contact here on the other side? So [Patrick] yup, yeah. So we touch the emulsion in this, in this building only, mainly, because it's actually dried at this point. Right. By the time it gets to us, it's no longer just a wet,

wet emulsion, it's got some stiffness to it. So we're, we're allowed to actually roll and wind on that side. [Destin] So do you have night vision goggles in here? [Tim] Yes. [Destin] Okay. That's how you have to do it.

[Tim] Yeah. Ummm I really don't use them. [Patrick] No [Destin with surprise in his voice] What?! [Tim] I've been working in the dark for almost 30 years, so it's it's nothing. So, you can actually see fairly decent.

I could see him in the dark, but you go over to a K3 Slitter where they do that film there, you know, the 135 that... You know, you can't see me from me to you. [Destin] So are we doing 35 millimeter right now? [Tim] it's 35 millimeter, but it's a different. [Patrick] Yeah.

So this is this is print film for the movie industry. [Destin] Oh okay. [Patrick] The sister slitter [Tim] It's the same exact slitter [Patrick] same slitter over. [Tim] It's the same thing. [Destin] Got it. So question

here, what is our final product from this room? We've got over here. We've got the big roll of estar coming in. We're slitting it. We're making our even in our odd Excuse me our odd and our even.

What are we sending out of this room? Are we putting, are we making rolls here? [Time] Yes. Once the machine starts, you'll see these cards come in underneath the rolls. So once they come under the rolls, you know, the rolls build. And usually the rolls are like 12,000 feet. And once they're on there we'll and they go out, they'll go out of the racking and then they'll go down the hallway. [Destin] Oh, am I seeing rails here? [Tim] Yes. Yeah, it goes right in to that.

[Patrick] We got a whole automated system. To handle these rolls [Tim] All the handling system is automated, so it goes from here to the tees. [Destin] So you're not past this point in the dark when it's running. [Tim]

[Destin] Unless there's a problem. [Tim] So you want to see it, running? [Destin] Yeah. Yeah, It's great. If you don't mind? [Tim] Yeah. [high pitch alarm, door clinks along then slaps down] Okay, so now that's unrolling.

[Patrick] Yup, yeah. So if you look through the window here, it's that you can actually see the web moving. [Destin] Okay, so it's actually going now, It's going up that way. It's hard to see, but it's happening.

Okay. Can I come over here? [Patrick] Yup. And then so now we're coming up through the web path up above the machine. [D] Okay. [P] And that's where we we have some tension controls. We've got our Web steer here in the middle, so you can see that ah right here. So this thing will actually move side to side a little bit to keep the web centered.

[D] So it's moving this way laterally. [P] Ah It actually does on a pivot. [D] A pivot? Okay. Got it. So it's feeding this way, right? [P] Yep. So it's coming across. [D] uh huh [P] And that's actually going to be tough to see in here. It's actually going to come down.

[D] So I can see it moving through there, coming, coming down. [P] And then we will end up through the knife set here. That's that's where it's actually getting turned. You really see right through this window here, the web actually coming straight down into the knives. Okay. And now once it's through the knives, it's ah going to go up to the rewinds.

Now it's 35 millimeter. Right now, it's coming back up as 35 millimeter through the flanged rollers on to the core. And then we just saw the. [D] So is it spinning up on each side? [P] Yes.

[D] Okay. I didn't realize that. So you're filling this side and you're filling that side. [P] Yes. That's because we want to we want to split the web as soon as we can, coming through the knives. So this is it right here, right? [Tim] Yeah.

This is the product. [Tim] That's 500 feet. [Destin] Okay, So we fill 500 feet up, and now you have to [Tim] I've got to get that film off. So in order to do that, we put the the vac on do a splice.

Now, normally in the dark we would be signing this out and bring in another full roll in behind this. But since this is the leader we're going to keep the leader in because I'm going to get rid of that waste. So we're going to do a splice Again this is all in the dark. [Destin] Heh heh Wow. That's a vacuum? Is that a vacuum right there? [P] Yes. [Tim] There's vacuum upper and lower are vacuums. Yeah. [D] Okay.

[Tim] So that's double sided splice tape. So you'll see when that goes back, it's going to reverse and automatically stick. The 500 feet rolls down.

It'll be clear in a minute when you see this happen. [Destin] Okay. Understood. So the splice is running now? [Tim] splice is running now. You can actually go in when it comes down. You'll see these arms come up.

You can hear the tape going through the rollers right there. [Destin] Uh huh. Where's the splice at? [Tim] It's it's right over there. [Patrick] Just passed down now. It's going to go through the knives now. [D] I see it and that's why it has white markers on it.

So you can see it? [Tim] The white is the adhesive for the tape. [Destin] I guess it's in the dark. So it doesn't matter. [Tim] Yes. [film slaps down as arms make contact] So that just separated.

All the, everything. [film crackling from contact] You see what I mean now? [Destin] Yeah. [Tim] All these roles are stuck down.

[Destin] Ohh, I see [Tim] To go to the next operation. If we didn't do that splice. This is still attached to the roll. So how does it get out of the room? [Destin] So this is like a perforation. So the splice has the ability to rip easily.

Is that true? [Tim] It's double sided. There's adhesive on both sides. So when it reverses, it rips off the one side. [Destin] Got it. Okay I understand now. So basically, the splice is preemptively getting double sided tape ready to go to close out this roll.

[Patrick] Yes [Destin] Is that right? [Tim] You're using double sided to close out the roll, yes. [Destin] Got it. Okay, cool. That makes sense. Yeah. So you can see the confusion on my face over there. [Tim] Yes

I said it all makes sense once you see it. [Destin giggling] Okay. [Tim] All right.

So that's the same, same thing. We just make sure they're all stuck down. [Film fluttering] [Destin] And so can I. Can I free will this? [Tim] Sure. [D] Okay. So.

And I should see it closed out on it. There it is. [Tim] Yeah. They all have them. They all have. All right. Here. [Destin] Yup. Okay. Got them.

So some the clutches spent more freely than others. [Tim] Yes. [Destin] Got it. And so now you're going to automatically have this cart move over there. [Tim] Yeah. [Destin] Okay.

[Tim] Normally this cart moves out and this rack goes all the way over to the other side, and then they go out of this room into the tee perf machine. [Destin] Is this how they send back the rolls to you? [Tim] Yes. Yeah. There's another room next to us. The clock's all these [D] got it. [T] And then we get them from that room. [Destin] Dude you're good at this. [Tim Humbly] I don't know. [Destin] That's pretty cool.

Yeah, that's pretty legit. So you've got send these out? [Tim] Yup. [Door Clicks] [Machines spool up] [Air hissing as arms move down] [Click into place, then film flipping over rolls as it moves away] [Sounds of the shafts spinning] [Air hiss as the machine stopped] [Destin] And so it's going to go over? [Tim] No.

That's where it's stopping because I'm going to take that N.G. film and throw it out and put them back on. But like I said, normally when you're in production, those are going out. [Destin] And so this machine is all about managing tension. [Patrick] Yes. [Tim] Yeah, tension is very important for your slit width and everything.

You lose tension. That's going to be film all over the place. [Destin] Wow. Okay. It's a big deal. That's awesome, man. This is great. [Tim] All right. [Destin] Sweet. Patrick, walked me a few steps away to where

they had a huge assembly, the slitting machine blades. And we had a brief discussion about how it works. [Patrick] So we've got an upper and lower set here, in this frame.

So we've got the upper knives up here. [Destin] Okay, Show me a knife. These are the knives? [Patrick] This is a knife. [D] So that's a that's a right, a right angle edge right there. [P] Yeah.

So there is some geometry science we can't go into here. [Destin] But it shears right here. [P] Yes, right. So this is a shear cutter. [D] So the film runs straight through here. [P] So we kind of use two different processes in this building. We've got shear straight through slitting, and then this one where we actually wrap around the the lower roller.

[D] So it's coming in here and it's going to make contact with this roller, which also has a sharp edge on it. [P] Correct. [D] Goes around and goes out another way. And so it's actually making how many degrees of contact, would you say, before it gets out? [P] Let's say about 100, maybe less. [Shutter click] [D] Okay. That's awesome. Thank you very much. This episode of Smarter Every Day is sponsored by Nord VPN.

And you've probably heard of VPNs virtual private networks. But I want to tell you a story which I think is interesting. My grandfather used to have this little trick.

He had an old shirt that he had in his closet, and he would put this old shirt on. It had holes and it's kind of like this one. He would put that shirt on before he went to buy a car or something like that, because he didn't want the salesmen making assumptions about what he could afford based on how well he was dressed. There's a new way to use VPNs that I did not know about.

That's very similar to the trick my grandfather used to use. You know that websites track your IP address, right? They know where you are in the world and where you're accessing their website from. Now, interestingly, I didn't know this until recently. They will change the price on hotel rooms and on like electronics based on where they think you're from. I think this is interesting.

This is a really cool use of a VPN. So instead of saying like surfing the internet from America, let's use Nord vpn to connect from let's just do Colombia. And you'll notice if you go to different websites, you will get different prices based on what they think you can afford. In the US, Microsoft Office is offered for about 100 bucks.

Makes sense, right? In Colombia, it's 77 bucks. That is a significant difference. But check this out. Adobe Creative Cloud, a thousand bucks in the US in Colombia, it's offered for 198 bucks. Say what?!? [Destin in crazy higher voice] What's going on here? I think this is amazing. And if you were to try this, you can get nordvpn by going to That is the best deal you're going to find online.

So go check it out. You get a really good discount on a two year plan. You also get four months for free. So Norton VPN dot com slash smarter. They have thousands of servers in 59 different countries so you can check out the internet from any of these locations. One thing I've always wondered about is can you double VPN? Yeah, you can.

There's a button right there. One account lets you connect up to six devices. So I have it on my phone, get it on a couple of different computers. Nord vpn is super fast so you don't have to sacrifice speed for security. Go to nordvpn dot com slash smarter.

Also, if you don't like it, it's a 30 day money back guarantee. If you try it and you don't like it, they'll give you your money back. I'm grateful to Nord VPN for sponsoring this episode because I really like making content like this. So now that we've slit these big rolls of film down to the right width to fit into a camera, it's time to see one of the processes I was most curious about, and that's putting these holes in the sides of the film. Mechanical cameras have these little sprockets that line up with those holes, and it has to be just right.

If they get it wrong, then it's not going to feed through the camera correctly and it's going to be a nightmare. We headed through a labyrinth of halls to see the very special machine that does this. And I met Matt, one of the operators that makes it happen. So right now this room has lights on, but it's usually dark. [Matt] Yes, we work in a dark environment.

So yeah, as you see, here's our booth. This is basically the brains of the operation [Destin] And this is on curtains, so you can see the screen. [Matt] Yeah. So no light damages the film. [D] Okay. [Matt] It keeps the light content. [Destin] Sounds great.

So what are we trying to do in this room? [Matt] So this is how the film comes in. That's just one piece of film. What we want is a finished product with the perforation. [Destin] Oh, okay, so we're punching holes. [Matt] This machine right here, this is the heart. [Destin] So this is this is what lets the camera grab the film.

[Matt] Exactly. That's where the the sprocket will grab the film and drive it through the camera. [Destin] Oh, wow. Okay. [Matt] So yeah, we this is where we put the holes in and finish the product based on the customers demand what size they want for particular holes. [Destin] Okay.

So you can do different whole sizes and different dimensions. [M] We have different punches, yes. [Destin] Really. [Matt] So yeah. [Destin] So this is where you put the core over here? [Matt] Well, to be honest with you, what happens is this door here would be open.

As you said, we're in a dark environment. This door would be open. There's an arm that will reach into the rack, bring the roll in and automatically load it. [D] Okay. [M] Then this arm comes down.

It puts all the computer information that we need to produce this roll. [D] How does how does the arm know the computer information? [M] Well it downloads from the actual rack. [D] Okay, got it. [M] There's a card on the rack. [D] Got it.

[M] That'll be read and then its sent into the computer. It's going to know that it's a 2000 foot wall. 4000 foot or 6000 foot. [D] Okay. [M] The customer has different demand and it's also going to tell it what print to put on there. [D] This looks very complicated. [M] That's just

the nuts and bolts of it is it's very complicated. But for an operator's point of view, it's really not that difficult. [D] Okay. [M] There's only a couple of interactions I actually have with the machine. Everything else is automated. [D] Can you show me what they are? [M] Yeah. What I'm gonna do.

So this is exactly how the roll would have been loaded in under a dark environment. So as an operator, I'm going to take this tape off because we don't want that. So this chopped it. And what we want is a rounded edge because we don't want to damage the heart. [D[ Okay, So a rounded edge and so it's a very specific [M] very specific cut [D] Oh, a rounded edge. Yeah, okay, got it.

[M] We don't want this going through the heart on the other end. [D] Okay. [M] Because of the chance when it splices through it will damage the heart. [D] So that was a vacuum right there. [M] Yeah. holding it down [D] So, so that's the back side of the film. So you don't scratch it. [M] Exactly.

[D] So on, on the roll, where's the photosensitive part? It's on the inside? [M] This is the emulsion. Yes. And this is a support. [D] Okay. [M] The outside of the support. [D] Gotcha. [M] So now I'd pull this knife off, there'd be a balance. I'd throw that out. [D] Okay. [M] And it keeps me from overlapping the film.

So I butt that up to the knife. I'm going to reset it now. I take a piece of tape and you want it in the center of the film. You don't want it being perforated. [D] Okay. [M] So now I'm going to take this.

[D] You don't want the tape to be perforated because it'll mess up your punch. [M] It's very, It could be. Our tape could get stuck on the heart and caused damage. There's a number of things that could happen. [D] Gotcha. [M] So now I'll take the slack out.

and I'm going to send the film through. [D] Where should I be looking right now? [M] That's well all this, you got. This arm moving. The film is going to kick through this end and it's predetermined to make sure that I get the tape off so this this board comes out the knife will cut the film so that I have all the tape through the machine.

Gotcha. And then this would be what we call a scratch test end. Every roll that we run, we'll have a scratch test end that I would send to the tube system [D] uh huh. [M] That goes to the quality lab, and the inspector will verify that it meets our standards. [D] Got it.

So. So what this machine is the scratchiest machine in here? [M] The scratchiest? [D] You said, you're going to test scratch testing. Is that what you said? [M] Well, this is the verify. There is no scratches. [D]Got it. [M] Yeah, because obviously the customer wants perfect film and that's our goal. [D] Got it.

[M] So this verifies that every single roll we run is physically checked. [D] Perfect. [M] There is no defects. [D] Gotcha. [M] And then we manually wrap it around the core. [D] I'm going to put I'll get right here. [M] Okay, That's fine. So we got tension on the roll.

[D] You didn't you didn't tape it or anything. You just let the tension do the work. [M] Exactly. It'll wrap around itself, but I'll hit the builder arm. And now we got the door open for demonstration purposes. [D] So stay back? [M] Normally the door would close.

[D] Got it. [M] So now I'm going to start the machine. [D] All right, So. So where should I be looking? [M] So this is this is where it's going to wind up. It's going to unwind from the backend and it's going to wind up here.

[D] Okay, Sounds good. [Machine starts up] [Air hissing] [Destin] Got it. [Whirrling sounds as it speeds up] That's really fast Matt. [M] It runs up to 3000 feet a minute. [D] That's really fast. [M] Yeah. We used to run 100 feet a minute on the old style machine. [D] So this really increased productivity.

[M] Yeah, Greatly. Greatly. We've been doing it this way for about 20 years. 25 years [D] Did you run it on 100 feet per minute system? [M] I still do, some products.

We still have to run that way. [D] Can you show me where the holes go? [M] Oh, you mean the perforation? [D] Where is it? Where is it? Cutting the hole? Where is it punching the holes? [M] This right here. And the spinning. So this is the actual punch drum this is the die drum. [D] Okay. [M] So as it rotates it's pushing the perforations [D] I see it right here. [M] Yeah. [D] So those are the little posts [M] punching, punching the holes in the film right here.

[D] Yeah. [M] And the film that's ejected goes into the heart and gets vacuumed out. Through this exhaust tube. [D] So. So if I had a high speed camera, I would see little holes of film going that way. [M] Yeah. Is this is clear. Yeah. You'd see the vacuum taking them out.

[D] Is there a bucket of those holes somewhere? [M] Right around the wall I can show you after we're done. [D] Okay. [M] There's a big bin. [D] Sounds good. So can you. Can you run this? So we're done. [M] Yeah. [D] We slurped like a spaghetti noodle.

We slurped the end of the film up right? [M] Exactly. [D] Okay, so that that roll is done. So at this point, how do you take the core off? [M] Now, if this was actual production I wouldn't. What would happen is, this

arm right here. You see, there's a core there. [D] Yeah. [M] This arm comes down. It takes the empty core, comes back to the retracted position.

While that's going on the manipulator arm is bringing in my next full roll of film. [D] That's awesome. [M] So, yeah, I don't. I don't touch anything on this end. [D] Gotcha. [M] It's all automatic. [D] So what on this machine do you worry about? Is there something that typically messes up? [M] Uh, not usually.

[D] That's impressive. [M] There's, you might get an unusual occurrence once in a great while, but they're they're very reliable. [D] That's impressive. So how many of these do you guys have? [M] We have these two here, and then we have seven on the other side.

[D] Seven on the other side. Yeah, we used to have 28, but because film isn't quite as popular as it used to be, [D] it's picking back up. [M] No, I love it. I love it. [D] Do you like your job? [M] Oh, I love it.

I love, I started 26 years ago and obviously going through all the changes we've gone through, I'm really surprised to still be here. [D] Yeah. [M] A lot of us never anticipated that with all the bad news you know. [D] Are you seeing production go up? [M] Yeah, it seems to be headed that way. Cause we were, actually been working some overtime.

We hear about all the directors out in Hollywood. That still love film. [D] I still shoot film. [M] Yeah, no friends of mine. Same thing that when you go upstairs they still shoot 120 and, and I'm a big music fan so I still got record albums They're coming back. [D] Oh yeah, isn't it awesome? [M]yeah, it's it's really cool.

[D] I love it. [M] Because I told guys, just because it's new doesn't mean it's improved. [Destin with maniacal laugh] I hear you! Can you show me the holes that come out of the film? [M] Yeah, I'll show you right here. So what happens is, when we were running this whole bank, of seven, all the perfs get sucked out through the vacuum. [D] Uh huh. [M] And we have these two big hoppers right here. [D] Okay. [M] And this is where they get dispensed, So right here.

[D] Oh, wow. [Destin laughs out loud] [M] Yeah. [D] Dude! [M] So that's. That's how much film we've run. [D] That's amazing. [M] All of it. All those little perforations. [D] And that's silver.

There's silver in that. [M] Exactly. So we recycle it to recover the silver. [D] So once it comes out here, it's in the light. So this is you just. You just recycle the whole thing. Can I get a picture with you in there, Matt? [Matt] Oh, sure. [Shutter click]

[Patrick] So I'm sure he told you, right? That middle bit that's actually making the perforations. We call that the heart, right? [D] No, he didn't tell me that. [P] Okay, So. [D] So so I will say that the operator, Matt, he seemed to not have a big concern about that, which tells me that the engineers are doing their job right.

[P] Yeah, there is a lot of technology going into developing that. That system right, 3000 feet a minute. It is not, not slow when you're perforating at those speeds. There's a lot of extra things that you have to start thinking about, right? [D] Okay [P] I mean, when you're up at 3000 feet a minute, you're thinking about harmonics now. [D] Yes. [P] Right, vibrations, harmonics, Tensions are really important. So we're actually sneaking through the maintenance shop here because we've got a lot of the hearts on display here.

And here's one kind of, kind of cut open. [D] Oh wow Oh yeah. [P] So, the face plate of the machines here and just this little bit is sticking out. [D] Okay [P] and we've got all the hoses and stuff hooked up to the front here for the vacuums.

And one reason why we nickname it the heart, because we have an oil mist in here. [D] Okay. [P] And when it's running, it's got the nice red oil flowing through it like a heart one. [D] Those are just straight involute teeth, aren't they? [P] Yep. [D] That's interesting. So can I sit down in this chair? [P] Yes. [D] And kind of engage with this.

[P] This is really, really high precision stuff. [D] Okay, so I'm seeing. So you've got set screws here. [P] Yes. [D] That are positioning each individual hole. [P] Yeah.

So the lower sets, they're called the dies. And up at the top is the punches, right. So we've got a punch and die operation [D] Can I turn it? [P] Uhhh, Yes.

[D] You think so? [P] Yes. [D] Okay, so. So I grab it here. Okay.

That's a free wheeler, so I should be able to. Yeah. Look at that. Okay, so. So this is just a one to one. [P] Yup [D] I feel no mechanical interaction whatsoever [P] Nope, yeah so it's actually a through hole.

[D] So basically here's my knife. So this hole has to move left and right up and down in order to index with the punch that corresponds with it. And is there, do you know how many there are on the wheel? [P] 96. [D] There's 96. And so those are paired. [P] Yep. [D] And they're tuned as a pair. [P] Correct.

[D] How long does it take to tune them? [P] Months. [D] Months to tune one heart? [P] Yep. [D] Are you serious? [P] Yes. [D] Well, I have so many things I want to ask you. Um, How is it driven? There's a big motor out this way. [P] Yep, Yep. So got a serve on the serve on the. [D] Direct drive? [P] Direct drive.

[D] Yeah. That's incredible. I'm noticing the the slots on the inside. So you have a channel that has a vacuum in it.

[P] Yup [D] So you have maximized your vacuum surface area instead of having little holes, you actually distribute that vacuum over a whole lot of surface area and that is a precisely machined part. [P] Incredibly. [D] So that's, that's a monolithic piece, isn't it? That ring [P] Uh, every single die there is individual [D] every die is individual. [P] But the vacuum chamber is is all one big ring that's right up there.

Right on the drum. Yeah. [D] So so there's how many how many parts are just in this head. [Patrick] Alright. So you get the die drum which is the, the thing that everything gets bolted to with the vacuum channels. And then you've got the a set, a set of die on each side all 96 around [D] Then you have the vacuum channel all the way around that. [P] Yeah.

But that's right on the, the die drum itself and the surface finish of that is very important [P] Correct. [D] Because it's, it's touching film now. [P] Yup. [D] Okay. So where do the perforations go after they get punched into the holes, which is the bottom piece here. How do they get extracted? [P] You see these this kind of ring, light through.

[D] Yeah. [P] That bringing light through there, that's actually we hook up a vacuum. Right. Right to the center hub here and pull out all the [D] It comes this way.

[P] Yep. Okay. And that's that little hose that was on the front pulling it up and out. That's amazing. So do you ever have jams in here? Because if you get. Because if this thing's running super, super fast, what's going to happen is if it gets on one side and you get a clump of them, you get what is a centrifugal force.

It'll sling it in there and you'll get the washing machine effect. [P] Yeah, yeah. Or they won't want to come out. So you can't put more in the hole and that's an issue.

[D] Okay. And so then it gets imbalanced now. So that's where the harmonics come in. I'm struggling to express how impressive this is to me. Like if you've ever designed anything, the idea of aligning all these posts to the dies and make this thing run at 3000 feet per minute, it's incredible. Like, you have to make sure that you shear it, but you don't make contact.

And there's hundreds of pieces in that assembly. This is very complicated. So what is this? [P] So you'll be able to look through through the microscope.

You can't film through the microscope. So you actually be able to see up through the die looking up at a perf. When you look through here, [D] I look through the die. [P] Look through the die up, up at up at a punch. [D] up at a punch. [P] So you've got to be careful because this is an active one being worked on so you can give it a little rocking back and forth too, if you want.

[D] Oh, wow. So you're looking at the edges. [P]Yeah. So that that's how you're you're kind of going to use this tool to help set that up.

Right, Because you really want to be looking at that alignment of of the punch to that die. Right. Because having it touch is really, really bad at 3000 feet a minute. [D] Okay. So you're looking at the backside of the punch. [P] Yeah, we're looking up through the die at the top of the punch. [D] Got it. [P] Where they're interacting.

[D] So you're rocking that back and forth on this very important jig here. And you can throw this and slide it in and out as well. [P] Yeah. You're going want to look at the front, front perf back perf.

[D] Okay, so. [P] Front punches back punches. [D] Oh wow. So he's actually got or she whoever's doing this. Oh wow. So there's some teeth that have been removed. [P] Yep.

[D] Or punch excuse me, Some punches have been removed and so they're setting those and everything's a special tool, isn't it? [P] Oh, yeah. [D] That's so cool. Everything's a special tool.

That's amazing. Oh, and these are the fiber lights. I use these for schlieren. Okay. Just to see what's going on. So what's what's happening here is someone who's working on this is going through here.

We've got the vacuum ring still there, and that's on the non photo sensitive side, correct? [P] Correct. That is on the backside of the film. [D] The backside of the film. And so they're going through one at a time. These threaded holes. They are putting they are putting perf holes in. Is that what they're doing? [P] Dies. [D] The die. Excuse me.

So that's what a purple is called a die now. So they're putting those dies in one at a time and they're aligning them. Man. I'm just, I'm just now appreciating this part. This part has 96 sets of four threaded holes. So to kill that part is expensive. That's a oh, that part right there cost tens of thousands of dollars.

[P] Oh, yeah. [D] That's amazing. These are all hearts. [P] These are all hearts. [D] Okay. And if one part on the heart, I'm estimating it tens and tens of thousands of dollars and you have multiple parts and then you have all of these little I'm sure they're hardened steel post, what do you call the post again? [P] Punches. [D] Punches. And then the dies. [P] Carbide dies. [D] Carbide dies

Okay, So this this room represents a lot of money. [P] Yes. That's incredible. Okay. Thank you very much. Okay.

So we cut the film, we put holes in it. Now we get to put it in this little can, which means we have to build the can, which is more complicated than I originally thought. [P] You get these large metal sheets in. [D] Oh wow. [P] All the magazines printed on it. [D] And they've already got the metal code on there. [P] Yeah.

[D] So that the camera can read the ISO, of the film, [P] Correct. The man in charge of cutting these things up is Donovan. I'm Destin again, so you can show me how to cut these things. [Don] Sure. [D] Is that cool? [Don] That's great. [D] All right, let's go. Donovan, Show me how they cut the big sheets down the strips, which will later become cans. Wow, That's fast.

[Metal clanking] [High speed belts] [The metal material hitting the end of the conveyor belt stop] So you visually inspect every single wow. [Don] Yeah. [D] Every single strip was looked at by a human, and that's. That's legit. [Don] So now you flip it like this and you look down, [Metal sliding across the table] [Destin] your brain is doing some neat stuff right there. [Don] Well, the more you do it is, the better you get at it. [Metal scraping across table top] this is a matte finish.

It's a matte back. Silver will reflecting in your eyes. [D] Yeah. We then walked around the corner and Donovan showed me a machine that was making the little metal end cap for film canisters. So you're taking this metal at this point and you're turning it into there. [Don] Right. [D] So this goes on the end of the can.

[Don] Yes, it does. [Metal clanking as the strips are pulled through] [Dies punching metal] [Destin] Wow [Metal caps moving on belt, sounds like spare change in your pocket] So do you remember those long strips that Donovan had prepared? Well, it's time to get those ready to turn into a can like this. And one thing you'll notice is right there on the edge, there's a little bit of velvet that makes that can light tight. The machine that normally does that was down for the day, but Patrick showed us how it would work if it were running.

[P] So we're bringing the strips in that we just did on the the metal slitter there and we're it with this big giant press. And we're doing all the crimp edges here, right, For your light locks. [D] Yeah.

[P] And then we're also cutting it out, right, Because we've got to stick the end caps on. [D] How do you do that without knocking the paint off? [P] Very carefully. [Destin Laughs] Good Answer! Got it.

So we're we're bending and cutting at the same time. [P] Yeah. [D] And that's feeding along this way? [P] Correct.

Right. [D] So we put a hopper in down there and it's taking them one at a time. Yep. And then we start applying the velvet here. [D] Oh really. [P] This is actually happening upside down.

[D] Okay. [P] So we're, then we start putting the velvet on. So. So we're uh its got an adhesive on the the back. We're heating it and doing it to the to the strips. [D] Okay, What is the velvet come? Is it like a big roll up? [P] So you'll see here.

[D] This is the velvet? [P] Yeah. So we unwind it and we come through. We've got another accumulator here.

[D] Oh, that's a velvet accumulator. [P] Yeah. [D] Oh that's, that's cool. I like that. So accumulates and it doesn't have to have a pulley. [P] Correct. [D] Yeah it just kinda pushes it [P] Using vacuum and then so we are glued it onto the strip after it comes through here, goes through some heaters and then we go through this nice set here.

Right. Because we, we don't want the velvet connected in between the strips because we got to cut it, we actually cut the velvet separately. [D] It comes this way I can fill that. [P] Yeah. [D] Oh that's, that is so strange. [P] And then now since the velvets cut, we can use this press to where we're just cutting the metal. So we're actually got double dye sets there and we're, we're punching each of these strips separately, and then they'll be indexed in these trays. [D] Yep.

[P] And that's one of those trays. We have some loaded ones over there. [D] Okay. [P] And that's what we're going to use over at the dial to actually form this into something we can use at the spooler. [D] So we're gonna turn this into a can [P] correct [D] Down the hall after these things were velveted, cut and crimped, they're being loaded into one of my favorite machines on the planet.

This is what actually makes the can. Let's watch it for a second, and then we'll try to figure out what's going on. [Metal scraping, click sound every rotation] [Metal tubes clicking together as they fall from the belt] Okay, So metal comes out here, goes down, comes here, and it rolls it into a cylinder.

[P] Yeah. [D] It moves over here. It grabs a cap. And then as it moves forward, it puts the cap on way back there. [P] Yeah.

[D] And then it, it's crimps it on and then towards the back it stakes it. Is that right. Yeah. [P] So this is the stacker here. So once it brings the cap over, now it's going to stake it and then the rest of it just this conveyor. So taking it off, deciding if its a reject or not to, cause we're measuring how well we actually staking it onto the magazine. [D] Got it.

[Machine sounds once again] [Hollow metal tubes clicking together as they drop] So good. It's so good, dude. [shutter click] It's so cool.

Okay, We've made the film and we've made the can. It's open on one side. We've only staked it on one side, but we have to put the film in the can and then we have to put it in this little container here. How do we do that? First all, we get the other side of the can and we get it oriented correctly.

In a vibration rotation thing that gets it all aligned correctly. And then check this out. The little plastic canisters, they get them oriented correctly just by that little lip on the top, and they use gravity to drop it down. I could watch this for days.

The lids for those cans move up this little conveyor belt and there's these little sensors that tell if the lid is oriented in the correct way or not. If it's not, it kicks it out. Once all these components are oriented correctly, they then go through a light lock into the adjacent room where all of them come together in one complete package in a 35 millimeter film can. So you're Sermin? [Sermin] Sermin. [D] Nice to meet you. [S] Nice to meet you too. [D] You run this machine. [S] Yes, I do. [D] Do you mind showing me how it works?

[S] Okay, so this is the A cabinet. [D] Okay. [S] So we hang the rolls like this. That's all ready [D] Is that a B cabinet? You have two? [S] Yes, we have two, we have A and B.

[D] And so you can have two rolls on there to tie. [S] That is auto splice [D] Auto splice. [Machine hissing air] [D] Oh, I'm seeing these film caps. I recognize those. [S] Oh, yeah. [D] Okay. So I'm seeing all the components. [P] Yeah.

[Patrick] They all come together here. [S] That's the magazine. [D] Got it. So you're running Kodak Gold today? [S] Yes And the caps are coming right there. [D] So these are the lids? [S] No, those are the end caps. [D] The end caps. [S] End caps

[D] Oh, I see. Yeah. So [S] These are the lid. [D] Can I show you the one from my pocket? Can you show me where the things are? [S] Okay, so these two, this one happens in the dial. [D] Okay. [S] And this one happens. Will come down here.

[D] Okay, so this one here, this end cap right here. [S] Right. [D] Is over here. [S] Right. [D] And then the whole can, is right here.

[S] Right [D] And they come down here to meet. [S] Yeah. [Destin] Okay. [Sermin] Okay. And then there's a can right here. [D] All right, so there's the can. [S] Can. [D] And so we're going to end up with one in a can like this. [S] Right. And then the lid is coming down this.

[Destin] Got it. Oh, look at that. They're at right angles to each other. [S] Yeah. [D] So as it moves, it just kind of flops down. [S] Right. [D] Oh, that's neat! [Patrick] So this is actually shinning light through the belt, and actually putting on that latent image you see for the frame markings and other information you have printed inside, right there. [Destin] You can't see it on this, [P] correct [D] but when it's developed. So this is the thing that says frame number one, two, three. [P] Yup.

[D] So this, this right here is the correct size for that. [Patrick] Yup. [Destin] Interesting. How does it know where to start and stop? It's got to be reading the belt too.

[Patrick] Yeah. So we read the belt, we have positional marks on the belt. So we know how many frames have gone by, how many you want to go by, and then we can quickly zip it back to the beginning when we're starting the new one so this machine can run continuously while we're, changing a roll. We can line it all up and it'll automatically splice when it finishes the other cabinet and it just keep switching back and forth.

So the spooler never actually stops even though you got to stop to make the roll changes. [D] Gotcha. So and so when the film comes in here, then what? [Patrick] Then it's coming up. And we've got this vacuum slack box here.

[D] Right here? Can I go forward to the Lightscreen? [D] Go ahead Sermin. [S] I'll show yah. [D] So the film comes in, goes up, down.. [Patrick] And that's that's a vacuum box. So there's actually the film in a loop. So obviously we're winding

and stopping a whole bunch, but you've got these big rolls with inertia. You can't really be starting and stopping those really quick. [D] Oh, okay so,[D] so those have to move at a constant rate. [P] Yeah. [D] And then you, you [P] Inside is the accumulator. [D] Accumulator and so this opens up [Sermin] Umm, this is the exposure We can set up for 36 or 24 or whatever the exposure customer wants. [Destin] Right.

[Sermin] And also here too. [Destin] So you have an accumulator here. [Sermin] Yeah. That's the big box on the left here. [Destin] Okay. That's an accumulator. This is the exposure setting [S] Yup [D] And this is also an exposure setting, Gotcha.

And I'm seeing I'm, I'm seeing a perforation here. [Patrick] That is right in front of you. That's the stuff that punch and die that's actually punching out that leader pattern. [Destin] So on the leader, on the film, right there, I'm seeing it like this. [Sermin] Yeah. [Destin] So that's where it's cut.

And then it goes there and this is, can I, can I look at that, Sermin? Yeah, sounds good. So these are the leftovers. Okay. Gotcha. And so where does that go? [Patrick] Goes up into that second exposure box [Destin] Uh huh. [Patrick] So you got the nice, you got a web path here.

I don't know if that's helpful? [Destin] That's amazing. Okay, so is this, this is one roll of 36, and this is another roll of 36 yep. [P] Yup [Destin] Gotcha. Okay. [Patrick] And then we're coming to the threader.

So this rotor here, this is doing all the business. It's an eight station rotor, that we're actually going to be doing all the combinations and indexing this around. And we're putting all the parts together. [Destin] So Patrick then explains the machine to me, and it is so complicated, I think we would benefit from seeing it work first and then we'll talk about what's happening. It all starts when a piece of tape is applied to a little plastic spool that's going to be the center of the film can.

[whirring, click, clank, clunk] And in the next position, the film is taped to the center spool and then it's rolled up quickly and then it's cut. [Rhythmic Click Clack] The can that we made earlier is then slid over the top of the rolled up film. I know it's hard to see, but then the little end cap is put on making the whole thing light tight. This little rocker arm drops a full can of film down in the little plastic case, and as the whole line advances that causes one of these gray lids to pop on the top, and it's pushed down as it advances forward.

So tell me where it goes. [P] All right. so we just put it in the can and now we're going to shoot it in this, tube. Up and around with air. [D] Over here?

[P] Yup, down, down through this tube down around here. [Destin] So right here. [P] It goes up over the spooler and out into the white line where the packing lines are. [Destin] Thank you very much. [Sermin] You're very welcome. [D] I appreciate your time. So after the film can let's put in that little plastic.

Can it all goes through a tube back into the next room. And I met a very special person that gave a fantastic description of the final packaging process. [Rich] My name Rich. And basically what we do here is package 35 millimeter as it exits the spooler through that tube.

[D] Okay. [R] In which case then it comes around here to our 3P package line. Packaging lives and it's formally packaged in several different formats. We run singles, hang tab, packages, we run five packs, three packs, two packs, several different options, in which case after it comes out of 3P, every different station on it.

We have a 12 minute continuously running. They all do something different after that. When it comes out on the table, the inspector here and packaging individual will check it for any damage or check the carton print on it for expiration.

And with that we'll put the proper amount in the box right here with the label saying how many of those particular packages that we have in that case. The case then gets put through the taping machine. After that it goes down and we stack and on a pallet. [Destin] So he's over there ready for it, right? [R] That's correct. You'll see the cartons come in right here.

We manually put them on and it feeds with the three suction cups that pulls the carton open. [D] Right here? [R] Yes. Right here in this position, number one in this position, number two, what we do is we have this little arm comes up.

You can probably see it better from this angle. [D] Okay? Like right this? [R] Sneak right in. Okay. And that little bottom kicker arm will end up bending that, flap upwards [D] oh, so this this thing right here is bending the tab over. [R] Right, Right. The bottom flap only. And then this, this bar right here forms the other bar to be like this.

[D] Okay, so you are actively closing the left side, but the right side just gets hit by this rail. [R] It does the rail takes it and does the completion part of that. [D] Gotcha. [R] At this point, what we're doing is we're loading, we're running five pack right now, so it'll load five spools right down into the carton. [D] Oh, okay, so this is our tube right here. Can I can I get where you're at? [R] That's the tube coming out of the spooler.

[D] So this is the tube coming out of the spooler structure comes down to right here. And what do you call this? This swing arm that I'm seeing that's doing this? [R] Actually, it's like a loader and some form. [Patrick] Just a rotary actuator, [D] right, right there? [P] Yeah. [D] Okay. So it's grabbin, am I in a light screen? Is it beeping at me? [P] Nope.

[Destin] Okay. [Rhythmic clickety clack] Oh, I love the way this sounds. [R] Yeah. [D] And so it's dropping and counting. [Patrick] Yeah. [R] It is

five. It's looking for five. But the program within the machine. The machine logic loads five, based on the input in that first server, [D] Got it. [R] Then come over here. Excuse me. At this point, we come over here, and these are metal detectors.

[D] Ahhh. It's the outside of our 35 millimeter shell is metal. These metal detectors are looking for five in this particular, unit. So it's important that the can is ferrous so you can detect that.

[R] Right, right. So, you know, typically this is a very good Check, because we won't never miss. If it does have less than five, the machine will stop and tell the individual to come to this station and remove it, in which case there could be four or three, perhaps some sort of jam caused that.

After that we have basically this top kicker, it looks identical to the bottom kicker right there that bends to the flap under, this one, bends the flap down. [D] Okay. [R] Okay. [D] Can I look at it right here? [R] Oh, absolutely. [D] So? So same same situation.

We're actively closing the left side and the other side hits the rail [R] right, the right side when it indexes, the rail will close, and at the same time, it'll fast print the emulsion number on this particular carton, and the expiration. [D] So you're saying the the emulsion number is being printed on the side of the package right there? [Rich] Well, actually, right here you get this better view right there. [D] You can see it. [R] There's your emulsion number and expiration date on top. [D] So is this being glued in position? [R] It will. At the very next station.

Okay. All your flaps will be tucked at this point that it'll be so fast, you'll get a shot of glue on the top tab, and a shot of glue on the bottom tab. [D] It's happening top and bottom there? Or where's it at? [R] Right, right, right. [D] Oh I see it. [R] right here, right in this area. And here [D] I see it. [R] The flap is actually down there. [R] Okay. [D] Oh, okay, I see the flap.

[R] As soon as it comes by what'll happen. Is it will shoot just a little spritz of the glue on top and bottom [D] Gotcha [R] Okay, at that point. These rails here will just compress it together for a short period of time. [Destin] Oh, okay. Just mechanically constraining it. [R] Yes.

Right here, this station surface. [D] And so so I can imagine you've got those rails set for a five box. [R] Exactly, right. And we have several 3P packaging lines.

So they're all set up for different units or configurations, as we call it. Okay. After that's held here for a couple of seconds, it'll then come over here to where it's checked. Once again, it has lights on the top there to make sure that the flap isn't up, in the upper position because we don't want one of those to get by to the consumer at that point, it's ejected with the suction cup, one high, one low.

It grabs the unit carton and you can see it slides right down little chute and our packaging operator then inspects it once again and puts it in the box. [D] So do the the heavy ones slide farther? [Op] Umm, not really it depends on the table [inaudible] [D] gotcha. [Op] So they are really smooth. [D] So you send that, that way it gets taped, and then you unfold a box. Man you get to see stuff roll off the line.

That's pretty cool. [Op Chuckles] [D] So do you stay here all day or do you rotate? [Op] Naw, we all rotate. [Destin] Everybody rotates. So what do you do here? I will watch that cable for you. [Op2] All right.

So here we've just placed the boxes on the pallet and we always make sure the labels on the corners and lables are always sticking out. [D] So how long have you been working here again? [Op2] Four months, December I'll be going on five. [Destin] You like it? [Op2] Yes, I like it, it's something different. I worked at a bunch of different packaging companies so I'm used to you know, packing. So, it's something different.

Everyone here works together. It's a very good team project. [D] Good team project, that's cool. You said you were the youngest guy here, huh? [Op2] Yes. [D] Are you hoping to work, work your way up? [Op2] Yeah, that's it. Yeah. Everyone here keeps saying I'll be here the next 40 years.

[Destin Laughs at the joke] [Op2] We will see! [D] Yeah? [Op2] Yeah. [Destin] Nice to meet you. [Op2] Nice to meet you too.

[Sermin] 45 Years! [D] 45 years? You're running away, man! So you got 45 years here? [Op3] 43. [D] Are they good years? [Op3] Yes there wonderful years. [D]You like, like working with everybody here? [Op3] I don't mind it. [Destin] Yeah? It seems like you got some good folks. What are you working on right now? [Op3] This machine here [D] Is it working? [Op3] No, it's down right now. [D] Is it? So you're trying to fix it?

2023-05-17 14:21

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