The invention relates to a bundle for photographic processing chemical
When colour negative film is processed to produce a finished paper
print, the photographic materials pass through a series of processing baths which
must contain the correct concentrations of the correct chemicals, for example:
- film development bath
- film bleach bath
- film fixing bath
- film stabilising bath
- paper development bath
- paper bleach/fixing bath
- paper stabilising bath.
These are thus processing baths for colour negative film or for colour
When the phrase colour photographic material is used below, it denotes
both film and paper.
These materials are increasingly processed in small, decentralised
processing units or minilabs ("one hour processing service"), which are often operated
by staff who have received little training. It is thus necessary to arrange the
working procedure in such a manner that operating errors can largely be avoided.
With regard to the processing chemicals, this equipment is used in
the following manner:
The equipment has a processing tank for each process step, through
which tank the photographic material is passed for processing, and a replenisher
tank, from which the processing tank is supplied in accordance with material throughput.
The processing tank should always contain approximately the same volume of processing
liquid, wherein the processing chemicals are, as far as possible, always present
at the same concentration in the processing liquid.
The replenishing liquid in the replenisher tank decreases in accordance
with the replenishment rate, i.e. in accordance with the quantity which flows from
the replenisher tank into the processing tank in accordance with material throughput.
Once the liquid in the replenisher tank falls below a certain level, for example
10%, the operating personnel are alerted, for example by illumination of a red
lamp, that the replenisher tank must be filled up.
This is achieved by adding to the replenisher tank one or more chemical
concentrates for each processing liquid and a predetermined quantity of water for
the particular replenishing liquid.
For chemical and technical reasons, the replenishment rates are different
for the individual processing baths. Given a fixed and uniform replenisher volume
for the individual processing baths, this results in different yields for the replenishing
liquids and thus in different time intervals at which the replenishing liquids
for the individual processing baths must be prepared and also in different quantities
of water which are required for preparing the replenishing liquid.
This procedure readily results in operating errors and moreover has
the disadvantage that uniform inventory management is not possible.
The object of the invention was to modify the parameters of the process
in such a manner that the disadvantages may largely be avoided.
This is achieved with a processing chemical bundle which contains
the concentrates for all the processing steps for processing a photographic material,
wherein the concentrations of chemicals in the individual concentrates are selected
such that all the concentrates are prepared with the same quantity of water in
each case and the resultant replenishing liquids for all the processing steps are
sufficient for the same quantity of photographic material. The replenisher volume
of the individual processing baths may here be different.
The bundle may contain one or more concentrates, preferably one or
two concentrates, for each individual process step. This is necessary for chemical
and technical reasons if the chemicals required for one processing bath cannot
be stored in a single concentrate without decomposing or if a replenisher for one
processing bath has a considerably greater volume than the other replenishers for
the remaining processing baths.
The bundle preferably consists of a packaging unit comprising exactly
the concentrates necessary for processing a specific quantity of a photographic
The bundle according to the invention provides the operator of a "minilab"
with the advantage that all the replenishers for the processing baths can be prepared
with the same quantity of water. Further advantages are that the operator need
no longer order the various concentrates individually once they have been used
up, but instead need only order the desired quantity of the bundles according to
Another advantage is that all the replenishing liquids should be used
up and require refilling at about the same time. If a replenisher is used up substantially
earlier or later than the other replenishers, the operator will be able to assume
that there is some kind of problem with the replenishment rate (for example failure
of the replenishing pump) and be able to take appropriate action.
The invention is illustrated by means of the following Examples.
Example 1 (Prior art)
Colour paper is processed in a minilab using the process steps
The processing tanks are replenished as follows from the replenishing tanks:
colour development (CD), 33 s, 38°C
bleach/fixing (BX), 33 s, 36°C
stabilisation (SB), 4 x 19 s, 36°C
CD with a replenishing rate of 90 ml/m2 of colour paper,
wherein 10 L of replenishing fluid have a yield of 111 m2, prepared
from three concentrates with 8.5 L of water.
produces 10 L of CD replenisher.
BX with a replenishment rate of 110 ml/m2 of colour paper,
wherein 10 L of replenishing fluid have a yield of 91 m2 and are prepared
from two concentrates with 7 L of water.
produces 10 L of BX replenisher.
SB with a replenishing rate of 200 ml/m2 of colour paper,
wherein 20 L have a yield of 100 m2 and are prepared from one concentrate
with 19.75 L of water.
produces 20 L of SB replenisher.
Different quantities of water must accordingly be measured out for
preparing the replenishing liquids, with preparation taking place at different
Example 2 Invention
Process steps and replenishment rates are the same as in Example 1.
The concentrates are all prepared with 8 L of water.
The concentrates are bundled in a packaging unit which contains a
CD concentrate in a quantity of 1 L, a BX concentrate in a quantity of 3 L and
two SB concentrates of identical composition each in a quantity of 2 L, wherein
each of the SB concentrates is prepared with 8 L of water.
The greater replenishment rate and thus the larger volume of the SB
replenishing bath is required because the intention is to ensure not only stabilisation
but also adequate rinsing.
The concentrates have a yield of 100 m2 for all processing
baths, wherein SB must be prepared twice as frequently as CD and BX.
produces 9 L of CD replenisher.
produces 11 L of BX replenisher.
produces 10 L of SB replenisher.