Film Expiry Date / Cold Storage

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Martin Reed, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Martin Reed

    Martin Reed Advertiser Advertiser

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    This is related to an enquiry to see if there is sufficient demand to justify stocking FP4 and HP5 in 70mm, see another thread in 'product availability'.

    At Silverprint, we have been involved in various film 'special order' ventures before. Where they have very often come to grief is that the sales have been too slow to move the stock within the expiry date specified by the manufacturer. Residual stock had to be sold at a loss, and there was consequently no incentive to repeat the order. Cold storage, especially deep freezing will extend the potential useful working life of a material considerably. Can this be worked into a way of extrapolating an extended 'expiry date' ?

    One scenario is that the film material, upon receipt at the dealer, is immediately placed into deep freeze. We at Silverprint have quite a number of active APUG people as regular callers - one or two of these could be appointed as 'external auditors' who could be responsible for checking occasionally that the storage was in order (ie freezers switched on) and perhaps be present when we checked out an average 6 months supply to put into the normal cold room. On this basis, could we override the normal expiry date?

    This then poses the question of what is the potential, and practical, 'expiry date' of freezer stored film, and also which is acceptable to the people on this forum. At a time when every trick in the book is needed to keep film products on line, this must be an area to be examined. And conceivably could manufacturers give an alternative expiry date based on most favourable storage as well as one calculated on lowest denominator?
     
  2. Murray Kelly

    Murray Kelly Subscriber

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    I would be very surprised if the film manufacturers don't know the answer already.
    In fact I would be surprised if they didn't store in freezers (or whatever) already.
    Inert gases and a 'cryopac' in the freezer such as I have in use here at home for my own film storage come to mind. I expect these films to last for years.

    However, getting manufacturers to admit to the practice might be seen by them as a potential turn off to users who could perceive that some kind of con job is being foisted on them. Their expectation is that fresh film is newly made. Not preserved at seriously low temps from a couple of years ago then cut, packed and date stamped.
    Drug manufacturers have to live with a code that says the efficacy will still be 100% at the time of expiry on the label. They test accordingly - usually for 2 years. The drug may be fine after 10 years but it has not been tested for that lifetime and established as safe, and therefore cannot be used legally after the passing of midnight on the last day of the month it 'dies'. Helps sales, too.
    Film is in a similar, altho less onerous position. I often happily use out of date film picked up at stores at greatly marked down prices. The very point you are making.
    We need some input from the source. :smile: Any ex-company forum contributors around? I can think of one straight off. I wonder if he will bite?
    Your external auditors might require a data logger in the freezer to confirm that the film had indeed been kept cold since their last visit, not just for the benefit of of the annual investigation.
    Murray
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Isn't there a inexpensive devise that can be attached to the package that would indicate if the package ever was defrosted? The devise would change color and once changed, would not return to the original color. I seem to remember seeing something like that or maybe I am becoming delusional. :confused:
     
  4. If such a device did exist, it would cost more than the additional profit on the film. :surprised:

    Steve
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    How do you know that?

    I searched the web and it turns out there are many companies offering temperature indicating labels that are irreversible. A quick check for price had one firm at $1.60 each. If attached to a sealed container of x number of film packs/rolls, seems like it could be worth while.

    It certainly would be a way to prove the reliability or failsafe for extending the date code.

    Maybe other vendors have lower cost labels.
     
  6. That is good to hear. Does anyone actually use it for film?

    Steve
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    But de-frosting and re-frosting again is no problem for film. (At least if the original package is not opened, or the appropriate procedure is follwed after opening.)
     
  8. Murray Kelly

    Murray Kelly Subscriber

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    I merely wished to point out that data loggers (which are not that expensive) for a commercial quantity of films would help assuage the worries of monitors that the refrigerator had indeed been working all the time since their last inspection (or even most of the time). Let's not get too technical here.
    Murray