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Subject: Automatic X-ray processor

Automatic X-ray processor

From: Tom Dixon <tom.dixon<-a>
Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Lynda Zycherman <lynda_zycherman [at] moma__org> writes

>Does anyone have experience using an automatic X-ray processor such
>as the Industrex M-35A processor or the M35-I for industrial films
>such as the Kodak Industrex family of films and similar Fuji and
>Agfa films?  Are the machines reliable, if used intermittently, say
>once a week?

We experimented with hand processing when we had on site darkroom
facilities for the gallery photography department but had trouble
with consistency and then used to make our shots and go to the local
hospital emergency ward for processing though obviously if someone
came in injured we became low priority. That hospital closed and we
went to a new police forensic morgue which opened a few blocks from
our building and had great facilities but where our staff had some
quite unpleasant experiences.

We finally bought an Agfa Structurix NDT-M-eco automatic X ray
processor about 5 years ago and it has been terrific.  It met the
then latest European environmental requirements (thus the eco name)
for using less chemicals and is about the size of a 2 drawer file
cabinet laid on its side. We are primarily radiographing paintings
using 14 x 17" films.  We usually save these up to do a large batch
to get the most out of the chemicals but sometimes we do one large
painting requiring as many as 40-50 sheets and even with this number
we get absolutely amazing consistency of exposure. We typically do
this 4 or 5 times a year. Having on-site capacity to do our own
processing is a terrific advantage and gives us superb quality.  We
typically use Agfa Structurix D7-FW industrial film simply wrapped
in home made light tight black polyethylene sleeves and use Agfa
chemistry. We scan the films and digitally stitch them together then
view them on a video screen or print them out positive or negative,
zoom in or out or whatever.  We haven't had any indication of
archival problems so far with any of the films we've had processed
or done ourselves over the past 20 years.

Of all the high tech examination techniques available I still think
x-ray is, after the binocular microscope, probably the most
fundamentally useful and a basic asset if you can possibly afford
it. It would be cheaper to share a processor with someone else but
it sure is nice to have your own.

Tom Dixon
Chief Conservator
National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:9
                  Distributed: Friday, August 12, 2005
                        Message Id: cdl-19-9-005
Received on Tuesday, 2 August, 2005

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