Agfa Rapiline Parts

After nearly a year of acquiring equipment with the aim of being able to go from digital file to finished printed product, I am finally setting up everything for my new press here in the French Alps. Yesterday I plumbed in, cleaned and tested my Agfa Rapiline Film Processor, everything seems to be working, it is heating and circulating the chemical baths as well as replenishing them, the dryer and roller drive system is all functioning. The only issue I could find was the replenishment sensor is broken as it causes a warning light on the top panel indicating the chemicals are low.
Obviously I can still run film with this issue but it’s an old machine and I was wondering if anyone knows of a source of parts for these old Agfa processors as I’d like to stock a range of spares for the future.

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Further to my question above, can anyone tell me if the replenishment liquid should be diluted or neat dev?
I can’t find anything about that in the manual.


Film dev comes ready to use , i dont know of any that were diluted or required that,I will check for certain tomorrow and put up a re edit if i am found to be wrong . The top up will have ratios marked if it were diluteable and this would appear on the label .
Be careful of the parts for levels as they need to be resistant to the corrosive nature of some developers , i have seen plate processors that the teeth on gears were eaten away by the chemistry and manufacturer had to develop a special material to make replacements , the gears were a form of nylon or polymer and it seemed that the material was not resistant for some reason and they didnt put any warning out , just sat and waited for the call for replacement parts !

My chemistry replenishment is mixed with water. Check with the company for the mixing specs or it should say on the bottle. Also check the level of your liquid in the tanks if it is to low it will trip that sensor.

It is dependant on the processor evidently so as advised check the label or ask your supplier , some types are concentrate some are not . I am told to tell you to be aware of ambient temperature as developers “die ” if used too cold .

Thank you both for the replies, I’m using Agfa chemicals and neither the bottle nor the tech specs PDF on their website stipulate if the replenishing liquid is neat or diluted.

I opted for diluted and ran my first tests yesterday, the results have good density and seem sharp and clear so I am pretty happy. I have a densitometer and will be able to measure this once I’ve understood how to use it.

Yesterdays test made me realise four things:

1. How expensive it is to run the processor even once, £18 for the 13 litres of Developer alone.

2. I will have a lot of chemical waste to dispose of safely on a regular basis. I’m speaking to my local council here in France about that.

3. How fantastic it is going to be to have in house imagesetting and processing, to be able to make plates from a digital file within a couple of hours.

4. I still have a lot to learn about working with Postscript files.

My first test with a ‘New Home’ card illustration designed by my wife.

image: film1.JPG


The film has cleared perfectly, and has very solid blacks.
What are the signs of over developing the film? Is that possible when making photopolymer plates with it?

image: film2.JPG


The waste from the dev is usually processed to reclaim the silver , I would assume this is still the case with yours , a good test is to get some clean copper wire screwit up into a ball and drop it into the tank it will aquire a coating of a gritty grey substance ,if it does you should find there will be someone reclaiming it !!
You could try to locate J&G Environmental in the uk they may have a european arm or be able to point you in the right direction , they are the company that always seem to be dealing with most of the firms i have contact with ,although these days they are more commonly removing waste ink tins and printing plates . They take the plates against the cost of the chemistry and dirty metal and you get the excess if any paid to you i think .

Another memory .
With poor film results you will see it at washout of plates (offset ) so i would expect you to have similar effects on polymers ,over etched flm would be less dense so your solids would be poor , film that was under developed would give you poor line work with possibly a furry effect where it should be clean and crisp as it were , youcould look to putting a wedge on your waste area and then you only have to check the state of the graduated scale on both the film and the polymer . Information reference a Stoeffer (?) wedge should be available from your film supplier it is a strip of small squares made in solid block then a 95% dot then 90 % going down to basically 2% .
There is a chap on this site Gerald Lange , an E mail to him would get you as much info as you could ever need , he may have a publication available on this as i get the impression he has more experience of this system than i ever will . I think he is listed as Bieler press or something along those lines.
Good luck .
On the subject of the infrequency or not of use you could try batching your film runs ,seeing as you have it in mind to run your own designs you could hold running films till you have a couple of jobs for a customer then run the jobs and your designs together to make a run that seems worthwhile , you could always go the old fashioned route and use a small bath and hand dip (not with your hands )
but to do this you will have to learn to keep notes of temperature ,your mix ratios and the time that ratio took to give a good result .
As dev ages through use the time it takes to burn out the film lengthens due to the weakening of the mixture , the mix weakens in as much as that the more you process then the more foreign matter is introduced (the image background that you have burned from the film ) this is something you will get to grips with as you go along , some processors had variable speed so you lengthened the dip by slowing the drive through the tank , some did not , those that were fixed produce slowly worsening results , you probably wont run hundreds of metres of film per day so this may never be noticeable but if you keep notes of how much film you have run and such you will eventually be able to keep aware of how live your dev tank is before you start to lose film to poor burn out .

for polymer you will need a negative for letterpress, I am not sure if your image is…………..apologies if I am incorrect

Right, any relief photopolymer is negative-working. Positive film will only get you a reverse. Where the light passes through the film to expose the material, that is your hardened relief, your printing surface.
Don’t confuse letterpress with screen-printing, where the non-image is hardened by exposure; or with lithography, where plates may be negative- or positive-working.

Yes, I should have reversed these, this was my first run with the imagesetter and film processor combination and I was really just seeing if I could produce and process decent film.
Until yesterday I had no idea if the imagesetter was working correctly and if I had set the RIP up correctly, it’s a weird science with few people to go to for advice. I’ve read a pile of manuals just get that film out yesterday.

Very much looking forward to producing a plate and getting it into the Heidelberg and actually printing something :-)

What Rip are you using? From the Film it looks to be positiv, right reading, if you would make a polymerplate from that Film it would be suiteable for use in an etching press, albeit the printed image would be wrong reading.

Letterpress, Negative Film, wrong reading.

Re: intital mix vs replenisher.

If I recall correctly we used concentrated chemicals. Both developer and fixer were mixed the same. The initial Baths were mixed at 3:1 and replenisher was mixed at 1:1. If your using premixed chemicals you would not need to do anything. This was not typical in the day because you paid for shipping by weight so why pay to have chemical mixed with water shipped when you could add the water yourself.

The packaging the chemicals came in (boxes) should have the instructions on it.

The best I ever had was electric mixers and powdered chemical!

Which densitometer do you have? Modern rapid access film should read 5.0. I used to run my a hair light, 4.8 to help keep the higher screens open. Once you have your density you will need to linierize the film. ie getting all the screens where they belong.

Since your processor is newly setup you will need to check your density twice a day for the next few weeks to make sure it s staying consistent. As the main baths age and as new replenisher is pumped in he strength of the chemicals will shift. After about two weeks it tends to stabilize, depending on how much it actually runs of course.

Depending on local laws even if you reclaim silver out of the waste chemicals, and you can actually do it from developer, fixer and the rinse water, you may still have to collect it all and have a recycling service process it.

Also never mix fixer and developer and never ever use bleach to clean anything.