The global demand for Instax film is so high that Fujifilm is pumping in ¥4.5 billion – approximately AU$47.7 million – to boost production by 20%.
We all know that 35mm and 120 camera film have been increasing in scarcity, due to both consumer demand and production shortages. Instant film is not immune to this, either, with new products like the Instax Square SQ40 and Instax Link Square fuelling the public appetite.
That's why Fujifilm, Instax's parent company, has invested heavily to strengthen its key production facility to increase output of all three film stocks: Instax Mini, Instax Square and Instax Wide.
"In order to further expand our Instax film production capacity, we will invest approximately 4.5 billion yen in equipment at the Ashigara site of our Kanagawa plant to expand our Instax film production line," said Fujifilm.
"The production facilities that will be expanded this time are scheduled to start operating in the fall of 2024. In 2025, when this expanded line is fully operational, we will increase our instax film production capacity by approximately 20% compared to the current level.
"In addition, including the effects of equipment reinforcement starting in 2022, the production capacity of Instax film will increase by approximately 40% compared to 2021."
A fascinating footnote came at the end of Fujifilm's statement, where the manufacturer noted its plans to broaden the Instax range and use.
"We will respond to the continued increase in demand for Instax film by further expanding Instax's product lineup, expanding its use in the event business, and collaborating with partner companies."
This feels like an intention to springboard the success of the Link printer series, so we can probably expect more non-camera Instax products – though I'll make my customary plea for a new Instax Wide camera just in case Fujifilm wants to make my day!