CD/DVD Manufacturing

by DVD Guy

The process of manufacturing CDs and DVDs has changed the way in which the world looks at and listens to entertainment. Prior to the introduction of CD/DVD mass-production, less sophisticated means, such as vinyl records, tapes and VHS were used to mass-produce music and movies. But now, with the revolution of CD and DVD manufacturing, we take a step up. Music and movie fans no longer have to purchase bulky records or poorly manufactured tapes in order to listen to music or enjoy their favorite movies. With the birth of the compact disc, anyone can easily slip this small, shiny circle into their car stereo or home entertainment center for their listening and/or viewing pleasure. But how did the mass-production of CDs and DVDs become such a powerful force in the world? What was the indispensable step that made the manufacturing of CDs and DVDs possible, and in the process shaped a new mold for the way the world enjoys its entertainment?

For the people who would like to learn the answers to these questions, it must first be understood that the process of manufacturing CDs and DVDs is complicated. Remarkable chemical processes combined with complex and time-consuming procedures are the ingredients that go into the formation of a disc. In examining the rise of CD/DVD technology, it is crucial to understand the process of replication. When manufacturing discs, many steps take place: glass mastering, photoresist or non-photoresist mastering, post mastering, and electroforming. The most vital step, however, in the manufacturing process is replication.

Replication of CDs and DVDs is the step that comes into play after the quality of the master is determined and is to be ready for replication on a large scale. This is the critical point in the process of CD/DVD manufacturing where mass-production takes place, where an album transforms its singer into a super-star. The replication of discs has allowed a new world to immerge, one, which allows music and movie lovers from New York to Tokyo to have access to the same exact CDs and DVDs. It is a process which has created a revolution in the way the world listens to and views its entertainment.

How exactly does replication happen? It involves several different steps, each of which are necessary to understand in learning the replication process. Replication begins in a factory in a CD molding machine. The molding machine uses high-temperature polycarbonate injectors. Each molding can produce 900 discs per hour! Hot molten plastic is poured into the mold cavities forming a disc. Then, cool water is run so that it gathers around the molding, solidifying the plastic, at which point the molding is opened. Only three to five minutes pass during this process – astonishing!

Next, after molding, a vacuum handler moves the disc onto a cooling station. The disc now contains all of its digital information at this point, but does not yet have the reflective layer that makes the disc playable. Then the disc passes into a chamber to undergo a process called “sputtering”. During the sputtering process, metal is coated onto the data side of the disc; the side not containing the record label.

After metallization, lacquer is coated onto the metal layer. This provides the right surface for the DVD or record label to be printed. It is crucial that the ink used in printing the label is compatible with the lacquer coating. It is also important for people to remember the necessity of ink being compatible when using a pen to write on a CD or DVD as the disc might fracture and be ruined if it’s not.

Replication has been instrumental in the mass-production of CDs and DVDs. It has altered the way we listen to and view entertainment. The next time you head down to the record store to buy that hot new CD or the latest DVD release, take a moment to think about the replication process. It has truly allowed CD/DVD manufacturing to be driving force in the world of entertainment.

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