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July 1, 1997

2 Min Read
DVD molding:

Attendees at Replitech International '97 learned that the big push is to offer complete manufacturing systems that include the injection molding press, molds, and all the downstream equipment used in making all types of compact disks

Replitech International '97 in San Jose, CA, offered conference attendees from the tape and optical disk manufacturing industry a glimpse at a few new products and addressed many of the same old problems, particularly involving injection molding. Since the quality of optical disks begins with the quality of the molds, materials, and equipment used to process those materials, injection molding is the focal point for OD manufacturing.

The big push is to offer complete manufacturing systems that include the injection molding press, molds, and all the downstream equipment used in making both compact disks, compact disk recordable (CD-R), and digital versatile disks (DVD). The goal: to make the whole process faster and more efficient, and drive quality and yields to the level they need to be to make the operation profitable in a market that continues to fight high costs to manufacture and thin margins.

A new player in the "systems" market is Pioneer Video Corp., which introduced its new Mars II inline replicating system at the June 3-5 show. Pioneer is widely known for its manufacture of consumer electronics products and cutting edge technology developments in the Laser Disk (LD) format for movies. With more than 15 years of replicating experience, James Lance, executive vice president at Pioneer's Carson, CA replicating operations, says, "We understand where these manufacturing process ranges need to be," and claims Pioneer can provide the molds and downstream equipment necessary to increase both yields and quality.

Pioneer displayed its two-press, inline system using molding machines from Nissei and an all-electric press from JSW, but Jonathan Long of Mitsui Plastics Inc., Atlanta, the company handling sales and distribution of the system, says that the system can also accommodate Sumitomo's presses. Pioneer guarantees a 4-second molding cycle time and a 90 percent yield using the Mars II system. Pioneer recognizes the demand from many replicators to obtain a complete turnkey system, rather than purchasing individual components and piecing the system together themselves.

Netstal Machinery Inc.'s Bob Hayes says that its customers are definitely looking for turnkey packages. Netstal, with U.S. operations in Fitchburg, MA, manufactures all the replication components itself. "Typically, a customer can't put together a system as cost competitively as it can get a turnkey system from us," says Hayes. "Many who used to make their own lines - and were often our biggest competitors - now look to us for their equipment. Their business is making disks and they can't spend time to constantly define and redefine the machinery," he adds.

Krauss-Maffei's Arte Rieger says that in Europe, some customers still tend to want to put the systems together themselves, but in the United States, turnkey systems are becomin

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