EUROPEAN COMPANIES OFFERING TURNKEY PRODUCTION OF DVDS

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SAN JOSE, CALIF. — A consortium of European companies in the optical disc industry seeks to swipe a play from digital versatile disc equipment producers in Japan.

``We have made a lot of efforts to become a big player in the DVD market,'' Benno Kruger said in an interview at Replitech International, held June 3-5 in San Jose.

Kruger is product engineer for the compact disc and DVD markets for Arburg GmbH & Co. in Lossburg, Germany.

The result is a turnkey solution for DVD production. Arburg makes the 270S injection molding machine with a 28-ton clamping force. ICT Axxicon BV, based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, produces the customized molds, and ODME International BV of Veldhoven, the Netherlands, provides equipment for finishing and bonding processes. Each firm showed an aspect and encouraged exhibition attendees to take a ``DVD walking tour'' to view demonstrations in separate Replitech booths.

The Optical Disc Technology Center of Eindhoven-based Philips Electronics NV tested and optimized the process and equipment in late 1996.

``Potential DVD producers will be offered a total solution and process know-how to step into DVD today,'' according to an Arburg statement. The European Union supported the effort and, in 1996, opened a fund to develop a turnkey solution for DVD production.

Arburg's 270S, which costs about $240,000, evolved from a 270C compression molder introduced in 1995. The system is suited for DVDs and various CD formats.

Arburg operates a prototype in-house, has sold a 270S production model to ODME and has orders for 15 machines, Kruger said.

ICT Axxicon has sold five mold sets to customers in Europe and the United States; a sale in Asia is pending, the company said.