Tapematic USA of Orlando, Fla., has introduced a fifth-generation production cell called Allegro that utilizes electric presses from Ferromatik Milacron USA. Using the all-electric machines is a first for the compact disc replication industry, primarily because manufacturing techniques in the industry tend to be imitators rather than innovators, said Mark Nevejans, North American sales and marketing manager for Tapematic.
Nevejans said Tapematic, with worldwide headquarters in Milan, Italy, chose the all-electric presses because of their cleanliness of operation, which enables replicators to meet the more stringent quality requirements of digital video disc production.
``The high density CD is double sided and the thickness of polycarbonate is half of that of a normal CD,'' said Nevejans. ``So it will be very susceptible to any type of contamination such as dirt or oil.''
However, the first units sold will be used to produce standard CDs and CD-ROMs, he said. Allegro should be ready for delivery by June.
Robert Hare, general manager of Ferromatik Milacron USA in Cincinnati, said that to his knowledge, Tapematic is the only CD replication equipment maker using the electric presses. Other features that enticed Tapematic to electric presses include a much smaller footprint and the fact that they use about 50 percent less power, Nevejans said.
Hare said that this is Ferromatik's first entrance into the CD replication market in cooperation with a monoline system. Previously, Ferromatik supplied the industry with single hydraulic machines for molding optical discs.
The Allegro will have the capacity to produce 1,000 CDs per hour in-line and more than 1,600 CDs per hour for batch operations with a 3.6 second cycle time, Nevejans said.
Allegro is being introduced this month at REPLItech Europe, April 16-18 at the Jaarbeurs Congress and Convention Centre in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The first units will be sold to replicators in Europe.
In June, Allegro will be introduced to the North American market at the REPLItech in San Jose, Calif., June 4-6.
Nevejans said there is a certain amount of risk involved in introducing anything different in replication equipment, but has confidence that the Allegro production equipment will be well-accepted in the marketplace.