SAN JOSE, CALIF. - Regardless of whether the digital versatile disc will be ready by year's end, equipment manufacturers are ready. Several molding machinery makers displayed their wares in action at the Replitech Interna-tional 1996 show and conference, held June 4-6 in San Jose.
For compact disc manufacturers, the production bottleneck is at the molding stage. That's why molding machine manufacturers are focusing on reduction in cycle times, improved efficiency and less downtime.
Sumitomo Plastics-Machinery demonstrated its DVD molding capability on the recently introduced SD30 subsystem. Although the availability of this machine was announced at Plastics USA in September, the Replitech demonstration represented the first public showing of its capabilities to mold the 0.6-millimeter DVD substrate.
Cycles times for the accumulator-assisted SD30 were 4.3-4.5 seconds for DVD molding and 3.5-3.8 for audio CDs. Some of the specialized precision molding features on the machine include a temperature-controlled platen, a disc-oriented screw assembly, a gate cut mechanism in the moving platen, and a two-zone, temperature-controlled nozzle.
These features help ensure uniform replication over the entire data area, low stress and dimensional stability, the company said.
Norcross, Ga.-based Sumitomo Plastics-Machinery's custom-de-signed CD/DVD mold manufactured by Seiko Giken of Japan provides four independent cooling circuits for faster cycle times, easy stamper change at high mold temperatures, interchangeability of key parts and adaptation to either CD or DVD molding.
The subsystem features take-out robots by Yushin Precision Equipment, with a 0.15-second takeout time.
Toolex Alpha AB of Sundby-berg, Sweden, introduced its new DuoMax Fi-Fo replication line, billed as the smallest, most productive double-line system available for the replication of CD audio and CD-ROM. New components allow the DuoMax to be adapted to DVD manufacturing without increasing the footprint of the machine.
EMI International of London announced that it is installing a DVD replication line at its manufacturing facility in the Nether-lands in a joint development effort with Toolex Alpha.
The line is based on Toolex Alpha's new, modular DuoMax Fi-Fo concept.
The Toolex Alpha's MD 100 injection molding subsystem already is capable of producing DVD's 0.6mm substrates. A new handling system working on the first-in, first-out principle gives the substrate time to cool between stations.
Toolex Alpha plans to introduce a DVD-specific replication line in the second half of this year.
Krauss-Maffei Corp., with U.S. headquarters in Florence, Ky., displayed its CD/DVD manufacturing techniques with its CD 2000, another generation of its original CD manufacturing system. Sales of the new system have gone ``well beyond expectations,'' said Michael Santa, executive vice president of the injection molding division.
Audio discs and CD-ROMs have been major growth areas for the company. The new technology developed by Krauss-Maffei is its patented GMV injection/compression system that allows for a greater processing window to meet the difficult quality and speed standards of DVD molding without, according to the company, sacrificing simplicity and user friendliness.
Santa said Krauss-Maffei just completed a ``major face lift'' at its Florence plant that includes a training facility and conference areas.
The company also set up a laboratory area that will house a complete CD system.
Netstal Machinery Inc. displayed its Discjet 600 CD manufacturing line, which featured an automatic stamper changer by ICT Axxicon BV of Helmond, the Netherlands. Previously, to change to a new music title, the stamper had to be changed by hand.
The system also will feature a 10- to 12-stamper carousel on the top of the machine to increase changeover efficiency for multiple titles. The model displayed at Replitech is a prototype; the system should be ready for release by the end of this year. The automatic stamper changer can be retrofitted on machines already in place.
Ruedi Krebser, product manager for Netstal's optical discs, said the Discjet 600 can mold DVD's 0.6mm substrates. Production parameters in the Discjet periodically and automatically are recalibrated to ensure there is no drifting of tolerances.
Arburg GmbH & Co. of Loss-burg, Germany, had its Allrounder 270C injection molding system running with a twin-cavity optical disc mold from ICT Axxicon BV. The Arburg 270C provides has a small footprint and fast cycle times.
Nissei America Inc. announced plans to market a DVD in-line production system in the United States in cooperation with Pioneer Video Corp. of Carson, Calif. Nissei's booth at Replitech featured Nissei's Model MO40D3H DVD molding system coupled with Pioneer's MARS line. It produced 0.6mm DVD substrates in a cycle time of four seconds.
Pioneer's Mars production system handles all the post-molding processes including cooling the substrate after molding, coating and inspection.
Also incorporated into the line is the bonding equipment necessary to combine the two halves of the DVD disc.