SAN FRANCISCO — German-based Data Disc Robots GmbH, Krauss-Maffei AG and Leybold Systems GmbH, among others, are improving optical-media molding cycle times and increasing their competitive presence in the United States, according to interviews at Replitech North America, held June 2-4 in San Francisco.
Data Disc of Wurselen, Germany, has taken aim at the U.S. market, planning to do final assembly of units in Charlotte, N.C., next year and manufacture equipment there by 2000.
The firm established a North Carolina sales, service and spare parts operation in September 1997 through Data Disc Technology Inc. USA, a subsidiary headed by Andreas Gubig, managing director.
Data Disc has sold 50 of its all-electric Roboshot 50e injection molding machines worldwide in 14 months. The machines are suitable for making compact discs or digital versatile discs. The tight-tolerance production system is based on Fanuc Ltd.'s next-generation Roboshot platform from Japan.
Data Disc said a servo-motor-driven 50e uses about 36 percent of the energy needed for a comparable hydraulic machine. In March, Data Disc demonstrated a 50e with cycle times of 2.97 seconds.
Krauss-Maffei of Munich, Germany, demonstrated cycle times as low as 2.98 seconds per CD on a production machine in operation at Replitech, sales engineer Artie Riegger said. In June, Riegger opened a unit's new East Coast sales office for optical products in St. James, N.Y.
Krauss-Maffei's updated CD production system guarantees cycle times under 3.4 seconds. Engineers modified and fine-tuned the system, developed a sprue compression technique and improved the nonopen mold and the injection compression molding process. A modular design eases the process of retooling to manufacture DVDs or other optical data media. The firm also exhibited a complete DVD system.
Krauss-Maffei Corp. of Florence, Ky., provides service and stocks parts as an operation of the Krauss-Maffei business unit of Mannesmann AG's plastics machinery group.
Leybold Systems of Hanau, Germany, introduced two new replication lines at Replitech and expects to begin initial deliveries in September.
Leybold began development on the double-molding lines on a common platform in late February, said Hubert Bennecker, who handles marketing for CD lines and mastering equipment.
The $1.2 million Arcadia Duo has two injection molding presses, a downstream cycle time of 1.5 seconds for CDs and designation as a future replacement for Leybold's Speedline. The integrated $1.6 million Arcadia DVD can replicate DVD 5, DVD 10 and DVD 9 formats with an additional metalizer for the latter format.
Leybold has sold 250 systems of four existing lines since 1990 and sees market prices dropping in the face of competition, Bennecker said.