VALENCIA, CALIF. — Optical Disc Media Inc. plans to build a second, larger manufacturing plant near Temecula, Calif., next year.
The Valencia-based company wants to stay close to Hollywood-oriented clients. Without those contacts, ``you are locked out,'' said Erick Hansen, chairman and chief executive officer.
Hansen and his wife, Patricia, have roots in the movie and video game industries that they say eased the company's 1997 entry into digital-versatile-disc mastering and replication.
Hansen started working at the Metro Goldwyn Mayer film studio in 1978, and his wife was Los Angeles-based assistant to the chairman of video game powerhouse Sega Enterprises Ltd. She moved to ODM full time in late 1997, and now is chief operating officer.
In the mid-1980s, Erick Hansen developed an injection molded Tell-a-Tail third brake light that was sold on television. But molding pales to replicating ``a disc with 4.7 billion bits on it,'' he said. He found that DVDs are ``10 times as complex'' as compact discs, requiring higher-grade equipment and molders.
``Everything has to be perfect: heat, cooling, atmosphere, humidity,'' he said.
ODM was incorporated in mid-1995, outfitted a 15,000-square-foot Valencia warehouse and, in early 1997, began replicating CDs. ODM made its first DVD on April 29, 1997. Now, DVDs constitute a majority of output.
ODM employs 20 and molds Bayer's Makrolon DP1-1265 polycarbonate in two Arburg hydraulic injection presses with clamping forces of 40 tons, and two 50-ton electric presses from an unidentified manufacturer.
Capital investment exceeding $10 million also includes an automated DVD packaging line from France and a Tabai Espec EY-101 environmental chamber capable in one day of inducing a year of aging on a disc.
For bonding, the processor operates a hot-melt system with the Arburgs and an ultraviolet system with the electrics.
``We've helped develop the hot-melt adhesives and UV system, and we are testing various bonding adhesives,'' he said.
The data capacity of the DVD format will lead to ``wonderful new uses,'' incorporating game, corporate and film industries and formats, ``like a large artist's pallet,'' Patricia Hansen said.
The format is expensive initially, she said, but ``that price will come down over time.''
In addition to molding discs, the company operates a laser-beam recorder that makes glass masters, which are used to create the stampers that record DVDs. ODM began mastering in September 1997 and sometimes performs independent DVD-quality-control checks for major studios.
Usually, much-larger companies operate such systems, ``because these mastering lines are very erratic,'' he said. Competitors include Time-Warner Inc.'s Warner Advanced Media Operations of Olyphant, Pa.; and Carlton Communications plc's Nimbus CD International Inc. of Ruckersville, Va., and Technicolor Video of Camarillo, Calif. Time-Warner Inc. owns WAMO, and runs Nimbus and Technicolor.
By comparison, ``We don't have the capital resources,'' he said. To raise funds, ODM may issue an initial public offering of stock during 1999.