ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Growing demand has driven Cinram International Inc. to establish new digital-versatile-disc replication sites in Canada and the Netherlands and bolster its main DVD plant in California. Toolex International NV recently delivered an integrated DVD line to a Cinram plant in Scarborough, Ontario. Installation is scheduled in mid-February, and molding should begin by mid-March.
Cinram also began replicating DVDs in mid-December at a plant in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, using another dual in-line Toolex system.
Each line includes two 60-ton injection molding machines and has a capacity of 250,000-300,000 DVDs per month. Both plants also replicate compact discs.
Cinram's big changes are occurring in Anaheim with expansion to six Toolex lines and enlargement of a Class 5,000 clean room. The plant invested more than $5 million for capital improvements last year and has a capital budget exceeding $8 million for 2000.
"We went through a major physical expansion of our molding room during the latter part of 1999," General Manager Jim Lance said during a tour of the 220,000-square-foot Anaheim plant.
Cinram improved 65,000 square feet adjacent to a 55,000-square-foot clean room. "All our molding is done in a clean room environment," he said. "We committed to double the size of our DVD capacity."
The plant made 5.2 million DVDs last year. Lance projected 2000 production of 12 million to 15 million DVDs.
Production of compact discs, however, is flattening. The Anaheim plant replicated 38.5 million CDs in 1999, and Lance projects current-year production of 38 million to 40 million.
"We haven't seen any decline in the CD market yet, but I think there is going to be some movement to DVD sometime in 2000-2001," Lance said.
Upgrades improved CD production efficiency in Anaheim by 10 percent last year and boosted capacity to 4.8 million discs per month.
"Our two largest plants — Richmond, Ind., and Huntsville, Ala. — can produce 10 million CDs per month," he said.
The Anaheim site obtained its third DVD line in August and its fourth in mid-January. Supplier Toolex is based in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.
A fifth line is scheduled to arrive March 1 and a sixth on May 1. Once fully operational, the six Toolex lines will have the capacity to replicate 1.8 million to 2 million DVDs per month.
Cinram also molds with four 60-ton presses from Meiki Co. Ltd. of Nagoya, Japan.
"DVD appears to have clicked with the American public," Lance noted. Cinram began molding DVDs in November 1997 and has kept up with several advances in DVD formats.
The expansion also required downstream support equipment for printing and packaging and upfront systems for mastering stampers.
The Anaheim plant employs 185 and attained ISO 9002 certification in August.
Cinram makes CDs in Mexico City in addition to the sites in Alabama, California, Indiana, Ontario and the Netherlands.
Scarborough-based Cinram International reported profit of C$26.4 million (US$18.0 million) on sales of C$425.1 million (US$289.5 million) for the nine months ended Sept. 30. The firm manufactures prerecorded videocassettes, audiocassettes and CD-ROMs, in addition to DVDs and CDs, for movie studios, music labels, publishers and computer software firms.