Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items during the International Recording Media Association forum, held March 15-19 in La Quinta, Calif. Technicolor expands optical-disc output
Technicolor optical-disc operations are expanding at four domestic and European sites.
For Technicolor, this is its biggest purchase of molding machines, said John Town, vice president of research and development. It will cost more than $20 million for about 25 twin-press lines.
"We went with the most aggressive levels of expansion," he said. "Forecasts are pointing us in that direction."
The Ruckersville, Va., site is adding 12 digital-versatile-disc lines, each with two presses. With the new equipment, Ruckersville will operate more than 60 DVD and compact disc presses.
Technicolor is doubling DVD capacity at its Camarillo, Calif., plant to 10 two-press lines from five. Camarillo operates 26 CD presses.
A facility in Cwmbran, Wales, will add six twin-press DVD lines within a few months. Currently, Cwmbran has two DVD lines and at least 19 CD lines.
The Foetz, Luxembourg, plant will gain DVD mastering capability and two dual-press DVD lines. Foetz has 10 presses including two that can replicate DVDs.
Technicolor already provides data pre-mastering services for CDs and DVDs at other locations.
The optical disc operation is part of Technicolor's packaged media group. London-based Carlton Communications plc owns Technicolor, which has included the optical disc operations since the September 1998 acquisition of Nimbus International Inc.
Replicators earning anti-privacy certificate
An effort to combat pirates replicating optical media is taking hold.
Cinram International Inc.'s Huntsville, Ala., plant qualified first for IRMA's new anti-piracy certificate of compliance.
"We encourage all of the replicators to participate in the program," said David Rubenstein, president and chief executive officer of the Cinram U.S. Holding unit. Cinram was certified March 13.
Universal Music Group's Grover, N.C., compact-disc plant completed its independent audit in early April and is scheduled for certification in May, said Rushton Capers, director of the anti-piracy compliance program at Princeton, N.J.-based IRMA.
Another 12 domestic and seven European replication plants are working through the requirements. The program costs about $10,000. More than 80 U.S. and about 120 European sites replicate discs, said Theo Kohler of Spaarndam, the Netherlands, who directs IRMA's European anti-piracy effort.
IRMA's anti-piracy coalition includes replicators, the Recording Industry Association of America, Motion Picture Association of America, Business Software Alliance, Software Information Industry Association, Interactive Digital Software Association and International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
Emplast packaging keeps getting bigger
Emplast Inc. of Chanhassen, Minn., is creating bigger plastic cases to safeguard expensive computer software on retail shelves.
"We are working with software companies to design larger security packages," said Philip Sykes, vice president of sales and marketing. "We are getting requests for product larger than our super-size package."
A retailer loads the product into the clear case and places it on display where a shopper can view the entire contents. Upon purchase, the security pack is removed and sent back for reloading.
"Our job is to help retailers bring out as many products as possible from behind the glass counter or a back room," he said.
The cases allow open display of high-end software, cell phones, portable video games and other electronic products.
Software producer Microsoft Corp. and retailers Best Buy Co. Inc. and CompUSA Inc. work closely with Emplast and have reported sales increases of 20 percent or more for products in the security cases.
"Polycarbonate is practically inviolable," Sykes said. "We have had experience with people taking portable drills into the store. We even had a report from one store that someone brought in an acetylene torch. There was smoke behind aisle seven."
Emplast molds the cases its Chanhassen or Shakopee, Minn., plants.
Crest National adds 8 production lines
Specialized replicator Crest National of Hollywood, Calif., has more than doubled its equipment for molding optical media.
"We've added eight lines since March 1999," John Walker, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said at the IRMA forum. Capacity for Crest's 15 lines is about eight million units a month.
"We've got 10 DVD-5 lines that also do CD and four dedicated CD lines," he said.
Another line is dedicated to DVD production.
VHS videotape sales are still going strong
The VHS videotape format marks its 25th anniversary in 2001, and new products have yet to dislodge it.
Growth continues, said Stanton Bauer, vice president and general manager at the magnetic markets unit of Fuji Photo Film USA Inc. of Elmsford, N.Y.
The domestic market bought 27 million videocassette recorders last year, pushing the total past 200 million, Bauer said.
Videotape sales remains huge. "There were 1.8 billion VCR tapes sold in the U.S. last year," said Michael Ingalls, vice president of duplicator product sales and marketing for Emtec Pro Media Inc. in Fallbrook, Calif.
Mary Ann Fialkowski, executive vice president with Deluxe Video Services Inc. in Los Angeles, said VHS duplicators need to avoid overinvesting in videotape equipment, except for distribution and other areas that support digital versatile discs.