Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Entertainment Media Expo, held Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 in Hollywood, Calif.
Toyo machine molds vertical Disc Boxes
Toyo Machinery & Metal Co. Ltd. of Akashi, Japan, has introduced a space-saving vertical Disc Box H01 molding machine with a list price of $213,000. The machine was released for initial domestic sale at the end of July.
Toyo is installing four of the 33-ton fully electric Disc Box presses for a buyer in Europe and has lined up a North American customer that plans to use two of the machines for DVD-9 replication. ``We are working with integrators on that'' installation, said Paul Hebert, a Toyo sales representative.
Toyo has hired another service engineer on the West Coast and is ``focusing more on the U.S. for sales'' in the optical-media market, Hebert said. ``Now, we have four persons doing installations'' in the United States, he said. Domestic sales, service and spare parts stocking are based in Yorba Linda, Calif.
China jewel-box JV ships to U.S., Japan
A joint venture in Suzhou, China, is shipping 16 cargo containers per day of Super Jewel Boxes, mostly for music discs, to customers in Japan, the United States and Europe.
Fuji Seiki Co. Ltd. of Matuyama, Japan, and Super Jewel Box International BV of Waalre, the Netherlands, formed the venture in 2001 and invested $25 million in the factory. The operation now employs 186 and uses 34 robot-aided JSW injection presses of 480 tons.
``We cannot keep up,'' said Jan Schuurs, Super Jewel Box president and chief executive officer. ``We changed our advertisement because we are sold out of the plus size and king size.''
Each 40-foot-long container holds product worth about $32,000 and ranging in quantity from 101,600-168,000 units, depending on box sizes.
To reduce cycle times, the Suzhou Fuji Seiki venture chose to mold bottoms, trays and lids with eight-cavity molds on three parallel JSWs and automatically assemble the boxes.
An early 2003 design mistake, however, was costly, time consuming and stressful and took eight months to fix, Schuurs said. ``We made the hinging part too small.'' As a result, molding times for the bottom and tray were four seconds each, but the cycle for the top was six seconds. The venture continues to make the old hinge products for customers with artwork based on that design.
IRMA: Discs enjoy global sales growth
Optical media remains a force in the midst of online digital downloads.
``Those giddy about digital delivery . . . may be prematurely playing taps, even for embattled compact discs,'' said Charles Van Horn, president of the International Recording Media Association. ``The British phonographic industry just reported a [second-quarter sales] gain of 8 percent in shipment of CD singles ... and a 4 percent gain for CD albums. The latest Billboard [magazine] data tells us that, in the United States, there is a robust 9 percent increase in CD album sales when comparing this year with last year.''
Van Horn drew on industry reports in projecting an increase of worldwide DVD replication to 6 billion units in 2005 from an estimated 5 billion units this year.
``We are seeing rapid ramp up of DVD video these days, especially in the European Union,'' Van Horn said.
In continuing anti-piracy efforts, IRMA certifies program-complying replicators and, soon, will launch Operation Content Safe targeting intellectual-property theft in every link in the media supply chain. Princeton, N.J.-based IRMA aims to ``plug leaks, detect theft and discourage piracy,'' Van Horn said.
Shape CD expecting dip in '04 unit sales
Shape CD Europe GmbH of Greifswald, Germany, projects selling 30 machines for specialized cutting of optical media during 2004.
``We sell a lot to replicators now,'' said Werner Wildberger, the firm's president. The firm sold 45 cutting machines last year and a total of 85 since 1995.
Listing for 75,000 euros ($90,825), the Shape CD SM4 ``can produce 10,000 [discs] a day'' in comparison to manufacturing 15,000 units per day with a custom-built tool, Wildberger said. He views cutting discs as being less expensive than using a special mold for orders up to about 1 million optical shapes.
Shape CD offers contract-cutting services in Greifswald and Orlando, Fla., and sells scrap polycarbonate for recycling.
Shape CD parent firm Bestuf GmbH of Neustedt, Germany, owns the technology patent.