GE Plastics and Degussa AB may differ on how to make the next-generation optical disc format known as the Blue-ray, but both companies expect their technologies to be in full swing by next year.
A GE plant in Selkirk, N.Y., is scaling up capacity to manufacture a specialized polyphenylene oxid substrate for Blue-ray Discs, with an eye on having production quantities available by January. Degussa is establishing a pilot line in Weiterstadt, Germany, to extrude its polycarbonate film for BDs, and by June intends to launch full production of the film.
GE Plastics proposes molding a 1.1-millimeter-thick substrate of a dimensionally stable Noryl PPO resin and spin coating a 0.1mm cover layer of silicone. The one-step spin-coat process would eliminate the steps of applying and curing a hard coating, said Gordon Van Dyke, GE's global technical manager for media. For now, a 40-ton press at GE Plastics' optical media development center at its Pittsfield headquarters molds the substrates. A GE Silicones facility in Waterford, N.Y., supplies the coating.
GE's method results in lower water absorption and swell and avoids a secondary operation to meet tilt or flatness requirements, he said. The development center, which Van Dyke manages, has worked on Blu-ray for more than two years. Replicator trials took place in late 2004; in March GE Plastics gave a demonstration for parent General Electric Co.'s entertainment unit, NBC Universal.
Specialty chemical supplier Degussa's BD method is a film lamination process that uses PC for the substrate and cover layer.
Degussa plans to have its Weiterstadt pilot line for its PC film OF405 up and running by November, said Herbert Groothues, Degussa optoelectronics product line director. By mid-2006, it expects to be running 15 film extrusion lines, with annual capacity of 2.2 million pounds, and a Class 1,000 clean room, he said. Degussa's BD project partners include Philips, Singulus Technologies AG and Sony.