The Spokane, Wash., facility of BlueRay Technologies LLC has begun making Blu-ray Discs on the first BD line owned by a U.S. replicator, said its chief executive officer, Erick Hansen.
One of the company's suppliers acknowledged the milestone.
``We are very proud that BlueRay Technologies has produced the first American-made, single-layer Blu-ray Disc with GE Plastics' products and technical support,'' said Charles Crew, president of Pittsfield, Mass.-based GE, in news release.
For each BD, BlueRay Technologies molds a 1.1-millimeter-thick substrate of GE's Noryl polyphenylene oxide and applies a 0.1mm cover layer of ultraviolet nanofunctionality silica. While favoring BD's market potential, Hansen said the firm also intends to use traditional polycarbonate in molding a competing next-generation format - high-definition DVDs.
BlueRay molds the discs on a 40-ton electric Sumitomo press that is part of an Indigo optical disc line from the coatings unit of OC Oerlikon Corp. AG of PfÃ¤ffikon, Switzerland.
Hansen eventually plans to mold 100,000 BDs per day, largely for independent movie production.
BlueRay Technologies acquired the 40,000-square-foot Spokane facility in May. It is a 1907 classic brick building with a hardwood floor, Hansen said.
The company is investing $12 million for the structure, land and equipment, including as many as six manufacturing lines, each with an all-electric injection press, along with digital delivery and distribution systems.
According to Hansen, there is ``no other facility like it in the world.'' He noted the firm is trying ``to bring a new business model to America.''
The Spokane site is part of an Edge of Light Media joint venture between BlueRay Technologies and Los Angeles-based independent producer-distributor Film and Music Entertainment Inc., which John Daly heads. Daly is chairman of the joint venture and Hansen is president.
BlueRay Technologies employs 20, but will increase that number to about 100 by the end of the year, Hansen said. Capabilities will include printing and packaging, and the firm plans to make its own BD boxes, as well as inserts.
Charles Weber, a former longtime CEO of Lucasfilm Ltd. of San Francisco, is chairman of BlueRay Technologies' advisory board.
Hansen has a background in the movie and video game industries.
>From 1997-2004, he operated a replication business in Valencia, Calif. Hansen said his firm replicated the world's first DVD-ROM video game, a space-combat simulator called ``Wing Commander,'' in 1997.
``We found it hard to do business in California'' with costly utility and worker compensation insurance rates ``and everything else,'' he said.
In the contentious high-definition-format war, Sony Corp. promotes BD and competes for adoption and sales of hardware and software with a Toshiba Corp.-led HD DVD consortium. Each of the blue-violet-laser formats hopes to succeed red-laser DVD technology that was introduced in 1996. Replicators use PC in molding DVDs, HD DVDs and some BDs.
Non-U.S.-owned replicators with U.S. BD production capabilities include units of Sony; Cinram International Income Fund of Scarborough, Ontario; Thomson SA of Boulogne-Billancourt, France, through Technicolor; and Sonopress GmbH of Gutersloh, Germany.