For jobs requiring 500 or more copies, we use the replication process.
This option is the same as you will find in retail CD stores, and is
the standard process for large runs.
CD Replication prices include all pre-press charges, glass mastering charges, and a PDF proof.
Discs are printed with your choice of full color, greyscale, or black on silver printing.
Normal turn times are 7 - 10 Working days. Rush orders available.
For orders under 500 please see our CD Duplication page.
2P = 2 Panel front card and tray card. Packaged in a jewel case and overwrap.
4P = 4 Panel booklet and tray card. Packaged in a jewel case and over-wrapped.
2P slim = 2 Panel front card and no tray card. Packaged in a slim jewel case and shrink-wrapped.
4P slim = 4 Panel front card and no tray card. Packaged in a slim jewel case and shrink-wrapped.
BULK = Discs only - no packaging
About Optical Disc Replication
Optical disc replication is the process by which commercial discs are manufactured, in mass quantities, using a master version created from a source recording. This master may be either in audio form or data form. From this source a glass master is made to be used in the replication process.
An optical disc can be used to store audio, video, and data in various standardized formats defined in the Rainbow Books. discs are usually manufactured in a class 100 (ISO 5) or better clean room; they can usually be manufactured to quite strict manufacturing tolerances.
Optical disc replication differs from duplication, as the pits and lands of a replicated disc are molded into a disc blank, rather than being 'burn marks' in a dye layer or areas with changed physical characteristics. In addition, disc burners write data sequentially, while a disc pressing plant 'presses' the entire disk in one physical stamping operation.
Disc molding machines are specifically designed high temperature polycarbonate injection moulders. They have an average throughput of 550-900 discs per hour, per molding line. Clear polycarbonate pellets are first dried at around 130 degrees Celsius for three hours (nominal; this depends on which optical grade resin is in use) and are fed via vacuum transport into one end of the injection molders' barrel (the feed throat) and are moved to the injection chamber via a large screw inside the barrel. The barrel, wrapped with heater bands ranging in temperature from ca 210 to 320 degrees Celsius melts the polycarbonate. When the mold is closed the screw moves forward to inject molten plastic into the mold cavity. When the mold is full, cool water running through mold halves, outside the cavity, cools the plastic so it somewhat solidifies. The entire process from the mold closing, injection and opening again takes approximately 3 to 5 seconds.
The molded "disc" (referred to as a 'green' disc, lacking final processing) is removed from the molder by vacuum handling; high-speed robot arms with vacuum suction caps. They are moved onto the finishing line in-feed conveyor, or cooling station, in preparation for metalization. At this point the discs are clear and contain all the digital information desired; however they cannot be played because there is no reflective layer.
The discs pass, one at a time, into the metalizer, a small chamber at approximately 10−3 Torr (130 m Pa) vacuum. The process is called 'sputtering'. The metalizer contains a metal "target" — almost always an alloy of (mostly) aluminum and small amounts of other metals. There is a load-lock system (similar to an airlock) so the process chamber can be kept at high vacuum as the discs are exchanged. When the disc is rotated into the processing position by a swivel arm in the vacuum chamber, a small dose of argon gas is injected into the process chamber and a 700 volt DC electric current at up to 20 kW is applied to the target. This produces a plasma from the target, and the plasma vapor is deposited onto the disc; it is an anode - cathode transfer. The metal coats the data side of the disc (upper surface), covering the pit and lands. This metal layer is the reflective surface which can be seen on the reverse (non label side) of a disc. This thin layer of metal is subject to corrosion from various contaminants and so is protected by a thin layer of lacquer.
After metalization, the discs pass on to a spin-coater, where UV curable lacquer is dispensed onto the newly metalized layer. By rapid spinning, the lacquer coats the entire disc with a very thin layer (approx. 70 nm). After the lacquer is applied, the disks pass under a high intensity UV lamp which cures the lacquer rapidly. The lacquer also provides a surface for a label, generally screen printed or offset printed. The printing ink(s) must be chemically compatible with the lacquer used. Markers used by consumers to write on blank surfaces can lead to breaks in the protective lacquer layer, which may lead to corrosion of the reflective layer, and failure of the disc. For information about disc Duplication see here.
Glass mastering is performed in a class 100 (ISO 5) or better clean room or a self-enclosed clean environment within the mastering system. Contaminants introduced during critical stages of manufacturing (dust, pollen, hair, or smoke) can cause sufficient errors to make a master unusable. Once successfully completed, a disc master will be less susceptible to the effects of these contaminants.
During glass mastering, glass is used as a substrate to hold the disc master image while it is created and processed; hence the name. Glass substrates, noticeably larger than a disc, are round plates of glass approximately 240 mm in diameter and 6 mm thick. They often also have a small, steel hub on one side to facilitate handling. The substrates are created specially for disc mastering and one side is polished until it is extremely smooth. Even microscopic scratches in the glass will affect the quality of discs pressed from the master image. The extra area on the substrate allows for easier handling of the glass master and reduces risk of damage to the pit and land structure when the "father" stamper is removed from the glass substrate.
Once the glass substrate is cleaned using detergents and ultrasonic baths, the glass is placed in a spin coater. The spin coater rinses the glass blank with a solvent and then applies either photoresist or dye-polymer depending on the mastering process. Rotation spreads photoresist or dye-polymer coating evenly across the surface of the glass. The substrate is removed and baked to dry the coating and the glass substrate is ready for mastering.
Once the glass is ready for mastering, it is placed in a laser beam recorder (LBR). Most LBRs are capable of mastering at greater than 1x speed, but due to the weight of the glass substrate and the requirements of a disc master they are typically mastered at no greater than 8x playback speed. The LBR uses a laser to write the information, with a wavelength and final lens NA (numerical aperture) chosen to produce the required pit size on the master blank. For example, DVD pits are smaller than disc pits, so a shorter wavelength or higher NA (or both) is needed for DVD mastering.