How are CDs & DVDs Manufactured?

How are CDs and DVDs Manufactured ?

glassmasterThe first stage in CD/DVD manufacture is to prepare the glass master.  This is done in Class 1 Clean Room conditions where the data from our pre-master is etched by laser into a glass blank which then has a thin layer of nickel deposited electrostatically on it.

electrplatingThe nickel substrate is then built up into a thick layer by electroplating which creates the “Mother” – from this the stampers are pressed which will actually produce the discs.

cdchipsRaw CDs are made from small clear polycarbonate chips that are heated to remove all traces of moisture. Each of the sackfulls of chips you can see here can produce about 40,000 CDs.

stamperThe polycarbonate is then injection moulded against the stamper at a pressure of 60 tonnes to produce a clear CD that contains all the audio data but is not playable until it receives its silver coating by an electrostatically charged vaporisation process.

cdcoatingThe reflective coating is then protected with a layer of clear lacquer that is applied centrifugally. The whole process from raw chips to lacquered CD takes about 3 seconds so each machine or “monoline” can produce up to 1200 CDs per hour.

Sample CDs from each production run are analysed both for mechanical tolerance and data integrity before receiving quality approval and moving on to the print stage.

cdprintingThe CD label is screen printed onto the lacquered side of the disc one colour at a time. These can either be bespoke spot colours or the standard cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white used to make up a “full colour” image or “picture disc”.

cdpackingThe finished CDs are then automatically packed together with their inlays and booklets into jewel cases which are in turn cellophane wrapped for protection.