The CD/DVD manufacturing process explained

There are four key steps involved in the manufacture of CDs and DVDs: mastering, pressing, printing and packaging. Watch the video tour below, or click on the four drop-down menus to read in detail how each stage works. 

    The plant receives the CD or DVD master from the client, which is then converted to a 'stamper' master using DSR (Direct Stamper Recorder) equipment. This master acts as a 'die' from which all resulting discs will be pressed.

    Stebbing Recording Centre's manufacturing plant is the only replication facility in New Zealand capable of completing this mastering process on-site. Other companies outsource this stage off-shore.

    Mastering equipment used: 2 x Singulus/ODME Direct Stamper Recording (DSR) systems - both for mastering CDs and DVDs.

    Master formats accepted: DLT, DDP files (CD, DVD, CD-R, CD-RW, DLT), DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD authoring discs. Master scratches or dust to ensure perfect reproduction.

    The 'stamper' master is transferred to one of the plant's injection molders, where the CD or DVD is pressed from polycarbonate plastic and all data is 'stamped' onto the disc.

    A reflective layer is then applied to the disc in a process referred to as 'metallizing', making the disc readable in a CD or DVD player. For CDs, a lacquer coating is applied to the disc prior to printing to prevent oxidation and damage of the aluminium data layer. For DVDs, two plastic layers are sandwiched together. The aluminium data layer(s) is therefore protected within the disc, and there is no need to add lacquer for protection.

    Pressing/replication equipment used: 2 x Toolex injection molders/finishing lines for the replication of CDs – and the same for DVDs.

    The face of the disc is then printed utilising either screen-printing or 4-colour offset facilities. Offset printing is the centre's recommendation for artwork that utilises photography, complicated graphics and/or illustration as it provides a flawless, high-quality finish. Stebbings are the only NZ CD/DVD manufacturer that offers this service.

    Printers used: 

    Full colour offset printing: Kamman K15.40 offset printer 

    Screen printing: Kamman 15I HS 6-colour screen printer.

    Note: SRC also offer in-house design services and booklet/inlay printing as an additional service if required.

    Once printing is complete, the discs are dispatched to the plant's packaging department where the packaging is assembled via automated packaging facilities. Alternative hand-packing is offered as an option should specialist packaging or artwork require it.

    Equipment used: Eco Star (KCD-4) CD packaging and Ilsemann DVD Star DVD-20.

    What's next?

    Stebbing's relationship with major freight companies enables it to manage the delivery of clients' CD and DVD orders in a timely and cost-efficient manner. This is the final step in the process.