Replication is the process whereby CDs are injection moulded for mass production.
Key Production offers a high quality CD replication service for quantities of 500 or more with a wide range of special packaging options and a full complement of related services including mastering and authoring.
Duplication is the process whereby blank CDs are copied for low quantity manufacture. For quantities smaller than 500, Key Production offers a CD duplication service. This service provides a cost effective yet high quality alternative for small runs and fast turnaround.
Supplying your master
We ask that you supply a Red Book CD-R to master from. Remember the final CD you receive will be an exact replica of the one you supplied. Please keep a back up copy of your CD / DVD master and your artwork.
It is important to allocate your master a catalogue number. This number should be unique and will be applied to your CD label and artwork so that each part is correctly married up to ensure the final product is correct. Examples are PTDCD001 or ZXDCD1005. Check CDs from your collection to see examples of this kind of number.
A glass master consists of glass, optically ground and polished, then coated with phostoresist. A laser exposes a pattern of pits - the digitised sound information - into the photoresist coating. Exposed pits are etched away (developed) to generate the final pit structure. This is then coated in silver to form the master. Electroforming replicates the master layer in a nickel plating bath, forming a negative (father). Multiple positives (mothers) are made in order to produce negatives (sons) which are used as stampers in the moulding process.
The stampers are then used to make the CDs in an injection moulding process. Hot polycarbonate is forced under high pressure into a circular mould containing the stamper and then cooled so the polycarbonate takes on the mirror image of the mould. A thin metal “reflective layer” is added to one side of the disc. This reflective layer allows the laser to read the digital data that is created by the pits. Finally, a lacquer coating is added to protect the disc. This process makes about 100 CDs per hour.
The CDs are then moved to a printing machine where, using the label artwork with your catalogue number, silk screen or litho on body printing is applied. From there the discs are moved to the packing area and depending on the packaging are either machine or hand packed. Booklets, inlays and wallets are all machine packable, but items such as digipaks and stickering are hand packed and a charge is made per hand pack movement.
For details on how to supply your artwork, see Artwork and Specifications. Please take time to read this, as it will almost certainly save you time in the long run.
Please send your artwork on a separate clearly marked CD-R or use our FTP facility. Please keep a back up copy of your artwork. Your artwork is generally checked within 48 hours of it arriving at Key Production (delays can occur at busy periods). Once it has passed checking we will create final PDF proofs for you to approve via email. Please take note that PDFs can never be colour accurate and they may look different on your screen to ours. Calibrated printed proofs can be ordered, but take longer and will cost £20 per A4 sheet.
When the artwork is approved, the CD label files are sent to the plant and the booklets & inlays are printed, cut and creased and sent to the CD plant. At the CD plant the catalogue number on the print is matched to that on the disc and the packing process is completed. Please note that process colours are used as standard. Special colours will cost you extra.
Also, for CD labels, because these are printed to polycarbonate and the packaging is printed to paper or card, the disc colours and packaging colours will not be an exact match. Note: Pantone colours on CD labels will not match process colours on packaging.