In discussing the difference between CD duplication and CD replication, it is important to first analyze the process and procedure of the two.
CD duplication is the process of transferring information into a special type of CD known as CD-R. CD-R(CD Recordable) is made with a surface which can be printed on, and usually has a storage capacity of up to 700MB of data. This process of transferring information into the CD-R is usually done with the aid of an optical drive. The optical drive is used to read and “burn” – process of transferring information from the PC to a CD-R – information to a CD or DVD using the laser in the drive. Occasionally, the optical drive can be a separate unit from the PC, but often times, it is an integral part of the PC or laptop. While the optical drive in a PC or laptop is an effective way to burn information onto the CD-Rs, however, assuming a large number of CDs (up to 1000 units) are to be burned, using the optical drive in the PC or laptop becomes time consuming as only one disc can be burned per time. Therefore, to burn a large number of CD, it will be best to approach firms that offer mass CD duplication service. Most of the firms that render duplication service on a large scale often have what is called duplication suite. The duplication suite hosts duplication towers which are connected together in a systemic way. Optical drives similar to the ones found in a PC or laptop are present in each of the duplication tower numbering between 11 and 15. Smaller companies that render duplication of less than 500 units, have less number of towers. Firms offering large scale duplication service keep the turnaround time short through efficiency measure. There are five steps mechanism by which the duplication suite works:
Step 1: firstly, the controlling drive is loaded with the master CD. Step 2: an automated robotic system picks up the empty disc from a spindle in front of the tower and load it into the tower. Step 3: after loading all the needed drives in the tower, there is then a concurrent transfer of information from the master CD in the controlling tower into every of the empty CD in the tower. .
Step 4: immediately after the information has been transfer is completely, the drives containing the CD opens by itself and the automated robotic system mentioned in step 2 above removes the CD from the drive and these CDs are now loaded into another spindle. Step 5: this process is repeated till all the CD needed to be burned are complete. Initially, there were worries about the durability of the information burned onto the CD-Rs after a period of time; however, the improvement in technology has adequately removed this concern.
Both CD duplication and replication produce products which are similar, however the process for CD replication more sophisticated. The mechanism of replication is given bellow:
Step1: the firm is handed over the master CD by their client.
Step 2: a highly polished glass piece – template – which is a complete replica of the master CD is produced.
Step 3: this glass template is then coated with a layer of polymer.
Step 4: a laser beam which vapourises the polymer and produce minute pits, is focused on the surface of the glass template. These pits, though not visible to the naked eye, are actually the software data on the master CD.
Step 5: this glass template is then baked for the hardening of the layered polymer. This hardening prepares the glass for metallization – where it is plated with nickel.
Step 6: the result of step 5 above is a negative of the intended final injection moulded CD. Using this plated glass template, the positive is now moulded. Strong polycarbonate material which has a thin aluminum surface is used for this injection moulded. Equally this aluminum surface often protects the mould from damage.
CD replication process is highly prone to contamination as particles as small as dust particle can flaw the whole process, therefore, a clean environment is required for CD replication. CD replication can only be used when very high number of CD are to be produced, this is because compare to CD duplication, CD replication is far more costly to set up and take longer time to complete. In all, it will be observed that, CD duplication is less expensive to set up, take lesser time, and can be used to burn CD up to 2000 units. CD replication on the other hand is very expensive, highly sophisticated, and takes longer time, however, it can be used to produce very large number of CD, much more than what CD duplication can produce. CD replication can be used to produce up to 10,000 units of disc.