From the negative a positive is made, in the same way as the negative was made. The negative is put in the electro-forming bath, a nickel layer 'grows' on the negative. After this step the two layers are separated from each other, leaving now not only the original negative but also a positive. The negative is a back-up copy which is archived.
From the positive, the stampers are produced, again in the same electro-forming bath. The stamper is a negative, each record needs two stampers, one for the A side and one for the B side. In this way we are able to develop more than one set of stampers from the same lacquer or DMM. The stampers are used on the presses to actually press the grooves in the vinyl. We can press approximately 1000 to 1500 records with one set of stampers.
The vinyl is transported to the press in small granular or pellet form. Before it is placed between the stampers it is formed under high pressure into a small 'puck' or 'biscuit'. The 'puck' is mechanically placed between the stampers with on each side already an A and a B label. The press closes and the stampers press the vinyl 'puck' under high pressure of 150 bar in 20 seconds into a record. The record is taken out of the press mechanically, the edges are trimmed and the record is put mechanically into an innersleeve/discosleeve and then left flat to cool down with after every 5 records also a heavy metal 'spacer' to enhance the hardening and cooling down process.The records are transported by an assembly-line to a robotised storage system (the collator) where they will cool down for approximately 3 hours for 140 grams records and a overnight (at least 8 hours) for 180 grams records. After the cooling down period the records are ready for packaging.
The sleeves are folded inhouse, on one of our Winkler & Dunnebier folding machines. We have four machines which can practically fold any sleeve for all formats. One of them is a gatefold machine, which folds a two piece gatefold for 12" with a 8 mm spine.
The packaging is being done at the finishing department where the records are mechanically sleeved in their outersleeve (apart from 7" and 10" which are sleeved by hand) and packed into boxes for transportation. Automatic stickering, shrinkwrapping, unique foil numbering or adding inserts is also done at this departement.
Throughout this whole process the record is subject to a comprehensive Quality Control. Before an order can be pressed a first testing will be made and played by QC. When an order is planned for production QC will regularly check a record during the time it is on the press. Besided checking the audio QC checks the printed paper parts (labels, sleeves, stickers etc.) by comparing them with the digital proofs. Finally QC will do a last check on the records when they are packed, to make sure the customer receives his product exactly in the way it is ordered.