CD label printers in Oz

Subject: CD label printers in Oz
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 12:13:24 +0800

Last week I posted a summary of information I'd found out about
labelling CDs for software distribution. Since then I've received
some more useful information; here it is. Thanks to everyone who
contributed.

BTW I found a listserv relating to all aspects of CD production.
Unfortunately the details are at home (I don't have Web access at
work) but I know I found a lot of hits from the archives by searching
Alta Vista on something like "CD +label".

I think the list is hosted by a vendor (Adaptec?) but from the
messages I read it seemed to be a pretty open and free-flowing list.
It definitely looked worth pursuing if you need to know tips and
traps about CD production.

Regards
---
Stuart Burnfield "Fun, fun, fun
Functional Software Pty Ltd In the sun, sun, sun. . ."
mailto:slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I said:
>Silk-screen is more expensive, especially in quantities under
>500-1000, because there are quite high setup costs. Also the
>production process means that they would have to write the
>data too -- so this isn't an option for us. We want to get
>the labelled blanks and burn the data on here.

I'd not planned on replying (I'm in the US), but it looks like you may
have been given some incorrect information. I don't know for sure
whether the service is available in Australia (can't imagine why it
wouldn't be), but here you can have art silk-screened onto *blank*
recordable CDs. We've had this done for one of our small-distribution
Windows products.

Although the process isn't exactly cheap, it's not prohibitively
expensive. Our cost for 60 RCDs screen-printed with three colors and
in jewel cases was 'prox US$440. $260 of that was setup ($3 per for
the media), so a larger order would have an even lower unit cost.

The result looked a lot better than bubblejet-printed CDs I've seen.
If the CD media weren't gold you'd think they were professionally
manufactured. It's really elevated our product's image in the eyes
of our customers, which is cheap at any price.

I realise this may not fit your needs, but I thought I'd let you know
the option's out there.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just one more option that you may not know about. There's a printer
out there called Rimage (DataDisc sells it). The Rimage is a one-
color, ribbon-based printer that does very well printing on normal
CD-ROMs. It's expensive -- $5,400 -- but works well once you get past
the initial setup (which is painful, to say the least). It prints a CD
in about a minute.

Ribbons are available in a small variety of colors but are difficult to
change. Because it's not ink-jet, there aren't any smearing problems
that we can see. However, the CD label software is so very primitive it
drives us bonkers. CD costs are only about $2.50 per disk when we order
over 500.

Overall, we're very happy with our printer. This week, in fact, we're
labeling about 200 CDs for mass distribution since our master burn is
taking too long -- it seems to be holding up well!

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seems like you've really done your homework, but I have one more
suggestion for you. I'm in a similar situation (great software + high
price = low runs) and I use silk screened CD-Rs that we press in-house.
I'd double check with your vendor (or another vendor if they refuse).
They don't like to volunteer this service since they make less money
if they don't record the data for you, but most places will do it.
I can usually get 50 CD-Rs silk screened (no data) for under $7.00 ea.
with 3-4 day turn time. (disclaimer: my vendor and I are both in the
US, so your prices may vary greatly from mine.)

This process works very well for us for runs of up to 75 CD-Rs. Any
more than 75, and the total price is equal to or more than having 250
"real" CDs screened and pressed.

I use a company called Memory Chips in Novato, CA, USA. They're
probably pretty far for you to go for a few CD-Rs, but they may have
some international contacts that are closer to home.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

We had a similar requirement to you (low numbers, high value)
and decided to do it ourselves. The extra control is great --
I can run off a custom demo at the drop of a hat (maybe that's
not so great[!]). Prospects can be really impressed by a demo
CD with their own logo.

Have a look for a distributor for the Rimage Perfect Image CD
printer. Its only a single colour but a far better quality
image than the inkjets we evaluated (poor colour matching was
one problem). Thermal transfer technology using a ribbon, and
fast at c10 sec/CD. It comes with its own software, but you
can use whatever you're familiar with, I use Corel.

Th only drawback is the higher startup UK1800 pounds. CDs we
buy TDK gold CD-Rs in quantities of a couple of hundred at
about UK3.50

You can also use the bulk screen-print method followed by desktop
customisation (version no, date, whatever) with this printer.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Another alternative to silk screening text and images directly on to the
CD is to print labels and apply the labels to the CD.
The following web site has info on a CD label application tool:

http://www.adaptec.com/products/store/cdraccess.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I've been looking at the same issue, and am also going with a printed
CD. Have you checked out the cost of getting a printer yourself?
I got lucky and discovered that another department had one, so I'm not
sure of cost. However, I did find out that printable/recordable CDs
(with a special coating) cost less than $4 here in the US, only a few
cents higher than recordable-only CDs. Plus it gives me the advantage
of printing a CD whenever I need it--we also distribute a high-cost
low-volume product.

Our brand is called Fargo, a thermal ink-jet printer with 600x300dpi
resolution. Print speed averages about 2 minutes per CD. I should
note that our standards aren't that high--yet. Anything better than
a postit note on the jewel case would be a step up!




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