Sonopress Launches ‘Eco Record’
Storage media manufacturer Sonopress has commissioned its first production line for new, significantly more eco-friendly LP records called “Eco Record” at its Gütersloh plant. The base material used is recyclable PET, and energy savings of up to 85 percent are also achieved compared with vinyl production.
Sonopress, a manufacturer of storage media that is part of Bertelsmann Marketing Services, has developed a revolutionary new form of vinyl LP that drastically reduces the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. The product is being launched in collaboration with Warner Music, a long-term client of Sonopress.
This new vinyl is produced using recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as its base material, which can also be made from 100% recycled PET, rather than polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Pressing the discs requires neither natural gas nor steam, and a test operation saw energy savings of up to 85 percent compared to the traditional process. A first production line for the innovative LPs – dubbed Eco Record – was put into operation by Sonopress on Thursday at its plant in Gütersloh, Germany, following a series of tests last year.
“The tests were so encouraging that we gave the green light for extensive investment in the construction of a pilot line in the twelve-inch LP format,” said Sven Deutschmann, Managing Director of Sonopress. “Lifecycle analyses by independent third-party labs proved that we can significantly reduce emissions of climate-damaging CO2 with our new process. We’ve used the past weeks to check every production detail a hundred times over, comprehensively refine all production parameters, and optimize the quality of the manufactured products so that we can now move into regular production with complete confidence.” “From the beginning of development,” he added. “we set out with the ambition that the quality of the Eco Record should match that of a conventionally produced vinyl LP in terms of sound quality. It should not only convince the experts, but above all offer the music lover an excellent feel and a great listening experience.”
Eliminating the use of PVC, high-quality sound
Salvatore Monteleone, Executive Vice President Global Operations at Warner Music, adds: “We’re pleased to work closely with Sonopress in the development of this sustainable vinyl format. It’s one of several green innovation initiatives we’re developing with partners to help reduce our industry’s environmental impact. Our goal with this project is to provide fans with the high-quality sound of vinyl, while minimizing carbon emissions in production and eliminating the use of PVC.”
Eco Records are produced and assembled by a new injection molding machine with a contact pressure of up to 300 tons. Alongside other necessary special tools and supplementary equipment also developed entirely by Sonopress, the production line was completed in just a few months. It harnesses the same injection molding process that has been used for decades to produce LaserDiscs, CDs, DVDs, and other digital storage media.
The development of the Eco Record further demonstrates that Sonopress is one of the most innovative suppliers in the disc replication industry. The company’s experts, who also developed the replication technology for high-definition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, have spent the past few years working intensively on novel manufacturing methods for records and on the use of alternative materials. Eco Record is launched as the global vinyl market continues to surge, with IFPI reporting revenues increased by 17.1 percent in 2022, the third consecutive year of double-digit growth.