In today’s How to Guide, we take a look at the professional manufacturing processes involved in making Blu-ray discs and Blu-ray players. In other words: How to make Blu-ray players and discs. These days, making a Blu-ray player/media PC at home isn’t all that difficult, especially if you have previous knowledge of assembling homemade PC’s. Perhaps you want to see how the professionals do it, before giving it a go on your own.
How Blu-ray Discs are Made
Essentially, a Blu-ray disc is really just an optical disc. It includes the added ability of playing video in high-definition and store unprecedented amounts of data. Even though they only physically take up as much space as a regular CD or DVD, you can store far more data on a Blu-ray disc. So, how are they made? Here are the typical steps of the process:
1. Blu-ray Disc Preproduction
In this stage of the process, the production company transfers any pre-mastered digital data the client sends them. If the data needs corrections, for stamper and replication purposes, the company applies the proper corrections. They also test the material to ensure that most players read it correctly. The data is stored onto a specific device. Then, the production company tests it to ensure it meets stamper requirements.
2. Mastering, or Producing the Stamper
At this point, the mastering studio produces a stamper, or initial master copy of each Blu-Ray disc. This is not an actually Blu-ray disc. Instead, the stamper is a negative image of a disc created with the aid of a mold and layer of photo-sensitive glass onto which a laser beam etches the data. Then, the studio transfers the mold into a galvanic medium where the nickel layer of the stamper disc is produced through electrolysis. They separate this layer of nickel.
3. Disc Casting
Actual disc replication begins with disc casting. Technicians place the stamper in a hermetically sealed mold. The actual master Blu-ray disc is created by injecting hot fluid polycarbonate in this modal. Lasers cannot read the disc since it is entirely transparent. Then, one side of the disc is covered in a metallic silver layer, 35nm thick. In the case of Blu-ray 50 discs, there are a few other stages involved: covering the silver layer in base resin, then in wet resin, which is first imprinted with the data on the stamper and then dried with UV rays. The technicians then cover the Blu-ray 50 discs with a second metallic layer comprised of a silver alloy with a 30 nm thickness. The technicians then create a cover layer by using a special lacquer which allows the players’ laser to correctly read the information on the discs. Finally, the techs add the protection layers: one of hard coating and a barrier to prevent the accumulation of moisture on the disc’s surface. The final inspection ensures that all layers have equally thick and uniform layers. As per the client’s specifications, the disc can also be screen printed or offset printed with their design of choice.
How Blu-ray Players are Made
Blu-ray players may seem like nothing more than glorified CD/DVD-Rom units. In some ways, they are. They contain many of the same components. As many online tutorials advertise, you can even build your own Blu-ray player, right at home. For this, you will need all the ‘ingredients’ that a factory-assembled device requires. These include the Blu-ray drive, a graphics card with a CPU, a case, a power supply, a hard drive, RAM, an HDMI cable, a keyboard and/or mouse, a remote, and media center software. If you’ve successfully assembled your own PC from parts before, you’ll find this process quite simple. How are Blu-ray players produced by actual manufacturers? Given today’s various technologies and uses for these technologies, there is no single standard for assembling and producing optical disc players. More often than not, a Blu-ray player will be assembled out of several sub-assemblies, made in other locations. Unlike several decades ago, the science of robotics now allows companies to insert any sub-assembly, no matter how large or small, at any point during the assembly process. Computer-coordinated assembly lines also allow manufacturers the capacity to alter a procedure in a matter of minutes (or to add quality checkpoints). Here are the typical subassemblies involved in the production of a Blu-ray player:
· The optical pick-up
The optical pick-up subassembly involves a photodiode and a laser, complete with several mirrors and lenses that need to be perfectly spaced and aligned. In doing so, the beam can properly read the disc. The finished assembly is inserted into a case which is typically produced with the aid of extrusion or injection molding. The lenses and mirrors are usually made of silicon, cut, and shaped with abrasives. The photo-diode is a semiconductor, polished off with silicon or germanium and layered with impurities. The manufacturer connects this pick-up to the rest of the device through electrical contacts.
· The disc drive
This subassembly includes a motor, to move the optical pick-up subassembly, connected to the gears and belts that keep said component into place. The manufacturer places all of these parts (the disc drive, loading tray, spindle motor, pick-up clamp and optical subassembly) inside the cabinet of the Blu-ray player.
· Electronic components
As explained above, a Blu-ray player includes several electronic components. Electronic engineers design these parts via computer-aided design packages. They solder the parts onto circuit boards, coated with photo-sensitive materials and chemically cleared to create multi-layer boards. The graphics card, CPU, RAM, and HDD that the device includes are all created this way, then positioned inside the case. Their circuits are then attached to the front panel of the device. Typically, the last part to go in is the power supply. After all the separate sub-assemblies have been prepared and connected, they are all joined together through an interface. Then comes testing, quality control, and packaging – and, voila! Here’s a new Blu-ray player, ready to be shipped out to retailers.