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Replicated CDs are mass-produced initially using a hydraulic press. Small granules of heated raw polycarbonate plastic are fed into the press. A screw forces the liquefied plastic into the mold cavity. The mold closes with a metal stamper in contact with the disc surface. The plastic is allowed to cool and harden. Once opened, the disc substrate is removed from the mold by a robotic arm, and a 15 mm diameter center hole (called a stacking ring) is created. The time it takes to "stamp" one CD is usually two to three seconds.

This method produces the clear plastic blank part of the disc. After a metallic reflecting layer (usually aluminium, but sometimes gold or other metal) is applied to the clear blank substrate, the disc goes under a UV light for curing and it is ready to go to press. To prepare to press a CD, a glass master is made, using a high-powered laser on a device similar to a CD writer. The glass master is a positive image of the desired CD surface (with the desired microscopic pits and lands). After testing, it is used to make a die by pressing it against a metal disc.

The die is a negative image of the glass master: typically, several are made, depending on the number of pressing mills that are to make the CD. The die then goes into a press, and the physical image is transferred to the blank CD, leaving a final positive image on the disc. A small amount of lacquer is applied as a ring around the center of the disc, and rapid spinning spreads it evenly over the surface. Edge protection lacquer is applied before the disc is finished. The disc can then be printed and packed.

Manufactured CDs that are sold in stores are sealed via a process called "polywrapping" or shrink wrapping.

The most expensive part of a CD is the jewel case. In 1995, material costs were 30 cents for the jewel case and 10 to 15 cents for the CD. Wholesale cost of CDs was $0.75 to $1.15, which retailed for $16.98.<ref name="cd costs">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> On average, the store received 35 percent of the retail price, the record company 27 percent, the artist 16 percent, the manufacturer 13 percent, and the distributor 9 percent.<ref name="cd costs" /> When 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, and CDs were introduced, each was marketed at a higher price than the format they succeeded, even though the cost to produce the media was reduced. This was done because the apparent value increased. This continued from vinyl to CDs but was broken when Apple marketed MP3s for $0.99, and albums for $9.99. The incremental cost, though, to produce an MP3 is very small.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>


Compact disc sections
Intro   History    Physical details    Logical formats    Manufacture    Writable compact discs    Copy protection    See also    References    Further reading    External links   

Manufacture
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