Have you ever looked at a DVD tray and wondered, ‘how is that made?’ At Merriott Plastics we make several different trays, at our facility in Crewkerne Somerset.

If you are curious about the complex process involved in the manufacturing of your DVD tray or what machinery is used to create such a popular product, this is a must-read post.

The Process

To make different trays, they are created with injection moulding on high-speed specialist moulding machines, using the latest technology. Merriott Plastics use Arburg machines that are all-electric, have smooth movements and are very quiet, efficient, and very consistent. The robot is also electric with air, and moves cleanly, swiftly, and accurately.

The moulding is manufactured in a high spec Polystyrene material, that must be optically clear, but also has other properties for the fast processing of the moulded tray. The material is in a pellet form which is approximately a 2mm cube and is supplied in either 25kg bags, octobins of 1,250kgs or in large bulk containers for blowing into silo storage. Our process uses the 25kg bags, which we recycle after they are thoroughly cleaned.

The material in the bags is emptied into a large bin, from where it is vacuum conveyed to the holding hopper on the moulding machine. The material is then fed into a heated barrel, where a reciprocating screw feeds the material along the length of the heated barrel. It is the heat that melts the pellets into a molten vicious form, that is then pressure forced into the mould tool.

The impressions in the mould tool are fed with hot tips, to keep the plastic molten and allows the material to flow quickly. These are air valve gate opened and closed, to provide a clean break of the feed point. The mould tool is cooled with chilled water to set the material in as short a time as possible.

How many trays do we make?

Typically, the whole operation of mould close, feed, chilled, mould open, part eject, robot in and out, and repeat, is between 6-7 seconds. The mould tools we have for various Trays – DVD, Blu Ray, Thin and Stack – are all 4 impressions. Every 6-7 seconds then, 4 parts are produced, which leads to some 2,215 pieces produced every hour.

How are the parts packed?

The parts are stacked by the robot onto a conveyor, in stacks of 100. The stacks of 100, are then removed from the conveyor, by an operator, and heat banded as a stack. This is for easier handling for stacking onto a pallet and at the customer terminal assembly/packing operations. The pallets, when full hold up to 19,800 parts. They are then sent to dispatch, where they are stretch wrapped, labelled and held for shipping.

Collection

The various DVD Trays we produce are then collected by our customer and shipped to their final packing plant in Poland. It is at this point that the Disc, print detail, outer pack and tray are brought together and packed for shipping worldwide.

Summary

Next time you buy a CD game, or DVD, or Blu Ray, you can explain how the Disc Tray was produced and where. If you are interested in working with Merriott Plastics to create your own DVD trays, you can contact a member of our experienced team today.

Until then, watch the videos below and see how fast the parts are produced.

A DVD Tray being made in Somerset by Merriott Plastics

DVD Trays in production in Somerset by Merriott Plastics