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“Do It Yourself” Duplicating, Printing, and Publishing

It's all about getting your message out quickly, efficiently and effectively. Today's technology lets you create an in-house publishing department using your own equipment, supplies and staff. 

Distribute a sermon presented just 30 minutes ago as your congregation leaves the auditorium. Or, create a retail-quality video series to sell in your church bookstore or website. There are a variety of duplication, printing, and publishing options out there for you. You just need to find the right one.

Need to make a lot of discs in a short amount of time?
If speed is critical, then a tower duplicator is your best bet. They take a file from a built-in hard drive, a master optical-disc, or network connection and make numerous copies simultaneously.

Disc duplicators accomplish their task through the brute force of multiple hard drives connected together. For example, Microboards sells a disc duplicator with 20 drives that can burn 180 DVDs an hour or 400 CDs an hour. Some even have auto-loaders for unattended duplication of thousands of discs.

For even more capacity, many of the tower duplicators can be connected together or "daisy-chained." The towers are typically chained together through high-speed eSATA connections to prevent data flow bottlenecks between devices.

Media choices have expanded from plain old CDs and DVDs to Blu-ray discs for high-definition video footage. There are even duplicators that write files to USB thumb drives.

Want an attractive presentation?
We all know it's what's inside that really counts. But, an attractive package sure makes it easier to get noticed. And, something that looks good makes users more open to your message.  

More ministries are moving away from sticky labels and the time-consuming hassle of applying them. Printing directly onto discs is the way to go. It's easier, more economical, and greener than ever before.

Direct to disc printing generally falls into three categories: Inkjet, thermal transfer, and thermal re-transfer. 

Inkjet Print Technology
Inkjet printers are the most common way to print on discs and have the lowest upfront cost.  Just like a home office printer, inkjet printers spray liquid ink from a print head onto the surface of an "inkjet-printable" disc. These discs have an additional coating on them called the Ink Absorption Layer (IAL), which receives the ink and allows it to stay in place long enough to dry properly. 

The IAL also prevents ink from contaminating the data layer of the disc, something that is particularly important with CDs. But, because the ink isn't bonded to the disc, the image doesn't hold up very well to liquids or scratches.

To counter this problem, JVC developed the WaterShield disc. Watershield discs have a specially formulated layer that reacts with ink to create a highly water-resistant surface. While more expensive, this can be a good option if there's a need for a more durable product.

Thermal Transfer Print Technology
Thermal transfer, often called "Prism printing," utilizes a thermal ink ribbon. A high-resolution print head heats the ribbon positioned on the surface of the disc to create a permanent ink-to-disc bond. 

Typically, thermal transfer printers are used for single or spot color labels, such as sermon titles, dates and other descriptive information. They are not intended for photographic quality and process color printing.

Where the thermal transfer printers shine is sheer speed. For example, the Rimage AutoPrismPlus can print up to 200 discs per hour depending on print quality and ink coverage.

Thermal Re-transfer Print Technology
Re-transfer technology, found in Everest and TEAC printers, uses a two ribbon process to create beautiful, magazine-quality discs. The image is heat bonded to the disc to create a surface that's virtually indistinguishable from the screen-printed discs you'd see from a major record label or video distributor. 

The first ribbon contains the color, either CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) for full-color imagery or a monochrome ribbon for black and white printing. The second ribbon is called the "transfer ribbon." The printer applies the color image to the transfer ribbon. Heat and pressure then bond the combined ribbons to the surface of the disc. 

The end result is a stunning, four-color process printed disc. The surface is scratch-resistant and impervious to water, and will last as long as the disc itself. 

Want a combined system?
An automated disc publishing system has both the printing and duplication functions along with software to manage and coordinate the two. Robotics are used to shuffle discs from disc duplicator to the printer, which are either thermal or thermal re-transfer.

Publishers are higher-end systems capable of handling multiple jobs simultaneously. Most are network ready allowing remote users to submit jobs for duplication, printing and collation. And, they can run unattended for hours. All you have to do is make sure the discs and printer supplies are loaded. 

So, what do you need?  It all depends on your needs and budget. Keep in mind that while some systems have lower entry costs, the long-term cost can actually be higher. 

This article is courtesy of www.TapeOnline.com, an authorized dealer for Sony, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Maxell, Microboards, Rimage, Lacie, G-Technology and others. TapeOnline provides an extensive inventory of blank media, audio, video, data products, duplicators, burners, printers, labels, bulbs, batteries, hard drives, and related accessories at competitive prices locally and worldwide.

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