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Need plating shop for electroforming phonograph record stampers

February 22, 2012

RFQ. Hello:

We are a vinyl record pressing plant in Cleveland, and due to ever increasing demand for vinyl records, we are interested in finding additional plating shops interested in making the metal stampers we use to manufacture records.

While still a niche industry, demand for vinyl records continues to increase substantially. There is currently one independent plating facility in the U.S. which services this industry, and while it is extremely reputable and does excellent work, we are interested in speaking with other facilities due to the increase in demand.

Thank you!

Matt E [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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March 7, 2012

"we are interested in finding additional plating shops interested in making the metal stampers we use to manufacture records"

I am unfamiliar with the process of manufacturing records, I am wondering if you are looking for a plater or a stamper? Could you clarify what you're looking for? Thanks!

Sara Mortensen
Bales Mold Service - Downers Grove, Illinois, USA

March 7, 2012

Hi, Sara.

Briefly, a lacquer master is engraved, metallized with a spray silver solution, and then nickel plated very thickly, and separated from the lacquer master. This nickel electroform can be chrome flashed for abrasion resistance and used as a "stamper" (actually a mold might be a better name) for the vinyl records. More commonly, and if high volumes are involved, additional nickel electroforms can be made by electroforming onto the first nickel electroform and separating them, and electroforming more "stampers" from the 2nd generation electroform.

Because of the precision that is required, it is rather a specialty. Equipment whereby the discs are mounted onto a spindle and revolve during plating, and include specialty shields, is usually employed. The plating solution is usually sulphamate nickel, and often the plating cells include specialty anode arrangements to deliberately generate sulphamate breakdown products sometimes simply called "magic stress reducer".


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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