This method of DVD printing uses pre-fabricated printable DVDRs. The discs will either have a white or a silk-printable surface that is susceptible to an inkjet printer. Printable DVDs are widely available in high street stores or online and even high quality discs are cheap.
A digital DVD printer works in the same way as a desktop printer. Cyan magenta yellow and black ink cartridges are loaded into the printer and a printhead makes a series of passes over the printable disc surface that inserts the ink according to the article. It is possible to print highly detailed high-resolution images using this printing method but it has some disadvantages
The digital DVD printing process is slow compared to other printing processes. - Commercial digital DVD printers can only print up to 200 DVDs unattended and each print can take up to one minute depending on the complexity of the artwork.
Each disc needs to be finished with a layer of clear lacquer - this protects the printed surface from potential moisture damage during handling. This gives more delay to the process.
However this DVD print does not have a set cost making it ideal for short runs on less than 100 DVDs which is a highly demanded demand with the digital download.
Screen printing is a tested test method that has been used in the commercial printing industry for decades. DVD screen printing is an adaptation of this process that is modified to allow printing on a disc. This process is great for printing solid color areas with vibrating color colors mixed from different proportions of cyan magenta yellow and black ink. There is also fluorescent and metallic ink available for use with this process.
A screening machine has a large rotating platform. The platform is divided into 5 printing stations with a UV lamp between each station and the next. DVDs with a base color of any color can be printed which allows for up to 6 different colors in the artwork's design.
The print screen from which the process gets its name is a very nice network screen that was originally covered with a thermally reactive emulsion. A separate screen is required for each of the colors included in the final artwork and a celluloid film is also made for each color. The film is black in those areas where the color is required on the disc and clarifies where it is not needed. The film is attached to a screen and placed in an exposure device. A warm strong light then hits the top of the film. Where the light and heat pass through the clear parts of the film to the screen during the thermal emulsion on the screen is cured. Where the film is black the heat and light do not pass through the film and the emulsion remains unchanged.
The screen is then transferred to a spray box where it is sprayed with a fine water jet. The water cleans away the emulsion which has not cured leaving a screen where ink can pass through the net only in some areas where it is required in accordance with the design. The screen will then be mounted on its station on the DVD monitor. The other 4 screens are prepared in the same way and the machine is ready to print.
The DVDs are automatically loaded on the printer. They are presented on spiders and each disc is lifted by a robotic arm with soft rubber vacuum cups. The DVD is placed in a metal configuration that holds the disc securely to prevent motion while printing. The metal jigs are lined up around the machine and the DVDs are unloaded and then removed when printing is completed. A DVD that has been printed and then deleted will be replaced at the next machine rotation with a new unprinted disc. This process continues until production runs are completed.
At each station, another colored ink is applied to the disc when a rubber print sheet passes over the screen. The screen is pressed down on the disc surface and the ink is forced through the net of the blade. Once the ink has been applied the blade returns to the original ready for the next disc. The machine plate rotates one position and the newly printed disc passes under a UV lamp. The UV lamp from the lamp cures the ink immediately and the disc is moved to the next station where the next colored color can be applied without the ability to start the previously applied ink. The print and cure process is very fast and a modern DVD printer can print more than 3500 DVDs in an hour.