PIONEER Corp., Japan and SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG, Germany have signed a cooperation agreement in October 2000 to jointly optimize the mass manufacturing processes for DVD-RW optical storage discs. The final goal of the joint effort is to offer the superior DVD-RW at a consumer price competitive to the existing VCR tape.
As a result of the cooperation, in early summer the first DVD-RW fully within format specification was manufactured in Kahl/Main, Germany on SINGULUS equipment. This is the first time a good DVD-RW disc was made outside of Japan. "The cooperation with Pioneer is bringing our company a good step forward." explains Dr. Hans Ebinger, Product Manager at SINGULUS. "By their help we can offer disc manufacturers in Europe not only efficient manufacturing equipment but also optimized DVD-RW recipes out of one hand. "Also Mr. Kurikazumi Kuriyama, General Manager of optical disc development at Pioneer, is very pleased with the achieved results: " For the first time we work together with an external equipment manufacturer for the market introduction of a new format. By doing so, we would like to make the manufacturing technology for DVD-RW available to a broad community of disc manufacturers in order to support our format. We are surprised by the quick realization of our DVD-RW deposition technology on MODULUS and very much pleased by the technical results. The discs made at SINGULUS in Germany can compare with what we make in Japan very well. Accordingly we will continue and expand our cooperation with SINGULUS for the future."
This year Pioneer introduced the first DVD writer for the PC, the DVR-A03. The IFA 2001 international broadcast exhibition will host the premiere of the DVR-7000 DVD video recorder in Europe. Pioneer's leadership role will be evident in the broad DVD product palette showcased in the company's approx. 1900 sqm. exhibit in Hall 17. Pioneer will demonstrate its innovative strength in all areas of application - DVD players, DVD-ROM, DVD-R and DVD-RW, as well as DVD car navigation. Furthermore, multi-channel DVD-Audio will usher in a new era in spatial playback heretofore unattainable.
Background information on the two companies
PIONEER was the first company to introduce a DVD video recorder as an alternative to the conventional VHS technology in the year 2000, which is successfully sold on the Japanese market. Pioneer markets a DVD-RW recorder for the IT market under the trade name "Super Drive". This recorder reads and writes CD-R/RW as well as DVD-R/RW and is the first product to combine the recordable families of the CD and DVD generation in a single device. Within a short period of time the major market share of the DVD recordable market was captured against the DVD-RAM, which had a market headstart of about 2 years. The Super Drive can be found already in high-end Computers from Apple, Sony and Compaq. The above named products can be seen at IFA Berlin, where consumers have a chance to experience the future benefits of the new digital video-technology.
SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES unlike any other German company has focused its strategy on the DVD technology since years. Already in 1997 SPACELINE, the first highly efficient inline manufacturing system for the mass manufacturing of prerecorded DVDs, was introduced. With this product SINGULUS captured the world leadership on the equipment supply market with today 1 in 3 DVDs being produced on this machine. The next challenge is now the manufacturing of rewritable DVD formats to finally replace the VCR tape. Accordingly SINGULUS introduced MODULUS in summer 2000, a new generation sputter coater for multilayer formats. This fall SINGULUS will introduce the full inline manufacturing system SUNLINE for all rewritable optical disc formats, featuring MODULUS as the key component.
Background information on DVD-RW
The DVD-RW is able to record data with 4.7GB or 2h video in high resolution. The information on todays popular prerecorded DVDs can not be changed, and the DVD-R allows only one single recording step. The DVD-RW disc offers to rewrite the disc up to 1000 times. Rewritable DVD media operate in accordance with the "phase change" principle. The recorders laser is able to put dark marks on a light DVD-RW background using short light pulse. The dark spots can be read as binary information by the modern DVD-players. These information can be deleted or rewritten using less intensive, but longer laserlight.
To provide this functionality, a DVD-RW consists of 4 or more thin film layers, which are sputtered in a vacuum chamber. SINGULUS is market leader in this product range since years. The quality of the layers and the reliability of the production are important for the writing/reading abilities of the discs and for the DVD-RW market price.
All prognoses are based on the premise that rewritable DVD with is digital quality will rapidly replace the analog videotape and the VCR. As a result, multi-billion unit sales are anticipated for the rewritable DVD market, which will in turn trigger a corresponding demand for fully automated replication lines.
This will present SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG with extremely interesting growth potential in the near future.