Record press

Record press

A record press is a machine for manufacturing vinyl records. It is essentially a hydraulic press with a closing force of 100 tons and is fitted with moulds. Labels and a vinyl pattie (pre-heated vinyl blob) are placed in the mould cavity while the moulds are being steam-heated. Stampers (metal plates, one for each of Side A and Side B) for each title to be pressed are fitted to the moulds. The stamper contains a negative image of the grooves. The moulds close and through the process of compression moulding the vinyl fills the cavity to take the form of the finished record, complete with grooves courtesy of the thin metal "stamper".

Water is then admitted to the moulds which both expels the steam and cools the moulds down. The press opens and the record is removed from the moulds. The overflow vinyl at the edges is trimmed and the records stacked and allowed to cool. Cycle time for a 7" record is about 15 seconds and for a 12" record about 25 seconds.

Record presses were made by the following companies:

*Alpha-Toolex (Sweden),
*Lened (USA),
*Hamilton Manufacturing Co, (USA)
*Southern Machine & Tool Company - SMT (USA)
*Taunus Ton Technik - TTT (Germany) (TTT hydraulic presses were fitted with Hamilton USA automation)
*Fabeldis (Belgium)
*EMI Records (UK)
*Philips (Europe)
*Miller (USA) and
*Finebilt (USA)

The last record presses ever made are said to be those built and supplied by Alpha Toolex to Melodiya Records (USSR) around 1986. Record presses in use today were made in the '60s and 70s.

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