Collecting records can be an expensive habit. Since its steady re-emergence into the mainstream, and even into supermarket chains, the price of new releases on vinyl have risen too. They can now cost anywhere between at least £15-£25, and the popularity boom has seen old records shoot up in price too. But that might not be the case for much longer. In fact, it looks like buying records could get a whole load cheaper.
At the moment, steam is used to heat up the PVC (vinyl) puck, which is then pressed between two large stampers to create the record. The use of steam provides some wear and tear on certain parts, meaning that the stamper can only be used for roughly 1,500-2,000 records before it needs to be replaced.
Sycomen’s new injection moulded technology doesn’t use steam at all. As a result, they claim that the technique will reduce energy costs for manufacturers by 65 percent, due to reduced pressure on the stampers ultimately meaning that machinery will last longer.
As the parts become more durable and maintenance on the machines are reduced, Sycomen reckon that it means that the timeline for pressing records can be reduced from an average of 16 weeks down to two. Essentially, it’s making the whole production flow cheaper and more efficient.
If successful on a large scale, the cost-saving technique will mean that suppliers can meet the surging demand easier and will make the entire production cheaper overall, something which will hopefully be reflected in the retail price of records in your local shop.
The method is still undergoing testing by the manufacturers, but they’ve just received a hefty grant towards the project so the end product could be refined sooner than you might think.
Guess you can use that spare fiver to play some records with then, right?