Automated duplicators are high volume optical media recorders that minimize user operation through robotic loading mechanisms. These high capacity disc burners operate as standalone machines without needing to be tethered to a personal computer. They differ from disc publishers in that they do not have direct disc printing capabilities. Automated duplicators can be purchased for CD/DVD writing or as a Blu-ray burner with backward compatibility.
All the user has to do is load a stack of blank recordable discs into the machine's input bin. The process of loading, burning, and unloading discs takes place automatically. The duplication sequence is controlled by a control panel on the front of the machine.
While simple in operation, automated duplicator control panels can be used to adjust advanced settings such as burn speeds, burn times, audio track editing and automated start settings so that the machine will start without delay.
The final burned copies are transferred by a robotic arm and neatly stacked in an output bin to allow for easy user retrieval. Automated duplicators are available with a capacity of anywhere from 25 to 1,800 discs. The big advantage of using these machines is that they can be left to run unsupervised, freeing the operator to work on other tasks.
Throughputs will vary depending on the media format and the size of the discs. Due to their larger capacity, DVD and Blu-ray discs will take significantly longer to burn than CDs. Duplicators with four, six or eight drives provide the greatest efficiency as multiple discs can be burned at the same time. For example, an eight-drive duplicator can copy over 100 CDs per hour but only 40 to 70 DVDs per hour. A six-drive duplicator will write approximately 40 to 90 CDs per hour, and 30 to 65 DVDs within the same time frame. A four-drive copier can produce about 30 to 70 DVDs per hour versus 20 to 50 DVDs.
AVPro, Microboards and Verity Systems are leading manufacturers of automated CD, DVD and Blu-ray duplicators. Because they do not include printers, automated duplicators are significantly cheaper than disc publishers. Duplicators made by these manufacturers provide big savings in both time and labor costs while still providing a high-capacity solution to disc duplication.