Robot Wars: 5 Automated Disc Publishers Face Off

By · Friday, March 20th, 2009

The Tech Guy: Robot WarsTonight we are proud to bring you a very special event. Five of the world’s top disc publishing contenders will go head to head to determine which one deserves to be crowned the champion of the disc publishing universe.

Rest assured that each of these machines are the result of some serious technical engineering by the best disc handling robotics professionals in the country, if not the world. Countless late nights, hundreds of man hours, and many thousands of dollars were spent researching, developing, and testing each machine before they were put into production. Now they go to war!

Each machine is equipped for high volume disc production with a photo-quality inkjet print engine and two DVD/CD recording drives. All of the units feature sophisticated robotics used for loading and unloading discs. Almost all of the machines feature a 100-disc capacity except for the TEAC, which raises the stakes with a whopping 220 disc capacity.

The defending champion is the Bravo Pro disc publisher from Primera. This machine has a tried-and-true print engine and is backed by one of the biggest names in the business. It is also the most affordable printer on our list, which makes it an extremely appealing upgrade from a smaller disc publisher. A robotic arm loads and unloads up to 100 discs between the 2 burners and the printer, which features a two-cartridge system of tri-color + black for good color reproduction.

The newest contender and powerful puncher is the  Epson DiscProducer. As Epson’s first foray into professional disc publishing, this machine defies tradition at every turn. It is front loading instead of top loading and features six individual ink-tank style cartridges with low ink warning lights right on the front of the unit. Yet it still prints and burns up to 100 discs per run with two DVD/CD burners and Epson’s high-resolution inkjet engine.

When you have a problem, count on Microboards to deliver a unique solution. Their MX-2 disc publisher burns and prints discs just like the competition, but does not rely on a specialized robotic arm. The Microboards solution? Use gravity! The MX-2 (and other Microboards equipment) make use of a 100-disc singulator on top of the machine that lets the discs simply drop through the machine. From burn to print the process is completely automatic. Fewer parts reduce the probability of something malfunctioning.

Although it sports stylish good looks, the Rimage 2000i is no “pretty boy.” When it gets down to business, the 2000i is a lean and mean disc publishing machine! Start with the photo-quality inkjet printer, and add a 100-disc capacity for high volume jobs. You’ll find the compulsory dual burner setup but Rimage tops it all off with network publishing capabilities. The 2000i is more than just eye candy, it’s ready to rumble!

Finally, we come to the muscle head of the group, the TEAC PIJ with Autoloader platform. This machine does more than just look impressive – it delivers in a big way. I’m talking about a capacity of 220 discs, which is more than twice that of the competition! Add a high-resolution disc printer and an advanced robotic arm, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a disc publisher. The two units are modular so you can remove the printer from the autoloader/burners, in case something might go wrong or if you decide to swap out the inkjet printer . . . for maybe say, the TEAC P-55 thermal printer? But that is a whole different fight card.

While these five machines have a lot in common, the differences between them are minor. Whether you prefer a few extra ink cartridges or a higher disc capacity, the choice is yours. As far as we’re concerned, they’re all worthy adversaries. It’s a safe bet that if you pick one of these five machines for your CD duplication and DVD duplication needs, you won’t be disappointed.

Comments

By Bill Dudley on March 24th, 2009 at 8:44 am

OK, you described the “contenders” and stopped there. No contest? No comparison? “the differences between them are minor”? I don’t think so. The price difference certainly isn’t minor. You call this a face off. I call it lame.

Not everything has to be taken so literally. When it comes to Robot Wars in the disc publishing world, it’s not just about being the last machine standing in an arena (or marketplace). The real challenge is building your machine to be better, stronger, and faster than the next guy’s.

Each of these machines are incredibly well engineered publishers and honestly, any one of them would be FAR better than doing your own duplication by hand because they all offer the ability to print and burn at least a hundred discs per job automatically. In this case, the best machine really is the one that you like the most.

In this game, nobody wins by a mile, they win by an inch here or a few DPI there or a few extra discs over the other guy. If you’d rather have the six-cartridge system of the Epson over the two-cartridge system of the other publishers, it’s your own preference. Whether you like top-loading machines or front-loading machines, at the end of the day they all produce the same great results.

Regarding price, they are all within a few hundred dollars of each other if not the same price (with the exception of the TEAC). With that said, thanks for your input. We are always looking for constructive criticism on ways to improve our blog website.

Sorry, but the Epson and the Rimage play in a different league, I guess. The quality and lifetime of the other 3 is not comparable to those two.
And as the 6-color system makes the best results, I selected the Epson.
After 12000 CDs I can only say it is fantastic.
Kind regards from Germany,
Felix

Felix:
Glad to hear you are happy with the Epson. Can I ask what you like about the Epson and Rimage machines besides the color, or is that the only reason? In my experience, all of the machines mentioned in the article have been reliable to work with.

In addition to the machines featured here, Epson and Rimage make robotics for other industries such as medical imaging. The enterprise-class disc publishers from Rimage include the 7100 series, 8100 series, and DiscLab machines. These are built from the highest quality materials to survive in mission-critical environments for years to come.

Dear Trevor, I don’t have much experience with the high-end Rimages, but with Primera Bravo, and this is definitely not as reliable as the Epson. Also the cartridge consumption and so the TCO is much higher. The completely closed concept and the front loading of PP-100 is clever and makes it very convenient.
Kind regards,
Felix

Hi We are using a Verity system copydisc4 660disc. We have serious problem with this robot. AND DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. We burns and prints about 1700cds a week. and since we got this machine in 2006 it has only finished 4 jobs correctly.. it always stops. fail to load, fail to print, drops cd, and fails in a every possible way.. to solve this we tried everything, we even shipped it the manufacturer to fix it… but still it doesn’t finish burning and printing jobs.

I’ve been using the Primera for about 4 years and throughout that whole time I’ve had problems with it not picking discs, picking more than one, not reliably duplicating/printing and I’m fed up with it. And we don’t duplicate all that many disks – anywhere from 2 to 12 per week at my church. I’m looking for another solution and I like what I’ve read so far about the Epson although I don’t know that I can get financial approval for it.