Kodak's CD-Recordable Plant in Ireland

By Miller, Kathy | Information Today, March 1997 | Go to article overview

Kodak's CD-Recordable Plant in Ireland


Miller, Kathy, Information Today


Eastman Kodak Company officially opened a CD-Recordable media manufacturing plant in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, on January 13. This is the first recordable CD manufacturing facility in Europe, and it proves Kodak's confidence in the growing future of compact discs.

At its opening, the 45,000-square-foot Kodak Cork Ltd. was running eight production lines and employing about 250 people. A 70,000-square-foot expansion is already planned, and when it's done there will be 20 production lines and about 600 employees. This adds up to the ability to manufacture 10 million discs per month, according to Kodak. When further expansion is completed at Kodak's other CD-R plant in Guadalajara, Mexico, Robert M. Unterberger, vice president of Kodak, projects manufacturing capacity of 18 million discs per month by the end of 1998. With these expansion plans, the company's investments will exceed $140 million.

CD-R Expected to Take Off

In justifying this growing production, Kodak pointed to the growth in the CD-R industry since 1992, when the whole industry manufactured only 500,000 discs per year. Charts estimating future demand for CD-R discs plot soaring numbers, from 200 million discs this year to over 600 million in 1999. Kodak claimed in its press materials that "virtually all Fortune 500 companies are using CD-R in some way."

In addition to these business uses, where will the growth occur? Research points to the massive installed base of CD-ROM drives (100 million and rapidly growing) and audio players (over 500 million), and to the appeal of "mass customization"-as prices continue to drop, more individuals can use the recordable discs for their own needs. Libraries and other organizations that store large amounts of information are targeted users as well.

"Digital technology is changing the way many of us are using information," said Deborah Esposito, general manager, storage products, and vice president, Digital Product Center, at a briefing of over 20 members of the international press on the morning of the opening. This has been true in the information industry for years, and now the trend is spreading to the masses, according to Esposito.

With this manufacturing move, Kodak aims to become an even stronger force in this growing marketplace. …

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