Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: July, 2022
The production of a standard LP is not exactly an environment-friendly procedure, since it uses a lot of energy (steam-activated stampers) and a blend of polyvinyl chloride and polyvinyl acetate, not the ultimate eco-friendly compound. Hence, it wouldn't be a bad idea to reduce energy expenditure and use more eco-friendly materials at the same time. Enter Green Vinyl Records, a collaboration project between 8 Dutch companies with business, research and education backgrounds, which aims to release a more eco-friendly LP. The companies involved in the project are: Symcon B.V., Polymer Research Group B.V., Geelen installations, Koot Automation & Service, MPB Mechanical Parts, Record Industry, Fontys Foundation, University Applied Natural Sciences and Mikrocentrum.
First of all, they avoid steam pressing, and use a simpler low-energy injection molding process. This is claimed to reduce energy use by more than 60%. Moreover, they have developed a greener compound, called EP080, that is claimed to preserve all the good sonic qualities of old vinyl and to be, at the same time, more eco-friendly.
Finally, the entire process is fully automated, with less manual work involved. This will also lower the cost of the final product.
The process of quality control of the LPs can be quite complicated, for this reason the guys behind Green Vinyl have released a Bi-Pointed Stylus, called BPS33 (another one is available for 78s as well). Why a bi-pointed stylus? Well, the matrix (vinyl stamper, the negative of an LP) of any LP does not contain grooves, of course. Hence, if you wish to play the original matrix on a regular turntable, you need to use a device that can actually read it! That's why you need a bi-pointed stylus! It should follow the mountain peaks of the matrix, instead of the valleys of the LP. Thanks to this stylus, vinyl pressing plants can check the quality of the matrix before starting the pressing process. This way, they can fix errors before going into production.
The project sounds interesting, let's see if it will take off. Here's a video presentation of the project.
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