Disc Printing Glossary

Hub Printable

The hub is the area just around the hole, in the middle of the disc, where data cannot be written. With a standard printable disc, you can't print on the hub, as there is no printable surface material applied to it. In contrast, a hub printable disc lets you print across the hub and all the way to the hole. It gives you the maximum amount of printable surface area and more creative control of your artwork.

Inkjet Print Technology

Inkjet printers are the most common way to print on discs. Exactly like your office printer, inkjet printers distribute liquid ink from a print head onto the surface of an "inkjet-printable" disc. Inkjet discs actually have an extra coating on them, the Ink Absorption Layer (IAL), which receives the ink from the printer and allows it to stay in place long enough to dry properly. Unfortunately because the ink isn't bonded to the disc, the image won't hold up against liquids or scratches. However, the new WaterShield discs, while more expensive, do alleviate most of these problems.

Inkjet Printable Media

These discs are used with an inkjet printer, like the GX disc publisher or PF-3. The surface can either be white inkjet printable or silver inkjet printable. Either disc can be purchased as hub-printable or non-hub printable.

Thermal Transfer Print Technology

Thermal transfer, often called Prism Printing, utilizes a thermal ink ribbon. The high-resolution print head heats the ribbon at the desired points causing the ink to bond to the surface of the disc. Thermal transfer printing is mainly used for single color and spot color labels. These printers are ideal for speed, not photographic quality printing.

Silver Thermal aka Shiny Silver Media

These discs are used with a Prism or PR13 printer, like the PrismPlus! Printer. The surface is silver and lustrous. It can be purchased as silver hub-printable or silver printable.

Thermal Re-transfer Print Technology

Re-transfer technology, used in Everest or TEAC printers, utilizes two ribbons: a CMY color ribbon and a clear transfer ribbon. First, the print image is applied to the clear transfer ribbon using ink from the color ribbon. Heat and pressure then bond the image on the transfer ribbon to the surface of the disc. The end result is a high-quality, photo-realistic image. The image is waterproof, highly resistant to scratching, and will last as long as the disc.

Thermal Everest Media

These discs have a white surface and are used with an Everest or TEAC printer like the Everest III printer or the Disc Lab publisher.

WaterShield Discs

Today's inkjet disc printers can produce stunning, near photographic quality discs. However, they have a serious drawback. The ink smears if it gets wet.

Fortunately, there is a solution — WaterShield, one of the industry's first waterproof inkjet printable discs.

WaterShield, created by Taiyo Yuden, is a protective layer bonded to the disc during manufacturing making your discs waterproof, scratch-resistant, and non-smearable. And, WaterShield provides a white, glossy surface that greatly enhances the print quality of your discs.

While they are more expensive, the extra cost may be of little consequence when you consider the bad impression that a coffee-stained disc will make. With a WaterShield disc, you'll know that the beautiful disc you just printed will look just as beautiful when it reaches your customer.

Thermal Print Process — How it works

Using the Rimage Everest thermal printer as an example, the CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) panels are first printed to a clear retransfer ribbon inside the printer. Then, using heat and pressure, the printed image and a layer of the clear ribbon are applied to the disc. The finished product emerges dry, durable, and ready to handle. The final effect is a colorful, high resolution, disc.

The Everest employs an innovative variable dot technology, where the dots composing an image vary in size, resulting in sharper images with greater detail. In addition, the MicroDry ink is actually a thermal resin that contains pigment. This dry technology produces a dot with a fine edge. Silk-screen printing typically produces 85-120 LPI (lines per inch), and magazines are generally offset printed at 150 LPI (roughly 300 DPI/dots per inch). Everest III prints labels at 173 LPI color or monochrome. The Everest 600 prints labels at 600 DPI (roughly 300 LPI).

The pigmented ink on the Everest ribbons is UV protected, ensuring vibrant colors throughout the life of a disc. Everest disc printing will pass any sunshine or dashboard test you devise. The printed image is also waterproof and scratchproof. You'll ruin the disc before you can scratch the label. This enables discs to be used for commercial distribution because these discs can withstand the rigors of day-to-day consumer handling.