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Robotic Disc Duplicator Buyer's Guide

Choosing a Duplicator to Automatically Copy CDs and DVDs

Disc duplicators are the most efficient way to copy discs. Rather than copy discs one at a time on your computer, a disc duplicator allows you to make multiple copies of CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray Discs. Aleratec has disc duplicators that can make up to 15 copies simultaneously.

But if you are regularly making large numbers of duplicates, you might crave an even more convenient solution. With a standard duplicator, you have to reload the target drives with blank discs for each set of duplicates you need to complete. What if you want to make 150 copies of a single disc? Even with a 15-target duplicator you would have to load the target drives, complete the duplication process, then unload the targets drives and repeat this cycle nine more times to complete your project

Robotic disc duplicators can complete large duplication jobs without the user reloading the target drives, making them an efficient, labor-saving solution. A robotic duplicator reloads the target drives automatically from its store of loaded discs until the job is completed or the disc supply is depleted.

How Robotic Disc Duplicators Work

The benefit of a robotic disc duplicator is that once the duplication process is started, no further intervention is required and the user is free to take care of other important business. And, the robotic duplicator can typically hold many more blank discs than a standard duplicator. It is loaded with a source disc or source image and then blank discs and the duplication process is started. The user can return later when the process is complete to collect the duplicate discs. For example, Aleratec carries duplicators that can process up to 150 discs in a single job without any user interaction once the copy process is started.

Robotic disc duplicators are an efficient way to make multiple disc copies from a source. Your source may be:

  • Data that is read from a disc by an optical drive in your computer.

  • Data from a hard drive in your computer or other external drive.

  • The source data is either transferred via USB connection to the disc duplicator or read directly off a source disc. Some of these duplicators have internal hard disk drives that you can load source data to. The data is then written to blank discs in the duplicator's target drive, or target drives.

    All robotic duplicators have a mechanism that automatically loads the target discs to the target drives where they are written with the source data, then removes the completed duplicates and reloads the target drives with blank discs until the project is complete. The design of this robotic mechanism varies.

    Two factors that can impact the efficiency of a robotic duplicator are:

  • Load capacity: How many discs can be pre-loaded to the duplicator? This determines how many discs can be duplicated before user intervention is required.

  • Number of target drives: Some robotic duplicators have more than one target drive allowing them to write to more than one duplicate disc at a time. This can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes the duplicator to complete a large job.

  • Robotic duplicators can be standalone or computer-connected.

  • A Standalone Duplicator does not have to be controlled from a separate computer. It has a built-in controller and operating keys or buttons on the duplicator itself. The controller sends signals and commands to the duplicator's burners and drivers. Its memory capacity and operating system determine the options available to the user and the quality of disc duplication.

  • A Computer-Connected Duplicator requires an available computer to control the duplication process. Here are a few things to consider regarding computer connected duplicators:

  • If the computer you plan to connect to your disc duplicator is an older computer that does not have a lot of computing power, you will need to dedicate this computer to controlling your duplicator.

  • If you have a newer computer with lots of computing power, you could use this computer for other applications in addition to controlling your duplicator, but it will affect the performance of the system and other applications.

  • If it is not convenient for you to dedicate a computer, or part of a computer's resources, to controlling a disc duplicator, you will want to select a standalone duplicator.

  • Disc Duplication Software

    Software must be loaded to the computer used with your computer-controlled disc duplicator to enable the duplication process. There are a variety of applications available that will provide the necessary functionality.

    Typically, the required software is provided with the computer-connected disc duplicator to ensure trouble-free integration and operation.

    You will need software that is compatible with your computer (PC or Mac) and you will want to make sure your computer meets the software's minimum system requirements.

    Choosing The Robotic Disc Duplicator That Meets Your Needs

    Robotic disc duplicators come in many versions. Here is an overview of issues to consider that will help you narrow your selection:

    1. What types of discs will you duplicate?

    If you typically copy CDs or DVDs and do not copy Blu-ray discs, then you can choose from a wide range of DVD/CD Robotic Duplicators. These duplicators are generally less expensive than comparable duplicators that also have the capacity to copy Blu-ray discs, but you are limited to making DVD and CD copies only.

    If you currently duplicate Blu-ray discs or think you will in the future, you will want to invest in a duplicator that also has the capacity to duplicate Blu-ray discs: a Blu-ray/DVD/CD duplicator.

    2. How many discs do you typically duplicate at a time?

    The way you answer this question will help you determine the desired capacity for your duplicator. For maximum efficiency, you want to avoid reloading the duplicator during a job, so keep capacity in mind while considering duplicators within your budget

    3. Are you looking for a duplicator that is fast as well as efficient?

    In your decision process, duplication speed may take a back seat to efficiency. After all, with a robotic duplicator, user intervention is not necessary once the duplication process begins. But if you need a duplicator that is both fast and hands-free, you should consider a duplicator with more than one target drive. The Aleratec 1:3 DVD CD RoboRacer MultiDrive SA Duplicator, for example, has three target drives which make duplicates simultaneously. That means it can complete a duplication job three times faster than a similar duplicator with one target drive.

    Available Options for Faster Disc Duplication

  • Drive speed of the duplicator
  • Type of discs you are duplicating. Generally speaking, CDs can be duplicated more rapidly than DVDs.
  • Write speed of the discs that will become your duplicates.
  • Quality of discs you are using. Using lower-quality discs can mean more duplication errors which will make it necessary to duplicate additional discs.
  • Final Considerations

    As with any high technology product, it's important to consider the reputation and qualifications of the manufacturer when choosing your computer-connected disc duplicator.

    It's best to choose a brand that has a history of quality and credibility.

    You want to be sure that the company offers adequate support and warranties on its products.

    If you carefully consider your needs and available features, it will be a breeze to select the Computer-Connected Disc Duplicator that's right for you.

    You're on your way to creating high-quality discs for all your duplication needs.

    Aleratec Solutions

    Aleratec offers a variety of Disc Duplicators and Publishers including:

    DVD CD Robotic
  • 1:3 DVD CD RoboRacer MultiDrive SA Duplicator - Part 280118
  • DVD CD RoboRacer SA Stand Alone 100 Disc Capacity Duplicator - Part 280112

  • Check the chart below to find the Aleratec Product that meets your needs and link directly to the product page.

    By Perry Solomon
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