The demand for vinyl records has led to year-long pressing delays for even major label artists, as the few dozen vinyl production plants in operation worldwide race to fill a backlog of orders.
The demand for vinyl is the biggest it has been since the 1990s, but the infrastructure is simply not in place to deal with such order. The production of vinyl is still a manual, expensive and time-consuming process.
Green Vinyl Records, in Eindhoven, is aiming to plug the gap by manufacturing vinyl records without the actual vinyl.
Harm Theunisse, owner of Green Vinyl Records, believes his new large-scale pressing machine which uses 90 per cent less energy, and a more durable, recyclable plastic rather than vinyl, will be a “new standard” for the industry.
“This machine can do almost 40% more capacity than the traditional plants, too,” said Theunisse.
“The pressing here is both faster and better for our planet.”
The material eschews PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in favour of PET (polyethylene terephthalate).
“It’s for the kids,” Theunisse said. “Our world is heating up.”
With worldwide demand at 700 million, that’s a lot of unrecyclable PVC being put into the market each year.
The pressing machines are more expensive than traditional vinyl pressing machines, but Theunisse said with the reduced operating energy and increased output, the machines become profitable at around the 18-month mark.