CD Manufacturing Problem? Forensics

CD Forensics:

Today I got back a CD where the deposited film had literally peeled away from the clear plastic disk. I’ve never seen such a failure, and of course it makes the whole lot of 100 CDs suspect.

The brand is Sony, when I bend this returned disk, I find the film literally lifting away from the plastic on close to one half of the disk. On the other half, it appears to have bonded well.

As I bend and torture other disks from the same stack, I can initially find nothing wrong. I put one in the microwave for three seconds, and the deposited material blew apart evenly looking very much like a broken pane of safety glass, the remaining material still bonded well throughout the disk.

The intensely curious armature investigator is left to suspect contamination of the blank disk BEFORE the media surface was deposited, but certainly it’s only a guess.

My experience thus far (?10+ years?) is you should suspect¬†problems IF you find disks on sale at a large brick and mortar store that are >significantly< cheaper than the rest. The last bargain I found was not readily recognized by my drive on the first try. I found I could remove them from the drive and turn them 90 or so degrees and sooner or later the disk would be recognized, and then written to… but certainly it was best to toss them and get a good stack of disks. With the same drive the following stack of 100 disks were recognized immediately and written to the very first try, and I mean to say all 100 of them!

I’ve used friction on an adjacent area of the flawed disk, no luck in loosening the deposit, then I tried heat, not luck ūüôĀ

So how does one disk out of a stack of 100 have a flaw like this? If you have seen this problem or know of the problem… consider letting me know. Using Google, I just haven’t found a search string that nets me much info on CD manufacturing issues, it’s just like I was the only guy seeing what appears to be a problem.

Certainly.. I haven’t ruled out the possibility this disk was exposed to something after it left here, but I think that is most unlikely, as I have run out of ideas as to how I break this bond after manufacturing.

Update: 8/30/2011 As some would guess, I couldn’t leave¬†this problem alone and decided to continue bending, and even snapping in half more new CDs off that same package of 100 disks. Finally, I bent one and noted a wave of media film lifting from that plastic disk, and just like the first, it was loose on a portion of the disk, but well bonded on the other half of the disk.

With that note, I came up with the theory¬†that this disk came off a ‘Gang’¬†production line, and perhaps¬†every 6th or¬†8th disk is defective?¬† Of course the theory remains that there is some kind of contamination on the plastic disk, and when the film is deposited; it doesn’t bond properly to the contaminated area.

It causes me to reflect on other problems in production lines I’ve heard of…¬†sometimes a new worker decides to fix what he thinks is a problem with unapproved methods…¬†maybe a shot of WD40¬†on some disk handling mechanism? Who knows, but now it’s time to trash the whole pile of disks ūüôĀ

New add to this post 08/30/2011 13:30 Pacific Time

I decided to call Sony, maybe their QC folks would be interested. I was fairly impressed how quickly I was directed to the division who handled CDR concerns.

I was given a place in Texas to send the remainder of the CDRs, and I was instructed to include my receipt from purchase.  Reference # E51637622 was what I was given to include. they were purchased by my Daughter, and I failed to keep track of the receipt, likely in soe pile here somewhere, but how much effort will I put into finding it?

I was thinking how much I appreciated my customer bringing this to my attention. Just how many additional flaky disks might I have sent, and how many customers might I have disappointed?¬†I’m going to send them the rest of the disks and see what happens, perhaps they’ll send me replacements, or perhaps they’ll encourage me to buy another brand. I’ll post the results here. And yes.. I will send them the one you see at the top of the page.







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3 Responses to CD Manufacturing Problem? Forensics

  1. Phil P says:

    One out of a hundred is not much. Possible misuse or abuse by the end user? Was it left in the sunlight for a extended period of time? Something spilled on part of the disc? Flaw in manufacturing process?

    It seems odd that only part of the disc is not bonding well. I guess it can be referred to as the disc mystery.

  2. Butch says:

    Good gawd I hope the government doesnt find out about this George. They will require us to turn in our FRNs and have them put on CDs for “safe keeping” Hey maybe you could donate the rest of that stack to the EPA?


  3. Quinn says:


    This isn’t exactly what you’re describing, but it’s information, for what it’s worth:

    I record the audio each week from a large Bible study at my church onto CDs in a high-end CD recorder. I subsequently edit the audio and re-record onto a master CD to be used for duplication. The organization I volunteer for also has daily radio broadcasts which I edit and record onto CDs. So I go through a lot of CD-Rs.

    It’s surprising how frequently cheap media, especially the no-name Chinese imports, fail under those conditions when the same media works fine in data applications. I’m told by people whose judgment I trust that dedicated audio recorders are more finicky about media than are data recorders like the CD-R recorder in your PC. I know that doesn’t address the problem you describe, but quality is a continuum, and low-end media is more likely to have quality problems than the better stuff.

    I’ve ended up recording onto Philips or HP CD-Rs bought from Costco or Fry’s in spindles of 100 with only very rare failures. I’ve had a number of failures with Sony and the cheap Chinese imports I already mentioned. When you have only one shot at recording something, and God Himself is watching over your shoulder, the cost of the media isn’t that important. ;^)

    FWIW, the services in the main church that has a weekly attendance of up to 15,000 are recorded onto fancy German CDs that cost about $5.00 each. The pale hollow-eyed, sunken-cheeks professional audio geeks that handle that task say those NEVER fail.

    Haven’t seen a delamination problem like you mention, just failure to finish a recording, when the recorder counts too many errors and spits the disk out with a “Disk Failure” error message. Playing that disk back in a playback deck reveals lots of audio noise on the disk prior to the failure point.


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