Leading storage media manufacturer Sonopress has developed a revolutionary new form of long-playing record that dramatically reduces the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. Neither natural gas nor steam are needed to press the discs, and in test operations the energy savings were up to 85% compared to the conventional process. For the production of the novel "EcoRecord" LP, recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is used as the base material instead of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can also be 100% recycled PET from SK Chemicals. This allows a significant reduction in carbon emissions - while ensuring the same physical properties and safety as existing PET.
Sonopress and SK Chemicals are thus actively leading the way in reducing carbon emissions by closely cooperating in the production of music long-playing records made from 100% recycled materials. SK Chemicals announced that it has used 100% of its recycled PET (CR-PET) for Sonopress' new EcoRecord long-playing records.
The term CR refers to “Circular Recycling” or "Chemical Recycling" technology, which enables infinite reuse by breaking down plastic waste to the molecular level and reprocessing it back into raw materials. Compared to "mechanical recycling," in which plastic waste is cleaned or shredded for reuse (in flake form), it has the advantage of maintaining high-value physical properties and safety.
Sonopress' EcoRecords, which can be made of 100% recycled PET-CR, was jointly developed by SK Chemicals and its long-term strategic international Distribution Partner Biesterfeld Plastic, after signing a memorandum of understanding with Sonopress.
By using PET-CR in Sonopress' EcoRecord music records, greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced compared to the previous petroleum-based PET, which meets the needs of consumers who prefer environmentally friendly products. Accordingly, Sonopress plans to expand the use of SK Chemicals' PET-CR to other product groups, starting with this mass-produced packaging.
In addition to Sonopress applications, SK Chemicals is using the CR material for Jeju Samdasoo's RE:Born and has launched the "6℃ Eco Toothbrush" with recycled materials in collaboration with KNK, a company specializing in toothbrushes. The company is also expanding the scope of recycled materials by launching textiles made of recycled materials developed in collaboration with environmentally friendly social enterprises such as "Art Impact" and "Project 1907."
Eung-soo Kim, Executive Vice President and Head of SK Chemicals' Green Material Business, said, "In March, we acquired assets related to the recyclable recycled PET raw materials business in Shuye, China, and established SK Shantou to lay the foundation for a stable supply of recycled plastic raw materials." He added, "Based on this, SK Chemicals plans to expand its recyclable recycled product groups to various industrial materials in the future."
Sven Deutschmann, CEO of Sonopress, explained, "The test series were so encouraging that we have given the green light for extensive investment in the construction of an initial pilot line in the twelve-inch LP format. Life cycle analyses have shown that we can significantly reduce emissions of climate-damaging CO2 with our new process." He adds. "The cooperation with SK Chemicals and Biesterfeld has brought us a decisive step forward in development, and we are now preparing to expand our production capacity."
Daniel Fischer, Product Manager at Biesterfeld commented, „We are very proud, that we could assist Sonopress on behalf of SK, introducing PET-CR for their „EcoRecord“ LP and bring in our technical expertise to meet the complex technical requirements without compromising on the high quality sound, and in addition support Sonopress setting a new standard for a more environmental friendly LP.“ EcoRecord-LP is produced on a new injection molding machine with a contact pressure of up to 300 tons. Together with other necessary special molds and additional equipment, also developed entirely by Sonopress, the production line was completed in just a few months. It uses the same injection molding process that has been used for decades to produce LaserDiscs, CDs, DVDs and other digital storage media.
The development of EcoRecord demonstrates once again that Sonopress is one of the most innovative suppliers in the replication industry. The company's experts, who also developed the replication technology for high-definition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in Gütersloh, have spent the past two years working intensively on novel production methods for records and on the use of alternative materials.
The launch of EcoRecord comes at a time when the global vinyl market continues to grow. According to the IFPI, sales increased by 17.1% in 2022, the third consecutive year of double-digit growth.
About SK Chemicals
SK Chemicals is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chemical and life science products. The South Korean company’s Green Chemicals business focuses particularly on the development and production of biocopolyesters, copolyesters and polyethylene terephthalates (PET), as well as engineering plastics. The Life Science business unit focuses on the production and marketing of medicines. Through continuous innovations that meet the world’s highest technological standards, SK Chemicals is known as a market-leading supplier of environmentally friendly materials and holistic medical products.
About Biesterfeld Plastic
Biesterfeld Plastic GmbH is a leading international distributor for the plastics industry. Global polymer producers such as SK Chemicals, Celanese, DuPont, ExxonMobil, INEOS, BASF, Solvay, CHIMEI, Idemitsu, LX MMA and LG Chem rely on the long-standing partnership with Biesterfeld Plastic and have been growing side by side with the company for many decades. With its locally based sales teams and technical engineers, the distributor advises its customers from a wide range of segments. The company makes independent material recommendations, advises on product development, process optimisation and offers customised commercial and logistical solutions. Biesterfeld Plastic is a division of the Biesterfeld Group, one of the world's leading distribution and service companies in the field of plastics, rubber and specialty chemicals. Founded in 1906 in Hamburg, Germany, today the group has more than 1000 employees across 50 locations in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa and generates an annual revenue of 1.66 billion EUR (FY 2022). The fully family-owned company operates in the business divisions Biesterfeld Plastic, Biesterfeld Spezialchemie and Biesterfeld Performance Rubber.