Vinyl presses on last leg? Pressing limitations st

I read an interesting article in the German magazine, Stereo, about the demise of the manufacturing pressing capabilities of the vinyl pressing plants. According to the article, many plants are scrounging to find replacement parts, particularly, Neumann cutting heads and transcribers, and are using other non-repairable press machines as donors to maintain pressing capabilities of the ones they can. This is transpiring during the resurgence of vinyl as the major labels and studios are finally recognizing the value of selling music on vinyl providing another source venue to gain income. The Stereo article also states that plants cannot exist forever without new replacement parts, or a newer plant being built, which both cost money. Money no one wants to throw around because of the costs. So, it is estimated that the plants will start to show signs of critical cutting and pressing weaknesses in addition to wear and tear in the next 5 years.

The Stereo magazine mentions that only 4 experts exist in the world that know how to fix and rebuild Neumann cutting heads, Al Gundy (USA), Dr. Gotz Corinth (Mainz), Flo Kaufmann (Firm Vinilium, Switzerland) and Roberto Barbolini (Italy). Each one of these experts is held in high regard and is equivalent to someone knowing how to rebuild a very fine mechanical watch from years gone by.

Two managers of pressing plants, one in California, RTI, (Hermmann Hoffmann) and the other in Germany, Pallast, (Holger Neumann), stated their concerns about the presses and cutting heads. Pallast can fix about 90% of their stuff today and estimate that in 4-6 years things will be critical without new machines and then they might have to close down some presses. RTI, responsible for Org, Mobile Fidelity and Classic Records (interesting, since herr Jacobs sold Classic), has also predicted that a day will come that they will not be able to fix the problems and shut down the presses. One thing is for sure, pressing and cutting defects will be higher as the machines are run into oblivion without external help. Are the defects we are seeing today the signs of these issues?

Please tell me to go back in my vinyl cave and not worry bout this. I looked forward to retiring and still buying brand new reissues.

I hope someone steps in to ensure that this is not the case in the not to distant future.

I better buy all the old vinyl I can now; thanks for the heads up!
I have found that my new re-issues are not as quiet as older LPs in good condition. It's sad to think that quality will only go down from here unless real investments are made on the production side. I'm cleaning old LPs that I buy used.
How ironic is it that this comes only a day or so after a thread mostly trashing the retail cost of new vinyl? The law of supply and demand may kill vinyl yet.
Just last week we have people complaining about the high cost of new vinyl. Do not worry about the plants and equipment, the green crowd is working to actually ban the vinyl itself, so problem solved.
The sky has been falling for about 35 years. This chicken ain't buyin' into it.
I am not buying into it either. It seems as if the Stereo article I referenced was more apocolyptic and worst case scenario than anything else. I certainly hope that the vinyl industry is able to continue to thrive in the future despite the foreboding article. Anyway, I thought it would be great to share what some of the German only audio magazines are saying about vinyl. They do agree that we are in a awakening period of vinyl again, but for how long?

2.5 million LPs sold in 2009 - w00t! That should be enough to buy spare parts to feed the analog revolution...
The Neumann isn't the only cutter out there by any means. There are a lot of Westerex 3D units, and if you know history, these are the ones that did the old RCAs and Mercuries. The Westerex still has good support.

The real problem is the laquers. That is 90% of the noise and pressing defects you run into.

At some point someone is going to have to sit down with a Bridgeport lathe, and make some of the parts these people are whining about. It won't be any big deal, but it will likely increase the cost of the parts unless someone figures out that its easier to make 100 parts than it is for one. You see stuff like this in the automotive and motorbike worlds all the time. Nothing to worry about, that's for sure...
If no one buys new issues, THEN the industry that makes them will die. If sales are vigorous, the finances will be allocated to repair existing machines and/or build new ones. I think it's as simple as that. So stop yer bitchin' and git out there and buy those $50-a-pop 45-rpm re-issues.

True if sales are vigorous nothing to be concerned about..