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Abercarn manufacturer Dischromatics hits four million disc milestone

Published in News at 13:00, Thursday August 16th, 2012.


An Abercarn manufacturer which specialises in CD, DVD and Blu-ray duplication has produced its four millionth Compact Disc.

Family-owned firm Dischromatics, based on Abercarn Industrial Estate, recently passed the landmark figure with an order from a company in Malta

If stacked vertically, the tower of four million CDs would stretch three miles into the sky and be almost six times as high as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – the world’s tallest building.

Gareth Spencer, managing director of Dischromatics, said: “It’s amazing to think that we have produced four million pre-recorded CDs since 2003.

“The total number of discs produced – if you include blank ones – is closer to five million.

“The types of CDs we produce can be computer data discs or music CDs for local bands and record labels.”

The company’s work has even strayed into the glamorous world of Formula 1 Grand Prix racing with an order for the Lotus GP team earlier this year.

New York-based record company MBM, part of Universal Music, was commissioned by the F1 team to produce a CD of rock tracks for the Australian Grand Prix.

Knowing the tight turnaround time of the order, the American company turned to Dischromatics to get the CD – complete with F1 artwork – manufactured and printed.

Gareth and his team worked around the clock to successfully meet the strict deadline.

And it was from F1 to Grand Slam as company staff had to pull another all-nighter to complete an order for a WRU charity record.

‘The Voice of the Nation’ – produced by Music Wales – was on the shelves of Tesco just 14 hours from receipt of the master after Wales secured the 2012 Grand Slam. The 10,000 CDs included the chorus of Cwm Rhondda sung by Paul Childs accompanied by the fans during half-time at Wales’ final Six Nations match against France.

The fast-moving worlds of Formula 1 and international rugby union are all a far cry from when Dischromatics was first established in 1989 by Gareth’s father Stewart Spencer.

Dischromatics chairman Stewart Spencer with sons Gareth and Alex

Dischromatics chairman Stewart Spencer with sons Gareth and Alex

Head-hunted to South Wales to work at the now defunct Parrot Corporation in Cwmbran, Stewart moved the family from Cambridgeshire. Disaster almost ensued when Parrot folded and Stewart was made redundant, but salvation came when he founded Dischromatics with a business partner.

The company was set up in 1989 and specialised in old floppy computer discs. At the time, Dischromatics was the only company in the world with the ability to print and perfect the UV drying process using on 5.25in floppy discs – which meant discs could be printed up to photographic quality without smudging.

From there the company moved onto the smaller 3.5in floppy computer discs – today a rare sight – and eventually on to CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. In 2003, Sony DADC, the largest manufacturer of CD, DVD and Blu-ray Replication in Europe approached the company to form a UK partner agreement. Since that time the partnership has blossomed and Dischromatics is now the only Welsh based company working with Sony DADC.

The company also specialises in graphic design and digital printing, producing leaflets, flyers and brochures for a diverse range of public and private sector organisations. An exciting new development is the production of company Showreels for its customers. Dischromatics has recently concluded the filming, editing and final production of its own Showreel which is on display on the website.

Gareth who is fluent in French having lived in France for two years following graduation from Cardiff University in French and Economics joined the company in 2004 and moved into the managing director’s position in 2006 with Stewart moving on as chairman.

The process and decision of handing over the company to his son was a simple one, according to Stewart.

He said: “If you’re going to make fundamental changes, you have to be committed. It was therefore important that Gareth took that role on with me no longer on the scene – otherwise staff would continue to report to me.

“We still work together of course, that’s the main thing. We converse every day and I still go to various meetings. I like to be involved and if Gareth and his young management team can convince me a change has a good business case, which most often they do, then there’s no problem.”

With Gareth’s younger brother Alex working in sales for the company, it’s certainly a family affair, but what’s it like working with close relatives?

Gareth answered: “It’s usually fun, but there are flash points as there are with any business and we do have our moments, but we always conclude with a consensus view to the benefit of ourselves and the company. We are a close family and we get on very well which allows us to have open discussions without any fear of protracted problems sometimes in evidence in other environments”.

“We are lucky with the amount of time we get to spend together and we trust each other with the decisions we make.

“Although Dad lets me make all the important decisions, I do ask him for advice every now and then.”


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