The new plant will increase record-manufacturing capacity and bring 40-plus new jobs to Northern Virginia, with a commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
FAIRFAX, Va.—Furnace Record Pressing has opened a new 50,000- square-foot vinyl record pressing plant in Fairfax, Virginia, and is now manufacturing records there, company CEO Eric Astor told D2P in mid-January. The new plant will fill what the company said is a desperate industry need for more vinyl record production capacity while creating 40-plus new jobs in Northern Virginia, all while the company seeks to minimize the environmental impact of the new manufacturing facility. Furnace Record Pressing moved into the new plant on January 2, 2018.
“In 21 years of running Furnace, this has been the hardest but most rewarding thing we’ve ever accomplished,” said founder and CEO Eric Astor, in a company release. “We have an incredible staff who are passionate about vinyl, love our customers, and are always looking for better ways of doing everything. Their commitment is really what makes this company special and why I’m so confident this expansion will be successful.”
Work on the plant started years ago with a stable of old-school record pressing workhorses: ten automatic Toolex Alpha record presses that Furnace tracked down in Mexico. Furnace took the best machines of the past and dragged them into the future by adding all new electronics, chrome, paint, hoses, switches, valves, and modern-day logic controllers. The company also developed its own manually-run record presses to handle the increased demand for specialty color vinyl pressings and picture discs.
It’s not all old-school at the new facility, though. Furnace is also proud to support the creative and hard- working community of vinyl enthusiasts bringing new technology to the industry, and is teaming up with Viryl Technologies of Canada to feature two of Viryl’s state-of-the-art WarmTone pressing machines.
“Viryl Technologies couldn’t be more pleased to be working with Furnace in the building of their new pressing plant,” said Chad Brown, CEO of Viryl Technologies, in a statement. “The Furnace team has always been at the forefront of the industry and has a great reputation for high-quality audiophile standards. The inclusion of WarmTone machinery on their plant floor is a testament to their dedication in pushing the boundaries of vinyl manufacturing.”
All of this additional capacity gives Furnace an excellent opportunity to get back to its roots and better support the independent community from which it was conceived. “I come from the DIY punk scene, so it’s always been my mission to cater to independent artists and labels, many of which have been pushed to the back of the line with the current resurgence in demand for vinyl,” said Astor. “I’m excited that this expansion will allow us to do just that.”
With all this growth comes greater responsibility, and Furnace is dedicated to reducing its environmental impact that inevitably comes with large-scale manufacturing. In addition, Furnace is pledging five percent of the profits from its new factory to benefit charities that further this goal. “For us, music has always been a vehicle to push for social change, and we feel it’s our duty as manufacturers to tread lightly and pay it forward,” said Astor.
Furnace Record Pressing’s new plant will include 10 refurbished Toolex Alpha automatic record presses (8x 12 inches and 2x 7 inches), two Viryl WarmTone automatic 12-inch record presses, and four Furnace-designed semi-automatic 12-inch record presses. The facility also includes environmental touches, such as adaptive LED lighting, a closed-loop water chiller feeding the presses and HVAC system, and high-volume / low-speed fans that circulate conditioned air throughout.
The facility will also feature touchscreen logic controllers to track, change, and optimize press operations. It will have an annual capacity of 9 million units of 12-inch and 7-inch records with room for expansion, and will include a dedicated custom color-effect and picture disc capability. The plant is expected to create 40 new jobs.
Furnace Record Pressing (www.furnacemfg.com) was founded in 1996 by music industry veteran Eric Astor, who parlayed his years of label and distribution experience into a customer-centric manufacturing company that he describes as “mom-and-pop enough to cater to small independent artists and labels, yet refined enough to handle large company’s needs.”