Photocentric’s core expertise is manufacturing photopolymer, packaging it in imagepac and using this to make beautiful clear stamps. We are world leaders in this and are the largest manufacturer of clear stamps in Europe. Our high quality clear photopolymer stamps are manufactured using our awarded winning patented clear photopolymer called imagepac. With manufacturing sites in Peterborough, UK and Phoenix, USA we manufacture small runs of 20 A4 sheets or equivalent and large production runs.
We have invested in stamp manufacturing machinery to achieve the highest quality and reliability in this custom-made product. Costa II is our latest machine that processes stamps automatically. It’s a massive in-line processor for A3 sized,clear imagepac sachets, all carrying your custom stamp designs inside. All the sections of the machine have been designed by us to achieve optimum stamp performance in a controlled environment ensuring you get the highest quality possible, every time. Costa II is the only automated stamp producing line in the world and is operational in our Arizona facility and a second is soon to be installed in Peterborough. If you are interested you can visit and see it in operation.
Advantages of clear stamps manufactured by imagepac
Plate relief: We make stamps in what we consider is the optimised deep thickness, 3.2mm (125”). This gives the stamper deep plate relief whilst still holding all the fine detail required. High Grade Photopolymer: All imagepac stamps are made from high grade photopolymer resin; not silicone, acrylic or rubber. Crystal clear: High clarity, shiny stamps. Transparent for easy inking and positioning of stamped image. Stamps have a naturally sticky back and peel off individually from the sheet making them easy to mount to an acrylic block for stamping. They are simple to align, use & re use. Resists yellowing: exceptionally clear stamps that will resist yellowing even if they are left in sunlight. We do not advise storage in sunlight however as prolonged exposure to UV will weaken stamps. Tear resistant: imagepac stamps are tough and can be stretched and will relax back to their original shape. Naturally sticky back: imagepac stamps have an excellent back adhesion, allowing repositioning many times on an acrylic block. Storage on plastic keeps the stamp back sticky. If they lose stickiness, just wash in soap and water. Excellent imaging: All of our clear stamps are made using our patented process using imagepac. It ensures a high definition inked image-every time. Ink compatibility: imagepac stamps are designed to work excellently with all water based inks which account for over 90% of all stamp ink use. They will work with oil and solvent inks, but prolonged use damages the stamp. Health and safety: Cured photopolymer stamps carry no health risk, but we have not tested for FDA compliance or food compatibility. They contain no latex, phthalates, melamine, carcinogens or toxic or harmful compounds.
All Stamps are supplied with a black printed acetate sheet showing the design. Colour acetates are also available. We offer a variety of packing options including a full packing option which consists of a hanging bag and printed four colour insert card allowing you to concentrate on selling your amazing designs!
Polymer in comparison to acrylic stamps
There are broadly three types of stamp, the opaque red or grey ones made from vulcanized rubber, the clear photopolymer ones made in America or England and the clear ones made in Taiwan and China. Rubber stamps are pressed at high temperature out of a mould and generally mounted to a cushioned wooden block. Photopolymer has been used for around 50 years now, and was developed to offer better properties than rubber for printing. Today it is widely used around the world to produce flexographic printing plates. It has good Health and Safety, there are no health issues with well-made photopolymer stamps. The Chinese/Taiwanese stamps are made from a wide variety of materials, often in small labour-intensive manufacturing units. They use a variety of products such as thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), silicones and polyurethanes (PU), in general they are called ‘acrylic stamps’. You can tell them as usually have a blueish colour (from the addition of UV brighteners). They are all made from a mould, so there is a high initial outlay.
Photopolymer can deliver the best possible image (if made with a good negative and a good exposure unit set with optimized times). Acrylic stamps are usually less detailed, simpler images as they are moulded. Sometimes people have problems inking them, as the surface is often water-repellent, in which case the surface can be sanded to make it more ink-receptive.
Photopolymer stamps naturally have a sticky back whereas with acrylic stamps the adhesion to the backing plastic is often weak. Even if it is strong initially it will be weak after it is removed from the sheet.
Health and safety
Photopolymer stamps have an excellent health and safety record, they are non-toxic and have no known health issues. Our stamps are not tested for food approval. Chinese stamps have a wide variety of possible health and safety issues depending upon the method of manufacture and the factory, but they can contain phthalates which are used as plasticisers both of which are potential carcinogens.