We intend to change 3D printing for the better by providing parts that can actually be used industrially. This means made in scale, made at industrially acceptable prices and delivering durable properties. Our aim is to provide a disruptive alternative method of manufacture for plastic, ceramic and metal parts. We don’t aim to compete with existing 3D Printing companies, but to provide alternatives to conventional methods of manufacture.
Innovation is in our DNA. We have always believed that there is a better way to make products. From right back in 2002 when we started the business, we believed that we could make a disruptive product to improve the manufacture of stamps. That product was imagepac, and over the years we optimised it to become the most efficient way to make craft and business stamps. Today we focus our innovation in numerous areas of photopolymerisation in the field of 3D Printing.
We are the world leaders in visible light photopolymerisation. The years of research we have undertaken have created a large portfolio of different photocurable resins. Today we are researching into Chlorophyll and other visible light photoinitiators and all types of polymers and their applications.
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Award winning imagepac
As the originator of using LCD screens in 3D printing, we are firm believers that the technology will transform areas of manufacturing, not just 3D printing. We will only ever make LCD based printers. Their radical advantages over existing light polymerisation methods are just starting to be seen in a variety of applications.
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We have over 20 scientists now involved in research in a vibrant open planned research floor where chemists mingle with engineers. Here, we create an environment where new ideas can thrive and become radically different products, as we develop the 3D printers of tomorrow.
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We have an open policy towards research that widens the technology for all participants. Research with Universities is critical to the development of the science surrounding visible light polymerisation from LCD screens in 3D printing. We are currently in partnership with 16 Universities.
Active research projects
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Happy working environment
We employ people from around the world, taking on men, women and different nationalities equally and without favouritism. We put effort into creating a happy working environment where everyone is treated with respect.
We design our own exposure units to make stamps using imagepac and call it imagebox 1. It’s our first experience with the design and engineering of a machine.
Photocentric Ltd is formed in the summer of 2002 in a small room in Peterborough with no windows. The idea behind the company was to commercialise a patent on pre-packaging photopolymer to make stamp-making easier. A few months later the first imagepac packs of photopolymer are made- they leak badly and don’t make very good stamps, but they are at least simpler to use! It is the world’s first pre-packaged photopolymer printing plate. We make imagepac by folding plastic over on itself, sealing the edges, filling it with photopolymer, rolling the air bubbles out with a rolling pin and sealing the top- all by hand. It is a slow process and difficult to maintain quality, but we slowly improve it, ironing out problems and it steadily gains sales with UK business stamp makers.
We make a more sophisticated version of imagepac, which we call imagepac xtra. It has an integrated backing sheet in the pack. It is harder to manufacture and we don’t get it right, leaks and quality complaints increase.
We naturally sell overseas as the domestic market for our products is so small. Export sales grew to overtake UK sales for the first time.
We are a finalist in the HSBC Start-Up Stars competition- but annoyingly dont win it! We finally automate, design and make our first automatic filling and sealing machine. Quality slowly improves as we start to solve the leaking problem.
Filed patent on world’s first daylight activated photopolymer. We had commercialised the concept into a home stamp making product for craft, which we called imagepac daylight. It uses the light from a desk lamp, combined with a negative printed on a home printer to make a printing plate. It is the first application of daylight cured photopolymer, other than for dental fillings, in the world. It works well, as long as you don’t use it in front of a window as it was very sensitive to visible light! We sell a few thousand kits but eventually pull it from the market as using UV is just more reliable. However, many years later this novel chemistry will be the inspiration behind our 3D printing business. We have always had good reason to cherish our failures.
Launch A8 size, now we make imagepac and imagepac xtra in all sizes up to A3.
Filed patent on digital exposure of daylight activated photopolymer. Aimed at making flexographic printing plates using digital exposure from an LCD screen. It produces a poor image and never works properly, we never commercialise it, but elements of the work subsequently become the basis of our Daylight Polymer Printing 3D printer.
Filed patent on daylight activated photopolymer.
Made imagebox on an automated production line in China.
Filed patent on a new method of photopolymer packaging enabling pre-packaged product to be used for flexographic printing.
Start selling flexographic photopolymer.
Made a massive 14 x A4 exposure unit called imagebox 10
Production of A4 stamp sheets exceeds 1000 x A4 sheets per shift for the first time in the UK. We become the largest clear stamp manufacturer in Europe.
Export sales exceed 65% of total sales for the first time.
Invented Stampmaker, the lowest cost and fastest stamp making machine ever sold, we have now sold 30,000 of these machines.
We exhibit at shows around the world. We partner with the craft celebrity Theresa Collins in selling our Stampmaker kits.
We are now making imagepac and stamps automatically, in larger and larger numbers and when stamp makers change over to them, they don’t change back!
Purchased a new 6,000 sqft building in Peterborough.
We design and manufacture the first automatic inline stamp processing machine ever, which we call Costa. It processes imagepac on a large rotary cycle.
Start Photocentric Inc in Arizona to sell our craft products. After trying and failing at selling a lot of the products that we make in the UK, we end up starting to make stamps there and stop doing everything else. Finally, it is successful. After many revisions to Costa, we get it working and send it to Phoenix where stamp production now exceeds the UK.
Awarded UK Govt Innovate grant to develop a novel type of 3D printer based on daylight photopolymer
We buy a 35,0000 sqft facility in Peterborough.
File our first 3D printing patent.
Launch the Liquid Crystal 10, the world’s first daylight hardening 3D printer. We invest heavily in Research and Development in 3D Printing, employing a total of 13 PhD chemists, engineers and scientists.
Awarded The Queen’s Award for Innovation for imagepac.
We move into a new 24,000 sqft building in Phoenix. We design and manufacture Costa II the largest automatic stamp processing machine in the world. It is a massive 120 ft long and processes over 2400 x A4 in a single shift.
Launch the LCHR 3D printer. This is an upgraded version of the LC10 in every respect (price included!).
We win awards for Innovation and R&D at the SME awards in Huntingdon. Also received the overall best business award for Cambridgeshire – the Winner’s award!
We are awarded with two UK Government Innovate Grants. Winner of Enabling Functional Additive Manufacturing with Novel Large Format Printer to develop our Liquid Crystal Colossus 3D Printer and awarded £681,487 for this project. The second grant being £75,000 for Optimisation of design of novel metal and ceramic 3D printer.
We are the recipient of 6 Innovate grants- one for £500,000 to create Colossus the largest 3D printer ever made.
Launch of the LC Precision printer; Our highest resolution printer ever. Developed for jewellery, dental and model making.
Photocentric team with 3DGBIRE; well-known Ultimaker distributor for Great Britain and Ireland. The partnership sees 3DGBIRE as the official, exclusive UK distributor of the Photocentric Liquid Crystal range of printers and resins.
We are selected as a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion of 2018. CommonwealthFirst is an initiative by the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council, the business arm of the Commonwealth, to encourage SME’s to trade and invest pilot in Commonwealth markets.
Awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2018. Award given in recognition of our 3-year growth in overseas sales success.
Launch of new LC Precision 1.5 and LC HR2 printers at leading additive manufacturing event, Rapid 2018, Texas, USA.
LC Precision is shortlisted for the Personal Printer of the Year award in the renowned 3D Printing Industry Awards of 2018.
We scoop up the Manufacturing Innovation Award at the Insider Media, Made in the Central & East England Awards.
Launch of new Photocentric Studio software; a life-time, user-friendly 3D software slicer for LC users.