Who we are
Innovators in photopolymer
Since 2002 Photocentric have been at the cutting edge of innovation in Photopolymer, manufacturing a wide variety of materials that harden in light. Patent holders in visible light curing technologies, over the last 20 years we have supported (and innovated) a broad range of applications. Whilst many have followed, we remain at the forefront of innovation, delivering a new vision of manufacturing free from the constraints of tooling.
Our core expertise
Applying our understanding of UV photopolymerisation to the visible part of the spectrum unlocked the power of the LCD screen in 3D printing. We have become the world leaders in LCD 3D printing.
We are the world’s largest and most trusted manufacturer of crystal clear polymer craft stamps. We make millions of crystal clear beautifully detailed craft stamps, all made using imagepac.
Where it all began. In 2002 we patented a unique concept, our imagepac photopolymer package. Since then we have continuously improved the printing process.
Over 30 scientists, engineers and chemists work to create new materials and hardware that will become the 3D printed applications of tomorrow.
- We welcomed HRH, The Princess Royal to our headquarters in recognition of our innovation and 3 Queen’s Awards.
- We moved into a new 51,000 sqft building in Avondale, AZ.
- We launched the LC Opus our first UV 3D Printer.
This year sees the culmination of our PPE response to the COVID pandemic when we manufactured 1 million items of PPE a month, 50,000 items per day, proving that it was possible to use 3D printing to manufacture items at scale.
- We recieve our 3rd Queen’s Award for Innovation
- We are awarded a UK Faraday grant to develop novel 3D printed solid state batteries and is awarded a TDAP grant to accelerate our novel printing process for printing lithium ion batteries
- We are awarded a £1.875m grant from the Combined Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Authorities to contribute to the construction of a new 45,000 sqft 3D printing Centre of Excellence in Peterborough.
- We create a separate business, Photocentric 3D Inc to serve the 3D printing market in America with dedicated staff.
- Liquid Crystal Magna, Dental and Pro are all listed in Aniwaa’s best large volume 3D resin printers
- We partner with BASF and start the journey together to enable custom mass manufacture by offering functional materials with fully costed pricing models.
- The Liquid Crystal Precision 1.5 is listed in Aniwaa’s best resin 3D printers and wins ‘Best Personal Printer of the Year’ at the 3D Printing Industry Awards
- We launch our largest printer to date, the Liquid Crystal Magna.
- After nearly two years development we create dense alumina, silica and stainless steel parts for the first time using our Liquid Crystal Ceramic printer.
- We now employ over 30 research scientists working in 3D printing.
- We recieve our 2nd Queen’s Award for International Trade in recognition of our substantial 3-year growth in overseas sales
- We launch our new Liquid Crystal Precision 1.5 and Liquid Crystal HR 2 3D printers at Rapid 2018 in Texas
- We win the Manufacturing Innovation Award at Made in the Central & East England Awards
- We are selected as a Commonwealth First Export Champion
- We launch the Liquid Crystal Precision printer, our highest resolution printer yet, using a 5.5” LCD screen
- We are awarded a UK Innovate grant to create Colossus the largest LCD 3D printer ever made, equipped with a 75” screen.
- We win awards for Innovation, R&D and the overall best business award
- We launch the Liquid Crystal HR 3D printer, an upgraded version of the Liquid Crystal 10 in every respect. The 3D printer market starts to look at LCD screens seriously.
- We are awarded The Queen’s Award for Innovation for our imagepac product
- We move into a new 24,000 sqft building in Phoenix, AZ
- We design and manufacture Costa 2 in America, the largest automatic stamp processing machine in the world. It is 120 ft long and processes over 70,000 stamps in a single shift.
- We begin manufacturing custom stencils and ephemera.
- We launch our Liquid Crystal 10 3D printer, the world’s first daylight hardening 3D printer, at TCT, UK
- We are the first company in the world to sell a 3D printer using an LCD screen as its image source. Most experts from the 3D printing industry question the validity of using screens
- We have a vision of where it can lead and start to invest heavily in R&D with a total of 13 scientists now working in 3D printing.
- We purchase and move into a 35,000 sqft facility in Peterborough. At first, it seems that we have lots of room, but as we begin our journey into 3D printing the space fills up fast! We file our first 3D printing patent on using LCD screens.
- Photocentric is awarded a UK Govt Innovate grant to develop a novel type of 3D printer based exposing daylight photopolymer using LCD screens.
- We use our knowledge created from our first daylight activated stampmaker resins to make it work with LCD screens.
- Over 70% of our turnover is now derived from our first patented product, imagepac.
- We sell imagepac to users to make office stamps and use it ourselves to make millions of crystal-clear stamps.
- Three years after forming, Photocentric Inc now makes more stamps than Photocentric Ltd.
- Craft is now our core market and we become expert in handling custom designs automatically and efficiently.
- We are now exporting over 70% of our turnover.
- We open Photocentric Inc in Arizona to better supply the largest craft market in the world with domestically manufactured product.
- We design and manufacture the first automatic inline stamp processing machine, called Costa 1. It processes imagepac sachets on a large rotary cycle, faster and more efficiently than ever before. This automation is unique in liquid polymer processing in the word.
- Purchase and move into new 6,000 sqft building in Peterborough. We are now making imagepac and processing stamps automatically in larger quantities.
- We invent Stampmaker, the lowest cost and fastest stamp making machine ever sold, sales of this highly effective machine have now exceeded 35,000.
- Production of stamps hits new record and we become the largest clear stamp manufacturer in Europe, helped by our development of our largest to date exposure unit, imagebox 10.
- Start selling our photopolymer to make flexographic printing plates to print on corrugated.
- File patent on pre-packaged photopolymer for flexographic printing.
- We file patent on the digital exposure of daylight activated photopolymer using LCD screens.
- We make flexographic and lithographic plates using LCD screens.
- What we learn goes on to become the basis of our daylight photopolymer for 3D printing.
- File patent on world’s first daylight activated photopolymer.
- We commercialise the concept as a home stamp making product for craft, imagepac daylight using 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.
- Many years later this novel daylight chemistry will be the inspiration behind our 3D printing business.
- We launch A8 size, now offering imagepac and imagepac xtra sachets in all sizes up to A3.
- We are a finalist in the HSBC Start-Up Stars competition.
- We automate the manufacture of imagepac by designing our first automatic filling and sealing machine.
- We make a more sophisticated version of imagepac, which we call imagepac xtra. It has an integrated backing sheet (substrate) in the pack. It is harder to manufacture, but soon we learn how to automate the construction of this multi-layered package. Quality and reliability improve as we overcome initial sealing challenges and sales grow both at home and overseas.
- We design our own exposure unit to make stamps using imagepac sachets and call it imagebox 1. It’s our first experience with the design and engineering of a machine. We react our first photopolymers.
- Photocentric Ltd is formed in the summer of 2002 by Paul Holt in a small room in Peterborough. The idea behind the company is to commercialise a patent on pre-packaging photopolymer resin to make the process of making stamps easier and faster.
- A few months later the first imagepac packs of photopolymer are made – they are not perfect, but are at least simple to use! It is the world’s first pre-packaged photopolymer printing plate.
- At first, 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.
- We gradually improve it and steadily gain sales with UK business stamp makers, then after exhibiting at Paperworld in Frankfurt, Germany, interest grows quickly from around the world.
Our core values
We believe there is always a better way of making everything.
We treat everyone; staff, customers and suppliers with the same respect and honesty.
We offer the best possible value to our customers.
Educate and we all benefit.