Timeline - Photocentric3D
Photocentric´s history, since 2002 till now. Changing the way the world manufactures
Photo centric history, timeline
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Jan 2002

Paul Holt forms Photocentric Ltd after his repeated attempts to get employment as the Managing Director of someone else’s company fail. The idea behind the company is to commercialise a patent he had earlier written 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, but not many people in the world know or care about it.  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 it slowly gains sales with business stamp makers in the UK.

Jan 2003

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.

Apr 2004

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.

Jun 2004

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.

Oct 2004

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.

Jan 2005 

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.

Jul 2005 

Launch A8 size, now we make imagepac and imagepac xtra in all sizes up to A3.

Jun 2006

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.

Aug 2006

Filed patent on daylight activated photopolymer.

Aug 2007

Made imagebox on an automated production line in China.

Oct 2008

Start selling flexographic photopolymer.

Nov 2008

Filed patent on a new method of photopolymer packaging enabling pre-packaged product to be used for flexographic printing.

Nov 2008

Made a  massive 14 x A4 exposure unit called imagebox 10

Dec 2008

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.

Jan 2009

Export sales exceed 65% of total sales for the first time.

Feb 2009

Invented Stampmaker, the lowest cost and fastest stamp making machine ever sold, we have now sold 30,000 of these machines.

Jun 2009 

We exhibit at shows around the world. We partner with the craft celebrity Theresa Collins in selling our Stampmaker kits.

Mar 2009

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!

Aug 2009

Purchased a new 6,000 sqft building in Peterborough.

Jan 2010

We design and manufacture the first automatic inline stamp processing machine ever, which we call Costa. It processes imagepac on a large rotary cycle.

May 2011

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.

Apr 2014

Awarded UK Govt Innovate grant to develop a novel type of 3D printer based on daylight photopolymer.

May 2015

File our first 3D printing patent.

Nov 2015

We buy a 35,0000 sqft facility in Peterborough.

Jan 2016

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.

Apr 2016

Awarded The Queen’s Award for Innovation for imagepac.

Jun 2016

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.

Jan 2017

Launch the LCHR 3D printer. This is an upgraded version of the LC10 in every respect (price included!).

April 2017

Photocentric won awards for Innovation and R&D at the SME awards in Huntingdon. Also recieved the overall best business award for Cambridgeshire – the Winner’s award!

May 2017

Photcentric 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.