More than 500 jobs could be created in Peterborough by Photocentric’s UK Centre of Excellence

Hundreds of jobs are to be created with the construction of a UK Centre of Excellence for cutting edge 3D printing in Peterborough.

By Paul Grinnell
Friday, 13th March 2020, 12:11 pm
The production process at Photocentric.
The production process at Photocentric.

The 60,000 square foot state-of-the-art centre will be built by double Queen’s Award winning 3D printer and resin manufacturer Photocentric.

The ambitious venture has been backed by the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which has pledged funding support of £1.8 million.

The total cost of the project has not been disclosed and a decision has still to be made on a site with three locations under consideration.

Paul Holt, managing director at Photocentric.

Paul Holt, managing director of Photocentric, said that once completed, the company’s current operations in Oxney Road and its 145 staff will move to the centre in the summer 2021.

The centre will create an extra 210 jobs plus 360 jobs during construction.

Mr Holt said: “With this investment, our staff numbers will be increased by a total of 210 new recruits, all related to 3D printing, mainly chemists and electronics, software and design engineers.

“We expect to increase new recruits every year after that as we expand the possibilities of this technology into the world.

The production process at Photocentric.

“We are in the final stages of agreeing terms for construction on one of three possible sites, all within the industrial heartland of Peterborough. We are fortunate enough to be able to employ 145 excellent committed employees and bring them into Fengate every day, consequently we will not require them to move more than a handful of miles to the new building.”

The 3D Printing Centre of Excellence will be unique in the UK as it will house research, manufacturing and training in a single facility.

Mr Holt said: “The centre will enable the invention and exploitation of new additive manufacturing techniques that will create new ways to make plastic, ceramic and metal items.

“These will be more environmentally friendly and lower in cost as no tooling is needed.

“The freedom that making an item without the restrictions of removing it from a mould also enables new lighter structures that can perform better, to be designed.

Photocentric exports about 75 per cent of its turnover, a figure that is continually increasing.

Mr Holt said: “Most of the new printers and resins created here will be exported, right across the world.”

The flagship centre will also have links to the new Univerity of Peterborough which counts Photocentric as a central partner.

Mr Holt said: “We work with numerous universities both here and across the world in cutting edge research, all with 3D printing at its centre.

“Our intention in Peterborough is to be core to the curriculum, providing open access for the students to learn the latest disruptive processes.

“The students can understand the industrial applications and then see how the evolving technology can revolutionise them.

“The academic fields we will be providing access to are 3D printing, engineering, electronics, software and chemistry.

“We are linking up with the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry to develop the UK’s first 3D printing apprenticeship scheme, which starts next year in addition to being part of the existing apprenticeship schemes.”

A spokesperson for the Combined Authority said: “We are putting forward £1.8 million of resource through the Local Growth Fund to support the establishment of a UK Centre for 3D Printing in Peterborough. 
“This groundbreaking initiative will create employment opportunities in the advanced manufacturing sector, helping to boost the local economy of Peterborough and spread prosperity throughout the region.”
Councillor John Holdich, the leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “I showed the Mayor of the Combined Authority around the company, which designs and manufactures 3D printers and resins, and we were both impressed at the level of expertise on show and the innovation taking place in our city.”