Peterborough's Shoplight celebrates 10th anniversary with opening of 3D printing and production hub

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Ambitious sustainable production target

​A Peterborough company has celebrated its 10th anniversary with the opening of a state-of-the-art manufacturing centre.

​Shoplight, based in Titan Drive, Fengate, has invested £250,000 plus in a 3D printing and production facility that will create sustainable light fittings for many well known retailers across the UK and Europe.

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The move, which saw Shoplight expand into a unit next door on the business park, has also meant the creation of a number of jobs bringing the company’s staff numbers to 25.

Mark and Mel Shortland, centre, with staff at Shoplight in Titan Drive, Fengate, Peterborough, celebrate the company's 10th anniversary.Mark and Mel Shortland, centre, with staff at Shoplight in Titan Drive, Fengate, Peterborough, celebrate the company's 10th anniversary.
Mark and Mel Shortland, centre, with staff at Shoplight in Titan Drive, Fengate, Peterborough, celebrate the company's 10th anniversary.

The new facility of 53 3D printers uses biopolymer materials and means that Shoplight is now able to make its own sustainable lighting products that can eventually be returned by the customer and then recycled at Shoplight which can use the ground down materials in new products.

The 3D printing centre was officially declared open by Andrew Pakes, the Labour candidate for Peterborough, and coincided with the firm’s 10th anniversary.

The move into manufacturing is a major leap for Shoplight which began as a supplier of lighting for retailers.

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Co-owner Mark Shortland said: “It struck us that our products didn’t really have anything to do with Shoplight.

“We thought there must be another way of producing these products so they don’t have to be shipped 14,000 miles, they don’t have to come from virgin aluminium which has links with mining, deforestation, and where there is a human capital cost as well.

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“It was really about saying what could we do?

“And since we launched the first product the response from retailers has been so overwhelmingly positive.”

He said: “We think it is the right way to go. As a business we have to differentiate. If every lighting company is importing an aluminium spotlight from China then there is not much to tell us apart.

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“We wanted to make sure we could use this as an opportunity to differentiate and give something back.

Mr Shortland said: “Our goal is that 80 percent of our products by volume will be 3D printed and made by biopolymers by 2028.”

He said that 15 of its retailers had switched to the 3D printed products including Gail’s Bakery, Malin Goetz, Skechers, Lego and Lululemon and Charles Tyrwhitt.

Mr Shortland added: “Setting up as a traditional manufacturer would cost many millions of pounds.

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"So this is certainly a cost effective way to go into producing products. It is also much more flexible and we can change designs literally overnight to suit a customer or make a product better.

"We have lots of new products coming down the line and that might require extra capacity.

He added: “Britain cannot compete with the Far East in terms of traditional manufacturing but what it can do is innovate. It’s what Britain has always been good at and when we do that we can compete.”

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