Based in Swansea, south Wales, the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating, WCPC, is one of the World's leading centres for research and development of printing and coating processes. The WCPC has expertise in screen, flexographic, lithographic, rotogravure, digital and pad printing. In addition the WCPC also has experience in the modelling of the print process, using techniques such as finite element, finite difference and statistical and neural networks.
The comprehensive laboratories are fully equipped for sample analysis and characterization of material properties relevant to the print process. To supplement the comprehensive laboratory facilities and extend the services WCPC have installed a four station roll to roll flexographic press, a two station sheet fed lithographic press, pad, ink jet and screen printing equipment, for use in fundamental research, industrial prototyping and materials development. In addition the WCPC has access to the extensive facilities within Swansea University.
The multi-disciplinary staff includes post-doctoral and PhD researchers from both industrial and academic backgrounds, together with support staff. The expertise in the fundamental science and its practical application to improving process quality and productivity is used to provide assistance identified by individual companies, problem solving or developing specific courses for the transfer of information.
An integral part of WCPC's success has been its willingness to invest in the latest technology in order to stay at the forefront of research and development. This philosophy has continued and has seen a number of new equipment installations at the WCPC.
The WCPC operates in any field where materials need to be additively patterned or coated. Within its activities it has two key themes; Graphics and Functional Materials. Graphics covers all aspects of colour printing and supports the large worldwide printing industry. The remit of the Functional Materials theme is broad and covers those applications where colour is not the imperative of the material being deposited including printed electronics & photonics, printed bio sensors or bio materials.
The objective of providing open access laboratories is to push technology boundaries and create controlled manufacturing processes capable of delivering high value product consistently and cost effectively.
Research projects can be directly funded research degree programmes, Knowledge Transfer Partnership or contract research. WCPC has experience of working on industrially sensitive projects that require confidentiality. It also has considerable experience in the technology translation from the research laboratories to the shop floor.
Information is vital to process improvement therefore the WCPC translates the research into process understanding and provides industry with;
The Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) was founded 1994 by Prof. Tim Claypole and Prof. David Gethin. The original objective was to provide Postgraduate research projects which would also be beneficial to the printing industry.
Since its inception WCPC has enjoyed the benefit of hundreds of collaborative projects with companies, other academic institutions, commercial research organizations and Not-For-Profit organizations. WCPC is particularly proud that the majority of these collaborative partners have been within the SME community. Many of these partners have formed a long term relationship with the WCPC and have partnered on multiple projects supported through public and private funding.
During the last 6 years the Centre has been involved in a range of TSB, FP7, EPSRC, Welsh Government and company funded projects. The success of which has been recognised by the following awards;
The research stature can also be seen in the increasing delegate numbers at the annual technical conference. In the field of printed electronics, the WCPC has been recognised as 1 of 5 centres of excellence for plastic electronics in the UK. Within this group, the WCPC has unique knowledge and facilities for additive processing through printing.