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Midlands based global doyens of darkness are LED into daylight

Tipton-based darkroom specialists Paterson Photographic Ltd have added daylight to darkness in their leading studio and theatre lighting equipment, thanks to LED technology support from WMG at the University of Warwick.

Having developed a global reputation for the quality of their darkroom equipment, they wanted to add to their product offering and re-enter the studio lighting market with a comprehensive range of Continuous Lighting units manufactured in their own UK factory.

Creating a studio lighting range that used LEDs with a colour temperature of 6000K (daylight) rather than the most common methods using fluorescent lighting would provide Paterson Photographic with a technological leap in their products.

The SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) support team at WMG at the University of Warwick provided technical and research support allowing the company to launch the first batch of LED-based daylight products with bespoke coloured filters at the 2018 Photography Show at Birmingham’s NEC. The new products are expected to generate sales in six figures for Paterson over the next year.

Dave Norman from WMG said:

“We created a bespoke electronic circuit for Paterson that was designed, built, tested and mounted into their existing lamp housings using 24 high-power 6000K LEDs to achieve daylight brightness with a much more efficient lighting system.We were able to help with solder pad design, component placement, printed circuit structure and the challenges of thermal resistance measurements.

“This means that Paterson products that will not only be attractive to new customers but will also generate sales from customers wanting to retrofit to more efficient, longer lasting LED based studio technology.” “It has also encouraged the company to explore the use of the same technology in new fields, such as theatre lighting.”

Phil Stanley, Managing Director of Paterson Photographic said: “Working with WMG, we have developed an innovative new addition to the photographic market that will boost sales and create jobs.”

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The Branding of British Success

At Threeway Pressings we have always believed in British manufacturing.

The Brexit vote has come and gone and a decision was made but whatever the economic outlook, short or long term, we believe that we need to have confidence in our abilities, as a manufacturing nation, to make high quality products and still remain competitive in the global market place.

Within Threeways portfolio there are two iconic British brands.

Paterson photographic distributes photographic hardware for the analogue market. Historically these products have been strong in the education markets all over the world and with over 150 product lines it is seen as the last man standing in its market place.

Recently there has been a resurgence in the use of {lm with many schools, colleges and universities re building darkrooms. Science and Art and craft departments are seeing an increase in the use of Darkrooms to produce innovative pieces of photographic art and also be seen as an aid to science due to the use of chemicals and different paper types.

BENBO tripods is held with similar pride within the company’s suite of products. The BENBO tripods are renowned for being strong, reliable and portable and has a large following with ramblers and nature lovers due to its flexibility and ability to reach places other tripods cannot.

Over the last few months both these beloved British brands have undergone signi{cant manufacturing changes to not only enhance their place in current markets but also to expand into new markets in America, Europe and the Far East.

Many of the darkroom items were fully assembled at our Tipton premises. They comprised a vast array of moulded products, from our injection moulding facility, and some selected bought out parts.

Assembly involved collating in some case 20 separate parts to be assembled with a significant amount of double handling as well as demanding much needed warehouse space.

The cycle times and packaging requirements were reviewed using Lean manufacturing principles and now 80% of the moulded parts are assembled during the cycle times at the injection moulding factory. This assembly includes packaging and incorporates the additional bought out goods.

This means that products supplied into the Tipton warehouse are {nished products, barcoded and ready for distribution. The challenge required with the BENBO tripod range was different. BENBO tripods had been made the same way for 30 years and had used predominately the same supply base.

This has now changed with all bought out components including drawn tube, aluminium castings and sub contract services Made in the Midlands. This review of the supply base has achieved a reduction in costs and expedited the making process.

In house we have also modi{ed our production of the leg assembly reducing the manufacturing time tenfold by the innovative use of a swaging machine to attach the leg head castings to the leg tubes.

The changes to the Paterson darkroom production has also created warehouse space to allow larger batch quantities of tripods to be manufactured thereby achieving economies of scale in the production.

These changes will allow both the darkroom products and the tripods to enhance their UK and European markets but also reach further out into the global market with more competitive, British made, iconic Brands.

Threeway would like to thank all involved in this manufacturing turnaround process especially our Injection Moulding facility and the staff members in our Warehousing unit.