PolyPhotonix, in Sedgefield, developing low-energy lighting

The Northern Echo: Pictured marking Polyphotonix taking on its first apprentices in 2011 are chief executive Richard Kirk, apprentice Sean Bolton, Mark Snell, of the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries, Josh Greg and Graham Plant, of Technical Training Group Pictured marking Polyphotonix taking on its first apprentices in 2011 are chief executive Richard Kirk, apprentice Sean Bolton, Mark Snell, of the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries, Josh Greg and Graham Plant, of Technical Training Group

A PIONEERING firm is aiming to revolutionise the lighting industry after working on a therapy to combat medical illnesses.

PolyPhotonix, in Sedgefield, County Durham, is developing low-energy lighting products with Government backing.

The firm already works with Sedgefield-based Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) on light-based therapies for eye retinal disease.

However, it is now targeting more work in the architecture and automotive sectors with its organic light-emitting diodes (Oleds).

Experts say Oleds could replace conventional lighting over the next decade, and are already used in mobile phones and digital cameras.

PolyPhotonix uses CPI's equipment to test and make its products, and has received support from the Government's Business is Great campaign, which aims to bolster the manufacturing sector and help companies grow.

Richard Kirk, PolyPhotonix chief executive, said the backing had allowed the firm to focus on developing new products and target different markets.

He said: “Being able to make use of CPI's extensive facilities and equipment, as and when we need them, has allowed us to take innovative product ideas and turn them into profitable production.

“Although we operate as a private company, CPI's support has enabled us to grow at an accelerated pace, faster than is usually possible for a start-up.

“With that help, we have focused on new products and launched into valuable new markets.”

The company is being supported by the Government's high value manufacturing catapult programme, which is part of its Business is Great scheme.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock added: “Small businesses are crucial to the success of our economy.

“We want people in County Durham to know about the support that the Government is providing to make it easier to start and grow a small business.”

Last year, Professor Geoff Williams, of Thorn Lighting, in Spennymoor, County Durham, led a consortium of regional experts to develop Oleds.

It said wafer-thin, printable Oled panels are predicted to displace existing light sources, such as fluorescent and incandescent lamps, cutting cutting costs and enabling light to be powered by renewable energy.

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