DataLase Team

History of DataLase

DataLase has a long and interesting history stretching over three decades of research, development, and innovation. Originally a spin-out from Nottingham University in UK, the forerunner of DataLase, Sherwood Technology, generated a series of patents around laser-reactive colour change pigment technology. These pigments changed colour when irradiated with laser wavelengths that were increasingly being used throughout a variety of industries, but most notably in packaging and product identification applications. A variety of installations that utilised DataLase based technology in Coding & Marking applications were founded, and modest sales were achieved.

A diverse set of private investors and investment houses saw the potential and took a shareholding in DataLase. This helped the company expand its portfolio with new laser-reactive pigments to target specific applications where there was a clear value proposition towards laser-based printing solutions. At the same time, the DataLase team had been investigating new laser hardware technology that could deliver much higher colour-change speeds to open up new market opportunity and potential.

In the interim, digital printing was a rapidly growing industry and was seen as a way to address supply chain challenges of waste, whilst at the same time delivering mass-customisation and personalisation of packaging. The vast majority of digital printing solutions were all inkjet based, and were reserved for installation at the traditional printer/converter aspect of the supply chain. DataLase took its novel ‘inkless’ printing solutions to drupa in 2016, and coined the phrase ‘Inline Digital Printing’, showing brands how digital printing can unlock so much more value from packaging the closer it is to the consumer by delivering highly engaging and relevant personalised packaging.

The huge success of drupa catapulted DataLase’s unique technology into the mindset of global brand companies and poised them with the question of how to extract more value from their packaging, whilst at the same time eliminating consumables from production environments and associated supply chain waste.

The interest towards DataLase solutions culminated with SATO, the leading Japanese Auto-ID and tagging company, to fully acquire DataLase at the start of 2017. The acquisition by SATO helped fuel a significant increase in R&D activity, leading to innovative solutions that combine hardware and coatings, optimised to work together to deliver unique solutions based around the core of DataLase technology, laser-reactive colour change pigments.

DataLase saw their solutions as something more than digital printing and ‘inline’ was just the start.

This was Photonic Printing.

And DataLase is the pioneer.

DataLase Ltd, a SATO company, is the global leader in Photonic Printing solutions. Headquartered in Widnes, Cheshire, UK, DataLase works with a selection of market leading strategic partners across inks and coatings, substrates and brands to deliver revolutionary solutions for Photonic Printing of products and packaging.DataLase today has offices in the UK, North America and Japan and is seeing the development of solutions for a range of market applications on a global basis. The latest Photonic Printing technology development delivers a new level of pack differentiation with promotions and key variable data messages being able to stand out from traditional Coding & Marking applications.

Whilst Coding & Marking is still a core application for the technology, the future looks bright for DataLase delivering multi-colour Photonic Printing capability to maximise brand owner and retailer real-time marketing effectiveness.


An exciting move in 2015 saw SATO, a leading Japanese headquartered global provider of Auto-ID solutions that empower workforces and streamline operations, invest in DataLase to drive sales and marketing of its revolutionary printing technologies around the world.In 2017 SATO acquired 100% of DataLase, strengthening a successful strategic partnership supplying DataLase based solutions to Japan and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

DataLase leadership team

Ally Grant

Chief Technology Officer

Clare Lewis

Chief Executive Officer

Paul Dustain

Chief Sales & Marketing Officer