1983: Inception, Camtek Limited
Camtek Limited (UK) was founded in 1983 by Geoff Hawkesford and Mike Anstey. Geoff. An early UK CAM pioneer - Geoff previously worked at CADCentre, Cambridge UK, alongside other respected developers such as Arthur Flutter, of NC Graphics*, etc.
During Geoff's tenure at Camtek, the PEPS (Production Engineering Productivity System) product was developed and became the first Windows-based Milling/Turning/Fabrication CAM system. It took several years for the competition to follow suit. PEPS grew to be a very powerful CAM toolkit, with its built-in macro programming language and C/VB extensions. Mazak chose the PEPS platform for both their CAMWARE™* and SPACECAM™* CAM systems during the 90’s and through to the next decade.
1989-1993: PEPS Wire EDM CAM, Camtek GmbH
In the late 80's/early 90’s, Camtek developed a ground-up Wire EDM CAM package in cooperation with extrusion die makers in the local area. This development piqued Charmilles* Switzerland’s interest in programming solutions for their Wire EDM machines. Subsequently, in 1993, Camtek GmbH was started by ex-Charmilles engineers Hermann (Jimmy) Grimm and Paul Staib, outside of Stuttgart, Germany. Camtek GmbH worked alongside the Camtek UK team to develop the software, drawing from the founders’ invaluable expertise in the field.
1996: Camtek USA Inc
Camtek USA Inc. was incorporated in 1996 and Rob Thompson – who started at Camtek Limited in 1985 – transferred to manage the US office. Formerly working on the Mazak projects as a software developer, Rob became very much involved in the ongoing development of the Wire EDM module and tweaked it for the US market. Soon joined by Alan Weeks, Camtek USA moved on to be one of the premier providers of Wire EDM CAM – especially for machines not well served by domestic competitors.
2000's: Mergers & Acquisitions
In 1999, Geoff retired from Camtek and the business was sold to another CAM vendor (in the sheet metal sector). This ownership lasted until 2006 when Camtek was acquired by Vero International. Camtek USA was absorbed into Vero Inc (USA). Camtek GmbH (Germany) remained an independent dealer and continued to contribute heavily to the PEPS Wire development.
Year by year, Camtek GmbH became a major player in the European market, extending its reach into all machining disciplines such as Milling, Turning, Laser, etc.
2005: OPTICAM - the next evolutionary step
Around 2005, Geoff and Camtek GmbH devised a new product that would run exclusively inside of mainstream CAD systems, initially inside of SOLIDWORKS™*. This product was called OPTICAM and from the ground up, it was a new development based on the strengths and openness of PEPS. With a unique approach to portability between CAD systems - inherent to its foundation – it featured customization and quick application deployment. Building C/C++ extensibility and a Python programming API – OPTICAM built on PEPS’ flexibility.
2010: Camtek Software & OPTISOLUTIONS
In July 2010 Vero International was purchased by a private equity firm. The new company moniker – Vero Software - has since purchased various other CAM vendors (with many similar and overlapping technologies). Camtek GmbH purchased the rights to develop the PEPS source code earlier in 2010 before the acquisition. This resulted in PEPS being promoted as such in most European markets and as OPTICAM Classic in other markets.
Rob left Vero Inc. to start Camtek Software – and work directly with the talented development team in the German office.
Shortly after starting Camtek Software, Rob started OPTISOLUTIONS to promote Camtek GmbH’s OPTICAM products in the US market and soon after, he was joined by members of the original Camtek USA team, including Alan Weeks.
More than 90% of the user-base transferred to the Camtek OPTISOLUTIONS umbrella. The ongoing development of the product was assured, post-processor development was much improved and innovations (such as True Wire EDM Feature Recognition) were added.
In late 2010, Nucleo Fixture was first proposed. Using the PEPS/OPTICAM Classic as its platform, this unique welding jig generation software was devised and remains continually developed.
Camtek OPTISOLUTIONS continue to provide best-in-class solutions for Wire EDM, Weld Fixturing and more.
Camtek GmbH celebrates its 30th year in 2023. Now a company of over 40 talented individuals, Camtek GmbH remains a close-knit, family organization and looks forward to the next 20 years of innovation.
*Trademarks of their respective owners. E&OE