National Physical Laboratory

Custom measurements of artefacts and components

Non-standard measurements
Non-standard measurements
  • Bespoke measurements
  • Nanometrology - characterisation of artefacts with sub-micron features
  • Freeform surfaces
  • UKAS accredited inspection by CMM

NPL offers a bespoke measurement service for customers who require high accuracy measurement of artefacts or components up to about 1 metre in size. This can include a wide range of standard or highly complex artefacts such as injection mouldings, medical prostheses and precision jigs and fixtures.

NPL uses both a Zeiss UPMC 550 CMM and a Leitz PMM-C Infinity CMM to perform measurements on customer-supplied items. These machines can be programmed to measure a wide range of features ranging from simple dimensions such as lengths, diameters, radii, through form parameters including flatness, straightness, parallelism, cylindricity, to complex geometry elements such as angular intersections, plane angles, etc. Measurements of artefacts from a CAD model in STEP format can also be undertaken. Measurements made on the Zeiss UPMC 550 are UKAS accredited with a calibration and measurement capability (CMC), expressed as an expanded measurement uncertainty (k = 2) of:

Small component CMM
Small component CMM
(inspection by CMM)

1.50+L/260 μm, where L is in mm

0.80 μm (using substitution method)

0.40 μm (using reversal method)

over a range of 550 mm by 500 mm by 450 mm.

The CMMs are supplemented by commercial Virtual CMM software to enable task specific measurement uncertainties to be calculated using Monte Carlo simulation.

For softer materials where contact measurement may be inappropriate we also have a Mitutoyo CMM with Metris LC60D scanner. Further details can be found on the Freeform webpage

For smaller components (size in the order of tens of millimetres), or those that are delicate or have small features, NPL offers a similar high-accuracy co-ordinate metrology of small components measurement service based on its Zeiss F25 CMM for miniature components and features.

Our Mitutoyo QV vision CMM can be used to carry out non-contact measurement and inspection of artefacts. The capabilities of the machines at NPL have been enhanced by laser interferometry and advanced mathematical algorithms, designed in-house, to optimise the measurement uncertainty.

In addition, measurements can be made that are variations on other existing services or that utilise the facilities of other services. For instance, measurements can be made of roundness and cylindricity of radially symmetric parts using one of NPL's roundness measuring instruments.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Other capabilities


Customer Service tel: 020 8943 8631

Last Updated: 18 Aug 2015
Created: 2 Aug 2010


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission