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Covid response

Providing critical services during lockdown

Supporting the UK’s infrastructure

As a national laboratory, NPL continued to run several critical services to support the UK’s infrastructure and vital healthcare provision, whilst following government advice regarding social distancing. This work included:

  • Healthcare services to support the NHS and the medical supply chain industry
    • Radiation measurements to allow the medical sterilisation industry to operate
    • Calibrating instruments used in cancer treatment
    • Quality assurance measurements and supply of materials to radiopharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Provision of timing services on behalf of the government, for example to facilitate reliable high-speed financial trading
  • Support to the nuclear sector, declared by operators as critical to keeping power stations operational
    • Calibration activities to allow the acceptance of neutron detectors for use in nuclear power stations as part of safety cases
  • Provision of environmental monitoring, declared as critical by the Environment Agency
    • Operation of air particle monitoring network 
    • Supporting chemical companies maintaining their licences to operate to ensure clean and safe operation

Impact during COVID-19

  • Maintaining close and responsive business relationship with key stakeholders
  • Ensuring minimal interruption to their critical services
  • Supporting UK industry and society

NPL provided support to critical businesses

  • We calibrated thrust load cells for an aviation engine manufacturer, who told us that NPL’s work is absolutely critical to the measurement of their products and to keep aircraft flying safely.
  • Kindeva Drug Delivery (formerly known as 3M Health Care) manufactures asthma inhaler components and needed their Reference Stage Graticule (RSG) calibrated. This process is key to the quality and release of their products, which was vital during the pandemic.   
  • Fluorine-18 is one of the most frequently used radioisotopes in positron emission tomography (PET) in bone scans, prostate imaging, clinical and preclinical research. NPL analyses samples to make sure they are free of impurities, and this service continued through the lock down period.
  • We run DEFRA’s particle network and government flagged the measurement of ambient particulate measurements as crucial during the pandemic.
  • Laser Quantum worked with NPL to determine why components in their laser assemblies were losing alignment and how to correct them. These components are key in a range of test equipment which  is used for DNA analysis and in the battle against COVID-19.
  • NPL offers a calibration service for hydrophones for medical ultrasound equipment. During the COVID-19 crisis the service was briefly paused, but customers requested resumption in order to ensure the supply of medical equipment to health services, including ultrasound techniques for the diagnosis of COVID-19. 

Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070