NPL, the UK’s National Metrology Institute, welcomed Lee Rowley, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Industry at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to its headquarters in Teddington, south-west London, to meet NPL scientists and engineers and hear about the latest work being conducted across a range of areas and challenges, with virtual attendance from NPL’s Huddersfield based team.
In the two-hour visit, Rowley – who is also the Conservative MP for north-east Derbyshire - met with and spoke to NPL scientists and engineers engaged with multiple projects that are driving innovation, providing confidence to industry and making the UK an attractive place to do business.
The projects include:
- Collaboration with manufacturers and engineers in the north of England – NPL, via its laboratory at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield, help manufacturers and precision engineering firms make better measurements, characterise new and existing materials, and support new technologies, including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). NPL identifies appropriate validation methods for components and processes with the aim of increasing efficiency, reducing waste, and improving product quality. NPL also operates a Manufacturer Measurement Network (MMN), which provides the manufacturing sector with frequent events and networking opportunities.
- Access to expertise for UK start-ups and scale-ups – NPL’s Measurement for Recovery (M4R) programme was developed to help UK companies gain access to the expertise and resources of the UK’s measurement science experts, to help them recover and innovate during COVID-19. M4R is funded by the Department for Business, Energy, Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is a collaboration between NPL and National Measurement System laboratory partners.
As part of M4R, NPL provided technical support to JET Engineering System Solutions Ltd to develop networks of 5G-connected buoys for monitoring waves and currents at sea. JET’s buoys measure and report in-shore wave height and currents for water safety to multiple users, including emergency services and also the general public. JET brought a prototype of the buoy to NPL’s site, highlighting how vital the work with NPL has been to get the concept through from design to development.
- Hydrogen fuel and batteries – NPL provides research capabilities, measurement standards and quality assurance tools for the production, storage, distribution, and end uses for hydrogen as a future carbon-free fuel source for the transport sector. NPL also supports the development of energy storage technologies such as batteries, helping to build a greener and more sustainable infrastructure to power industry and society in the future.
- Cancer research – As part of Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge scheme, NPL leads a group of British and international multidisciplinary chemists, physicists, and biologists to develop reproducible, standardised methods to more fully and precisely map cancerous tumours as they develop or respond to treatment.
- Advanced materials - NPL is continually developing new and enhanced instruments and measurement methods to improve the accuracy and reliability of existing measurement techniques used by science, industry, and academia.
Enabling technologies, such as advanced manufacturing and processing, are also key to achieving our net zero targets. A lack of agreed standards can be a barrier to the uptake of new materials and processes across business and industry. Improved measurement helps organisations better understand and make better use of materials and processes to increase their output and productivity, and also reduce costs and waste.
Lee Rowley, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Industry at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “It has been fantastic to see how National Physical Laboratory (NPL) scientists and engineers are innovating in areas including advanced manufacturing materials, battery technology and cancer research. It is just this kind of world-leading research that puts the UK at the forefront of global research and development and shows why we are one of the best places in the world to do business.”
Minister Rowley was accompanied during his visit by NPL CEO Dr Peter Thompson FREng, who commented, “I was thrilled to welcome Minister Rowley, Minister for Industry at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to our Teddington laboratories, to show the Minister just a small proportion of the work that is currently being undertaken at NPL. Our scientists and engineers spoke to the Minister about the impact we have delivered for net zero, health and advanced materials, as well as our award winning activities during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure innovative businesses across the UK had access to our world class facilities and experts, with direct economic impact.”
26 Jan 2022