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NPL at the Royal Institution of Great Britain

Annual Review 2020

Working with companies 2018/19

Solving problems and designing the right solution

Maximising the impact of our science and engineering across UK industry

NPL’s mission is to enhance quality of life for the UK and improve the productivity of UK industry. Our commercial products and services are designed to help you do just that.  We use our cutting edge, multi-science capability to help organisations of all sizes to:

  • Exploit the latest science and technology developments to continuously innovate and gain a competitive edge

  • Solve your most complex technological or business challenges

  • Have the confidence to adopt new technologies and processes or develop new products

  • Meet your business requirements for regulation, compliance and quality

We are able to apply a wide range of science disciplines and expertise, and having that choice at our finger-tips means you can use us for a variety of needs. If we are not best positioned to solve your problem, we are able to sign-post you to one of our partners to provide the right solution. We do this with independence and impartially that our unique position as a government laboratory provides.

Whatever your industry or size, from start-up, scale-up or corporate, we have something to help you operate, improve or transform your business. Find out more

Helping customers through the National Measurement System

Helping customers through the National Measurement System

NPL as the UK’s National Metrology Institute, has a central position in the National Measurement System (NMS). The NMS provides a UK laboratory infrastructure dedicated to world-class measurement science, delivering services to businesses and public sector organisations. The NMS conducts a regular customer survey to understand its customers, learn from feedback and improve services so that it continues to deliver impact. Highlights from our 2019 survey include:

  • The NMS has a large reach and many business customers are highly economically active. NMS laboratories are used by around 6,000 UK organisations, most of which operate in the private sector, with over half in the manufacturing sector. NMS customers employ just under one million people in the UK and the business sites supported by the NMS laboratories have an aggregate turnover of around £188 billion.
  • More than 75% of NMS customers use measurement for:
    • ‚ÄčProduct development
    • Process control
    • Ensuring suppliers' materials are of adequate quality
    • Ensuring their own products meet customers' specifications
  • The NMS helps companies innovate: each year, companies who use the NMS receive around £539 million in annualised revenues from sales of products that respondents believe would not exist without support from the NMS laboratories.
  • Customers are highly satisfied with the NMS: there was high satisfaction with the reputation of the NMS, the quality of outputs, value for money of services, and the flexibility of and relationships with staff. One area to work on is the speed and timeliness of service delivery.

Analysis for Innovators (A4I)

A4I is a programme developed by Innovate UK and NPL to help UK businesses of any size access cutting edge measurement expertise and facilities to help solve their measurement problems. The companies NPL has assisted include two UK-based companies, Adaptix and SteelRock, where we helped accelerate the development and commercialisation of their new products.

Adaptix: Adaptix’s innovative 3D imaging technology helps patients and health-care professionals get the best possible diagnostic imaging information, giving quicker and more accurate diagnosis, reducing radiation exposure and saving cost and time. Adaptix worked with NPL to resolve measurement issues to improve the performance and reliability of their product by analyzing potential materials and coatings for the product, which enabled Adaptix to select the best performing materials. This has helped Adaptix to create a prototype and take this forward to manufacturing.

Mark Evans, CEO of Adaptix said “NPL has allowed us to take something that would be science – you can make it once and it works – into something you can reproduce and manufacture. NPL is a world-leading facility where some of the best tools, techniques are available, run by an amazing group of scientists.”

SteelRock: SteelRock Technologies is a leading provider of innovative technology solutions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly known as drones. SteelRock developed a new solution to counter the threat of unauthorised drone usage and needed a verified data set to demonstrate to the UK Government that its system is safe to operate and highly effective. NPL helped SteelRock by characterising its product and measuring the impact of the energy it produces on humans. As a result, the UK Government has accepted the data provided and the system has been adopted by the UK security services. This has also helped SteelRock with the export potential of their product.

Rupert English, CEO SteelRock said “This project has been transformational for us in terms of what it has done for our business and how it has accelerated our progress. I’m looking forward to proceeding with further innovation and projects as we go down the road with the development and improvement of our products.”


Find out more about NPL's Products and services

Annual Review 2020



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