National Physical Laboratory - Huddersfield
National Physical Laboratory, Huddersfield, UK

Trusted supplier to the UK’s national measurement institute and Britain’s largest applied physics organisation

Established at the turn of the twentieth century, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has been at the forefront of some of the world’s most important scientific breakthroughs including the development of radar and the automatic computer engine. Distinguished scientists such as Louis Essen, the inventor of the atomic clock, and Alan Turing, the computer science pioneer and Enigma machine codebreaker, spent parts of their careers working on projects at the NPL.

In 2009, the NPL decided to expand its services beyond its London headquarters and set up a base in northern England. The decision to open a laboratory at Huddersfield University has paid dividends thanks largely to its location in the Leeds City Region, which has the most people (139,000) working in manufacturing in the UK and an annual economic output worth £55 billion.

After quickly outgrowing its initial premises, which originally housed a single piece of equipment and three staff, the laboratory moved in 2012 to its current, larger site at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre which boasts two laboratories, seven employees and seven measuring systems. The future is looking even brighter as the NPL has entered a strategic partnership with the university, which involves plans to create a new purposebuilt research facility and a centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing metrology. “This next phase in the laboratory’s development highlights the importance of measurement science in the production of high added-value goods by UK manufacturers,” explains laboratory manager Andy Morris.

Unique facility

NPL Huddersfield offers expertise in the dimensional inspection and measurement of complex assemblies and components such as aircraft engine parts and medical devices. Widely believed to be a unique facility because of its equipment range, it is home to a number of state-of-the-art machines running sophisticated metrology software, including a new bridge coordinate measuring machine (CMM) supplied by Hexagon Metrology. The laboratory provides a range of associated services to businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber area including CMM programming, bespoke measurement training and measurement consultancy...

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