Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been challenging for businesses across all sectors, adding new demands to business practices. Now, more than ever, the support and help offered by other organisations and UK Government are extremely important and valuable.
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) which is the UK’s National Metrology Institute has a long history of providing help and support to the UK’s businesses demonstrated by a variety of schemes and projects.
One of those schemes is the Manufacturer Measurement Network (MMN), created in 2016 at NPL North, in Huddersfield, which specialises in dimensional inspection and measurement of complex components and assemblies using a wide variety of tactile and non-contact equipment, bespoke measurement training, consultancy and instrument-based digitisation services. It offers a fast response service for difficult to measure components that require highly skilled techniques traceable to Primary Standards.
NPL provides the measurement capability that underpins the UK’s prosperity and quality of life and helps to foster innovation and enable research and development across all sectors. In this particular case the network enables small and large manufacturers, service businesses and academia to share industry knowledge and best practice alongside new and emerging opportunities.
The network aims to provide its members with information on topics that are of most interest to them, they can attend events and have access to advice and support from peers. At every event, attendees can feedback, suggesting topics for future focus, ensuring the network remains relevant to industry and is flexible and adaptable to external events.
Initially, the network was set up to engage with local business in West Yorkshire where a significant number of SME manufacturing businesses are located. However, over time, it has expanded both geographically and in terms of the scope of event topics, to enable a wider range of companies that can benefit from the help offered by the network.
The network now has members in the triple figures and continues to grow with its events currently hosted online, allowing it to reach even wider audiences and help more businesses across the UK. Recently, there is also considerable interest from overseas delegates. This wider audience has also allowed an expansion in the range of topics covered, with plans in the next few months for events on hydrogen technology, composites testing, and medical phantoms.