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Unique measurement service for Greater Manchester SMEs opens doors

SMEs developing new products can now access cutting-edge measurement support under a new initiative launched at the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) in Rochdale.

The £1.2 million Measurement for Business (M4B) programme, delivered by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), gives Greater Manchester businesses 20 days’ access to NPL’s world-leading measurement scientists and research facilities at no charge.

The NPL is the UK’s National Metrology Institute, responsible for developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards.  

M4B is designed to help SMEs accelerate the process of getting their new product to market by increasing confidence in their data through validation with NPL’s experts.

It builds on the success of a previous programme run during the pandemic, Measurement for Recovery (M4R), which supported over 600 businesses – including helping Stockport manufacturer Fibrestar Drums develop a test method to prove that its drums, manufactured from paper and board, performed as well as conventional plastic pails.

M4B was officially launched at a special event in February hosted by Rochdale’s AMPI, a planned National Centre of Excellence in machinery build and design. AMPI is part of the wider Atom Valley advanced manufacturing ‘supercluster’ plan covering Rochdale, Oldham and Bury.

At the event, the Mayors of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire spoke to an audience of business leaders about their vision to ‘reindustrialise’ the region through advanced machinery and manufacturing. Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham said:

“If you go back a century this area was the powerhouse of the world - the first home of advanced manufacturing and machinery. We led the world and I see no reason why we can’t do exactly the same again. This is the best opportunity we will get to reindustrialise the North of England, but in a good way, a clean way that brings prosperity in the future.

“I see Atom Valley as being right at the heart of that vision. If we go first, we will bring forward the new technologies and develop our skills base. It will be built by a network of organisations and institutions like AMPI that are ready to go faster - that’s how the North of England rises again.”

Unveiling M4B at the event, NPL’s Chief Executive Dr Peter Thompson said:

“We are delighted to use our position as a national laboratory to lead initiatives and programmes, which are proactively supporting advanced machinery innovators across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. I hope that NPL’s metrology expertise can once again provide the footing for those innovating to do so with success.”

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