Stockport-based LECO Instruments (UK) Limited, a leader in the development of mass spectrometry equipment and applications, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme. LECO will collaborate with the Applied Science & Technology Group, based at SPRINT partner, The Open University, to create innovative analytical processes and target several key sectors including food safety, sensory, and forensics and toxicology.
The project will use space expertise developed at The Open University that enabled the analysis of volatile gases on the surface of comets. This expertise supported the innovations required for the Rosetta and Beagle2 missions and more recently, the proposed PROSPA and LUVMI lunar missions.
The project will enable LECO to target customers with a complete application-specific solution including instrumentation, training and application operating procedures that have been created and evaluated by The Open University.
The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
Alan Griffiths, Separations Science Product Specialist at LECO UK said: “LECO is a global company and is growing its UK operations. We were looking for a partner to support us in taking our instrumentation and methodologies to the next level – allowing customers to resolve the details of their complex samples as never before. As we’ve worked with Dr Morgan’s group at The Open University in the past, it’s clear that with their knowledge, resources and experience, they’re one of the few groups in the country to have such broad research capabilities.
“We want to be in a position where companies in key areas are more aware of LECO and our technology, enabling us to build our UK business. The markets for instrumentation are very broad and this SPRINT project will enable us to specialise on a few key applications driven by our existing and future customers.”
Dr Geraint Morgan, Applied Science & Technology Group lead in the School of Physical Sciences at The Open University said: “The SPRINT funding will allow us to further develop our existing relationship with LECO Instruments UK, building on our track record of developing novel laboratory assays and our extensive network of collaborators who are all potential future LECO customers. The project will provide us with access to LECO’s BT GCxGC-TOFMS instrument, with a view to developing commercial products and solutions for adoption by a range of new customers in a range of sectors.”