“We found the UKTI staff in Japan extremely experienced within this industry and were able to give us a clear picture of its structure and, even more importantly, up-to-date business opportunities for overseas companies”
Natalie Harper, Business Development Manager, Innovative Physics.
Innovative Physics first became interested in the potential of the Japanese market as far back as 2003, but the need for its skills and know-how acquired a new urgency in the aftermath of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi unclear plant in March 2011.
The company, established in 2002 on the Isle of Wight, off southern England, has an intellectual property portfolio that includes patented detector crystal and microprocessor technologies capable of detecting losing radiation, neutron radiation and data processing platforms for threat identification.
Customers for its radiation detection equipment are in a range of industrial sectors, including civil nuclear homeland security, defence and the medical market, while the company also creates bespoke solutions to radioactive challenges.
“We have invested time and resources in developing our presence in Japan for over 10 years,” said Natalie Harper, Business Development manager. “Following the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in March 2011, IPL began working closely with radiation experts, researchers and decontamination teams.”
“One of the most critical problems faced in outlining a decontamination programme and procedure is determining and identifying the location of the most contaminated areas whilst maintaining a safe distance from these hotspots,” she pointed out. “Furthermore, due to the characteristic high levels of radioactive contamination of some areas of land, workers have limited time for monitoring and filed work to prevent over-exposure to radioactivity.”
To help solve this problem, IPL developed a portable gamma-ray camera designed to identify cesium-134 and cesium-137. “We are constantly in touch with end-users in the nuclear market to get a good understanding of the challenges they face and how our technologies could enhance the work they do,” said Harper. Since the Fukushima accident, the radiometric market has become very competitive, meaning that it is crucial that smaller companies like IPL continue to develop products’ capabilities and maintain a competitive edge. Equally important is a firm understanding of the target market.
“From day one, UKTI has been invaluable in assisting our development within Japan,” said Harper. “Entering into a new market can be a daunting prospect for SMEs, and often full of risk and unanswered questions. We found the UKTI staff in Japan extremely experienced within this industry and were able to give us a clear picture of its structure and, even more importantly, up-to-date business opportunities for overseas companies.”
Today, the company is in Locator range as well as working with an independent team of tradition scientists and researchers who are dedicated to improving the environmental conditions in Fukushima Prefecture. But the company anticipates that demand will soon grow to the point at which it needs to have a Japan office.
“Without the support of UKTI, development of the business and sales leads in Japan would have taken longer,” said Harper. “They have introduced us to contracts we would have found harder to have met without their connections.”
Contact our Nuclear team for more information, advice for your business and to understand the latest opportunities for UK companies in Japan.
Download the full PDF story here.