£120k R&D project opens up markets worldwide for water flow measurement company

Mainstream Measurements Ltd’s new flow measurement system, developed with a Government-backed Knowledge Transfer Partnership, won an Innovate UK ‘Best of the Best’ Award national prize


A LEADING company in ultrasonic open channel flowmeters was supported by a government-backed Knowledge Transfer Partnership to develop an innovative new product that will be marketed across the world.  Now, it has won a national award for the success of the project.

Mainstream Measurements Ltd, of Steeton, wanted to develop software and hardware that would enable flowmeters to be read remotely, a major challenge in isolated and difficult terrains.  It formed a £120,000, two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Huddersfield, backed by Government agency Innovate UK.

Leaders in open channel flow measurement using ultrasonic technology, Mainstream flowmeters are exported worldwide to Europe, the Middle East, the Far, Africa and North and South America and can be used for a wide variety of water distribution and wastewater applications.

University of Huddersfield electrical and electronic engineering graduate Sean Howson was appointed as KTP Associate to lead on the project and has been working directly with the company under the guidance of University supervisor, Dr Simon Parkinson.

Sean, who was based at Mainstream Measurement, has helped to develop the next generation of flow measurement systems, taking full advantage of the latest communications standards.

Such was the success of the work that Sean was nominated in the Best Future Innovator category for 2019’s KTP Best of the Best Awards, organised by the Knowledge Transfer Network.  He was named as the winner, accepting his trophy at a ceremony that took place at the headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry in London.

The new product that he helped develop will soon reach the market and Sean has now been appointed to a full-time post at Mainstream, as Software and Research Lead Engineer.

Meanwhile, the company has decided to follow up the success of the Sean’s KTP by drawing up plans for a fresh collaboration with the University of Huddersfield.  Once again, Dr Simon Parkinson, who is a Reader at Huddersfield’s Department of Computer Science, will be the academic lead and Sean Howson himself will be the company’s supervisor, with a new associate to be appointed.

Dr Parkinson is delighted by the success of the first KTP with Mainstream and with Sean’s role at the company, helping it to secure some of its biggest orders.

“In addition to Sean’s research, he brought expertise and the ability to make changes to core software components and to design and develop software and hardware for new markets,” said Dr Parkinson.  “Now, we are looking forward to another highly-productive project.”


KTPs, as are part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, aim to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through “the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base”.  The projects are funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK.