2012 Swan Medal of the Institute of Physics

Sir David McMurtry and John Deer, Renishaw plc.

For their role in founding Renishaw plc and leading it to become one of the world’s principal manufacturers of metrology equipment.

Renishaw plc was established almost 40 years ago by David McMurtry and John Deer to manufacture and sell sensor technology that had been developed by McMurtry for the accurate dimensional measurements necessary to assess variations in high precision component manufacturing. 

Given the fundamental importance of positional and dimensional measurement the company subsequently found many opportunities to expand into sectors as diverse as machine tool automation, machine calibration, motion control, spectroscopy and surgical robotics in the intervening period. 

This was achieved through a significant and consistent commitment to research and development. The company has historically invested around 17% of turnover each year in R&D and engineering.

Developments within the scientific field include Renishaw's Raman spectroscopy products that exploit the Raman effect to identify and characterise the chemistry and structure of materials. 

Again the fundamental nature of the techniques employed has led to a diverse range of analytical applications employed within the pharmaceutical, forensic science, nanotechnology, biomedical and semiconductor fields. 

Raman spectrometers are also used in university based physics research programmes.

More recent diversification into the healthcare sector has led to neurosurgical, dental and diagnostics products, ranging from milling machines for manufacturing dental frameworks through to robots for neurosurgery. 

The latter is part of a range of products designed to enable surgeons to implant Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) electrodes with greater confidence and accuracy relative to targeted brain anatomy. 

The company is also working with a number of medical technology and biotech companies on the development and optimisation of next-generation drug delivery systems for the treatment of serious Central Nervous System diseases. 

Renishaw plc is now established as a global company with offices in 32 countries and has over 2700 employees. It is the UK’s largest manufacturer of metrology devices.