New instrument developed during COVID19

Portascanner details by Liveryman Carl Hunter, Chairman Coltraco Ultrasonics Ltd

Coltraco Ultrasonics is a high-exporting advanced manufacturer and now exporting to 120 countries and commercialising leading research. During COVID19 we developed two instruments which are now in manufacture and I believe will be world-leading. Our Research & Development was externally assessed as “outstanding” for the first of these and the second derived from it. Both determine the leak-sites, the air flow rates and the air permeability factors in an intuitive tablet-based instrument:

  1. Portascanner® COVID-19 is designed for NHS hospital staff to contain infection contagion from negatively-pressurised hospital wards. This was a direct result of the Government’s COVID19 emergency technology funding through Innovate UK.
  2. Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 enables “safe working in safe buildings” by monitoring a building’s airtightness and thus its ability to properly ventilate

On 11 March 2020 we lost nearly 50% of our global markets. In adaption to COVID19 we developed our Resilience-Diversification-Growth Strategy, reconfiguring our company to become “Better-Faster-Cheaper” across our export markets and refining our organisation, sales, marketing, distribution, R&D, production, and inventory by applying our “Science-R&D-Innovation-Manufacturing-Certification-Commercialisation loop” principle, so as to integrate the commercial with the technical across all levels. I am pleased to say that we have never entered furlough, grown our staff and created the happiest and most effective company that I have ever seen. You can listen to this on the Durham Business School podcast at

In June 2021 we will establish our new laboratory at Durham University, co-locating it with the Centre of Advanced Instrumentation and Department of Physics. Concurrently, we will create the Durham Institute of Research, Development & Invention and the Centre for Underwater Acoustic Analysis with a long term plan in acoustics, ultrasound, electro-magnetism and information engineering. I was proud to receive the 2021 Dunelmensis Award from the Senate of Durham University last month for contribution to research:

Benjamin Cowan, Lead Design Engineer – Systems & Instrumentation, Coltraco Ultrasonics says “COVID-19 has brought many challenges for UK businesses, and Coltraco Ultrasonics has not been immune to that; however, we have implemented rapid change and resilience across all departments, including the Research, Development, Design & Ergonomics department, where we have developed and implemented several new technologies and instrumentation over the past 12 months.  It has been a privilege to work for such a forward-thinking, adaptable company that has fully supported us as employees in every aspect throughout this challenging period. I look forward to the exciting developments to come as we increase our capability.”