The Fly Reel Company

Tim Brown and Shaun Benzon (right)

The Organisation

The Fly Reel Company, based in Harrogate and founded by Lancaster University graduates, design, develop and produce high performance British-made fly reels. They achieve this through the use of cutting edge engineering materials including aerospace grade aluminium, titanium and high grade composites, combined with CNC precision engineering technology. Strong links with Lancaster University's Engineering Department allow for a product that has been extensively developed and refined. It is their intention to support UK business and industries.

The Challenge

The company was launching its second product, a seven to nine-weight reel suitable for catching trout, sea-trout and other salt-water species. The Reel Britannia 1 (RB1) fly reel was the company’s first. It took a year to design and is being sold at selected retail outlets across the UK, with plans to expand into the US. The company wanted a quicker process the second time around.

Expertise Sought

  • 3D printing
  • Advanced manufacturing

The Solution

The business, which has been winning highly positive reviews for its original and larger RB1 model, was able to produce its latest model much quicker through the expertise and specialist rapid-prototyping facilities made available by the Engineering Engagement Team


This work was part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the SusDRAM:EDA project, which provides SMEs in the northwest of England with mechanical engineering support.


The Fly Reel Company’s latest reel is currently at the manufacturing stage and will be available to purchase later in the year. The company is also casting its lines to the US and Japanese markets, which have significant export potential with their large salt-water fishing markets. Their first reel, the RB1, which was also developed with support from Lancaster University’s Engineering Department, has been making a splash in the angling world by winning product test reviews in fishing publications.

Benefits to the company

  • Provided new product
  • Saved management time and money
  • Made use of Lancaster University facilities

Company Feedback

“We found the conventional route of product development for our RB1 reel was very expensive and time-consuming so we wanted to explore how to develop our latest product in a much quicker and cost-effective way. By working with the Lancaster Product Development Unit we were able to use their additive manufacturing facilities, such as their SLS machine (which makes products by sintering powder with lasers, building in a layer-by-layer method), to produce parts for testing within days, rather than weeks, which is what happens when using traditional CNC machines that need to be programmed.” Shaun Benzon, Mechanical Engineering PhD student at Lancaster University and Co-Founder of The Fly-Reel Company.