6 October 2014 10:03

A British fishing reel manufacturer is tackling the industry’s big fish thanks to help from Lancaster University.

The Fly Reel Company is launching its second product, a seven to nine-weight reel that is suitable for catching trout, sea-trout and other salt-water species.

The business, which has been winning rave reviews for its original and larger RB1 model, has been able to produce its latest model through expertise and specialist rapid-prototyping facilities made available by Lancaster Product Development Unit – a dedicated business-support team based within the Engineering Department at Lancaster University’s that is funded by the university and the European Regional Development Fund.

Shaun Benzon, 24, co-founder of The Fly-Reel Company, said: “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.”

The company prides itself on producing reels that are manufactured entirely in Britain. As well as working with Lancaster University, where Shaun is studying for his PhD in Mechanical Engineering, it also works with companies based in Blackburn, Barnoldswick and Knaresborough to manufacture their premium products that retail at £599.

The market is currently dominated by big manufacturers that have production in the Far East, though Shaun believes there is significant demand for high-quality British-made products.

“We wanted to bring fishing reel manufacturing back to this country,” he said. “Our defining principle is that we are developing the whole product in Britain.”

The company is also casting its lines to the US and Japanese markets, which have significant export potential with their large markets for salt-water fishing. Its 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.

The Fly Reel Company’s latest reel is currently at the manufacturing stage and will be available to purchase later in the year.

More information about The Fly Reel Company is available by visiting www.theflyreelcompany.co.uk

To find out more about the Lancaster Product Development Unit visit http://www.lpdu.lancs.ac.uk/