The western world’s oldest scissor manufacturer, William Whiteley & Sons Ltd, has teamed up with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Design and Prototyping Group (DPG) to create an innovative new blade.
William Whiteley’s are world-renown producers of professional and industrial hand-made scissors and have been manufacturing in Sheffield since 1760.
In 2015, scissorsmiths and company directors, Jeremy and Sally Ward (neé Whiteley), envisaged a new way to manufacture their scissors, but found that making the improvements was proving cost and labour intensive.
The small family-run company had operated without a dedicated in-house design team, with many of its new products designed by the directors with input from its skilled craftsmen.
The directors approached the University of Sheffield AMRC and, with the help of their engineers, was able to develop initial ideas and sketches into CAD files ready for production.
The company had ambitious plans to transfer the method of manufacture for their EXO scissors to an investment-casting route, which would give them the required surface finish for their new product.
However, for a small company to invest in untested designs and new production tooling can be an expensive risk, as AMRC project engineer, Mike Locking explained: “Utilising the skills and capabilities we offer ensures designs can be effectively proved out before investing in the equipment needed to upgrade a manufacturing process, minimising the risk.
“We worked with scan data of the traditional scissors to produce detailed CAD and graphical renderings of the new design, and used rapid prototyping technology to prove out the designs before the company invested in expensive new tooling.”
William Whiteley is now celebrating after exceeding an initial target of raising more than £50,000 through crowdfunding to allow production of this new generation of scissors – which are due to start shipping in May 2018.