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NHBS manufacturing – a year in review

Simon Palmer
Simon Palmer

2023 proved to be a pivotal year for the NHBS manufacturing team, one in which we enjoyed new and continued partnerships with key organisations, overhauled the NHBS Harp Trap with the aid of leading UK ecologists, and continued to refine our existing products. 

A glimpse into the manufacturing workshop at the NHBS offices in Totnes, Devon.

Fine tuning the NHBS Moth Trap 

Since its introduction in late 2019, the NHBS Moth Trap has been a consistent favourite with hobbyists and professionals alike. However, a manufacturing team consistently motivated to improve our products and with an ear to the ground for customer feedback resulted in an evolution of the trap in 2023. The new design is more robust, lighter and more cost-effective.  

By changing the design of the lamp support, our manufacturing team were able to reduce the amount of steel used, saving on both weight and cost. We also upgraded the material used for the moth trap panels to a more rigid and environmentally friendly material, constructed from 70% recycled plastic. Finally, our team developed a system that allows the NHBS Moth Trap to run off a 12V battery using an inverter kit. A full night’s trapping is now possible using a single battery. 

The NHBS Moth Trap was designed in consultation with Butterfly Conservation. NHBS is proud to support the excellent work they carry out with each sale of the trap. 

A Professional Hand Net frame in progress.

Nets for every occasion 

There is a sense of pride in the development of the iconic orange banded nets that NHBS produce. Without knowing it, you may have seen them in action on prime-time television shows including Springwatch and the BBC flagship series Earth that featured Chris Packham using an NHBS plankton net in the first episode.  

Our bestselling Professional Hand Net also forms a key part of the Riverfly Partnership approved survey kit. Our relationship with the Riverfly Partnership dates back to when NHBS originally acquired EFE & GB Nets in 2016, and we are pleased to further support the Partnership by making a donation to them with each sale of the kit. You can find out more about the great work the Riverfly Partnership are doing in our previous blog and on their website. 

Conservation research and monitoring 

At NHBS we are experienced in working with our customers to either develop or improve equipment for use in monitoring wildlife. Where necessary we seek out experts who can examine the design of the product and give feedback on improvements; not only to meet project requirements, but also to ensure the design is sympathetic to the wildlife that are subject to the equipment’s use.  

Early in 2023, we wanted to overhaul our Three Bank Harp Trap and so reached out to respected and experienced ecologist Neil Middleton of Batability. Neil and his team gave crucial feedback on the trap’s existing design and highlighted areas where improvements could be made. This allowed our manufacturing team to refine the design so that it maximised the safety of the bats that were caught, as well as making it easier for ecologists to use. By listening to the experts and users and making their recommended changes to the design, we now have a product that we are exceptionally proud of. 

A visiting team from LIST collaborate with NHBS engineers on the exciting NEWTCAM project.

NHBS manufacturing in 2024 

This year promises to be full of exciting developments, including the NEWTCAM project that NHBS is working on in collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).  As well as providing a novel approach to monitoring amphibians, NEWTCAM represents a very different type of technology for our manufacturing team, giving them a chance to learn valuable skills which can be utilised in future products. The first units are currently in production and will be made available to early users for field testing from spring 2024. 

At NHBS we are committed to finding the best materials and are constantly working to improve the sustainability of the production methods we use. If you have a project or product you think we could help with, please do not hesitate to get in touch using our contact form. 

Made in Britain Logo

We are also pleased to announce that we have been awarded the use of the Made in Britain logo for all product manufactured in our NHBS workshop in Devon.

Made in Britain logo showing the Union Jack flag and grey text saying 'Made in Britain'.