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Platts and Nistet craftsmanship


From the moment we opened our doors in 1977, the human touch has been vital to our Company’s ethos of unrivalled craftsmanship and performance. At our Sheffield factory, a team of highly skilled Surgical Instrument Makers endeavour to hand craft the finest Surgical Instruments available today. 

Platts & Nisbett Craftsmen have spent a lifetime learning, practicing, and then teaching traditional techniques which take years to master. Our tradition of craftsmanship is unlike any other in this industry, and passing our skills on to the next generation is vital. We take pride in the Surgical instruments we produce by hand, and it is this exceptional attention to detail that makes a Platts & Nisbett Surgical Instrument instantly recognisable. The way it looks, the balance, the way it feels. In simple terms, its Quality.

People have often asked why our Surgical Instruments are not produced by machines. For example, the teeth on our Atraumatic Clamps are filed by hand, as a machine would tear the metal. They are so fine that once hand filed they have to be inspected using strong magnification lenses. Therefore, if you are wondering why we use people and not robots, the answer is that a machine would be unable to reproduce the techniques required. A machine would be unable to meet our exacting standards, a machine would not know how the instrument feels. We are proud to deliver our Quality through Craftsmanship.


Close up of working hands
The Hand of Surgical Instrument Maker. A Master Craftsman © Platts & Nisbett


Over the last 40 Years, Platts & Nisbett Surgical Instruments have become synonymous with Quality.

You may ask, what is it that makes our products so different? Well, we can tell you.

Firstly we use only the highest quality raw materials; our Stainless Steel conforms with International Quality Standards, and is fully traceable.

Then it’s all the extra touches, the attention to detail, the hand craft we put in to each and every one. If we know it functions well, and it “feels right” then the surgeon will love it. Well made, well balanced Surgical Instruments are always so much appreciated in Operating Theatres.

Of course, being able to judge how the instrument feels is only something we know from our years of experience.

The “set” or tension of the instruments is so important, and perfecting this can only be done by time served Surgical Instrument Makers. 

Looking at their hands, you can see they really are genuine, traditional Craftsmen. Every line, every crease, every callus has the story of a Surgical Instrument behind it. How many Surgical Instrument Companies can show you this?

Here are some examples of the hand crafted skills involved in the manufacture of our Surgical Instruments.


All Platts & Nisbett Self Retaining Retractors are rigorously tested throughout manufacture and prior to despatch. Each rack and trigger are individually filed by hand, ensuring that the correct radius is achieved. This ensures smooth operation of the instrument, and guarantees that the retractor will not slip during use.

Retractor rack with file
Hand Filing of a Retractor Rack
© Platts & Nisbett
Retractor rack filed
Hand Filed Retractor Rack
© Platts & Nisbett


Teeth are bent by hand using special tooling which we also manufacture. We ensure that the teeth intermesh correctly, so the Retractor can be opened and closed with ease. Perfectly formed teeth mean that the incision can be opened in a safe and controlled way during surgery.

Retractor unbent teeth
Retractor Teeth before bending
© Platts & Nisbett
Retractor bent teeth
Bending of Retractor Teeth using traditional Hand Tools
© Platts & Nisbett


Filing to create Atraumatic Teeth using traditional hand tools
Filing to create Atraumatic Teeth using traditional Hand Tools
© Platts & Nisbett


The teeth on Platts & Nisbett Atraumatic Clamps are carefully and skilfully hand filed.

A machine would be unable to do this without tearing the metal. As the word Atraumatic translates to Non-Traumatic, the quality of the teeth is vital.

They must intermesh perfectly so the instrument can clamp the vessel and stop blood flow, without causing damage. The tension or “set” of the instrument is also done by hand.

We have to judge how it feels, as the instrument must feel smooth, and be able to close progressively on each catch.



Before the Clamp is assembled, the male and female parts of the instrument have to be joined together, or “put through” as it is known in the trade. The box joint is heated up and opened by hand, ensuring there is no stress which may cause subsequent metal fatigue. This means that the instrument is reliable during surgery, and ensures our box joints will not crack when pressure is applied.

The same heating process is also used when creating the bends / curves / angles required. This is something which could not be done by a machine, as the temperature of the metal is judged by eye, purely by its colour. It is a truly traditional hand craft which is usually carried out by a team of two. One craftsman will set the tooling whilst the other works on the instrument whilst it is still hot. An impressive skill which you can see on our factory tour.

Clamp being heated pre bending
Heating before bending by hand
© Platts & Nisbett


Lucs cropped
Precision Hand Filing using traditional Hand Tools
© Platts & Nisbett


The delicate hand filing of a Surgical Instrument is a skill which takes many years to master. We are the last remaining UK Manufacturer of the Lucs Forcep, and when you see the intricate filing technique used to create the Heart Shape, it is easy to see why. This is only done by expert Craftsmen with years of experience at Platts & Nisbett.