A friend of mine went over to Yorkshire last month and smuggled back 10 stainless Flatpack traps bought direct from the company. There is a story there, but I won't go into that now. I got chance to look over the traps today and compare them with those I bought a couple of years ago and some more recent purchases. Just to remind those who have been following this thread I got a batch of Flatpack Ultimate Stainless traps about three years ago, another batch 6 months later and a third batch last year. The traps from each batch are different and in my opinion, they are progressively getting worse.
Batch 1; 65m across, heavy gauge stainless body, springs and loops.
Batch 2: 65mm across, less heavy gauge body, similar springs and loops.
Batch 3: 74mm across, thinner still body material with slightly grey powder coating and slightly weaker wire used in the loops.
The ones my friend bought are even worse than my third batch. They are still 74mm across the body which is far too wide for my liking. Remember the original Duffus traps are 60mm wide. When setting them I could feel that the spring was not as strong as my other traps and when I got some of them out of the van to compare it was obvious that the springs on the new traps were weaker than my three year old traps and each of the other type. It gets worse! The trigger loops travelled so far back before triggering the trap that they were almost touching each other, I got my small pliers out to bend them forward as I have done with all the Flatpack traps and again it was noticeable that the trigger loops were of a softer material to the older traps. Same with adjusting the trigger latches. Soft as putty compared to the hard work needed to adjust the older traps. Something definitely changed in the wire work. I fettled all the traps and also squashed them down to 65mm wide as I have done with my newer batch of Flatpacks. But whereas I needed a vice to squeeze the older traps, the new ones could be done by hand. The metal is much thinner than the older traps as is evident by the stamping of the Flatpack name showing through the reverse side of the trap body.
The only good news is that the traps do run smooth and can be fettled in a lot less time. However, it does raise questions about the longevity of these traps. Maybe my first batch are over engineered and traps don't need to be made as strong as these? Talking of questions though; when I asked Flatpack if they had changed their design or materials after receiving my third batch they denied it. But the evidence is there for me to see. The new traps are the same prices as before, but they ain't the same quality as before.