Tim Jones approached PES Ltd in 2004. His business idea was that pubs, clubs and restaurants needed to have a way to dispense fresh lemon slices. He wanted to provide a product that would fulfil this function.
The photo above shows how far Tim progressed with this award-winning invention. However, it started with a simple apparatus to test the working principle (below). We decided to make a mock-up to test the idea: would the blade cut the lemons (half-lemons) cleanly and evenly or would they just squash and become a mess?
The results were actually inconclusive initially. The blade seemed sharp but the apparatus was only partially successful. We discovered that this was due to the acid in the lemon juice attacking the edge of the knife (which was not stainless steel) causing it to blunt very quickly. Using fresh lemons and a stainless-steel blade seemed to solve this and we moved on to build a first-prototype. As well as this, the mock-up helped to select the angle of the blade and other key features.
This worked well and justified Tim’s basic design concept : stacking a vertical column of prepared lemon halves and having a horizontal ‘guillotine’. It enabled Tim to file his patent application knowing that he had worked out a viable solution and solved the initial design problems. The design was then further developed by Tim using funds from the Wales Innovators Network (WIN).
Tim Jones and his company fully developed the design into a viable product as you can see below. This won the “Invention of the Year” award (Industrial section 1) at the 2006 British Invention Show.
Tim appeared briefly on Dragon’s Den in 2007. The Dragon’s were not interested but undeterred Tim continued to seek backers.
Tim launched his company and the Smart Slice sold successfully in the UK and in mainland Europe.
Unfortunately, one of the first casualties of the Credit Crunch was the pub industry and after a number of successful and profitable years, Tim was unable to continue trading. But watch this space for future developments!