Featured Business: Leawood Technology (Derbyshire, UK)

We took five minutes to sit down with Leawood Technology, who are based in Derbyshire, UK to chat about what inspires them, and how they got into the laser industry. We were very impressed by the work they’ve been showcasing on their website and Facebook page, as well as their motto “technology led innovative solutions”. Take five minutes to check them out.


Contact name:                                Tony Saunders

How can people get in touch:
[email protected]
Tel: 07780 665554

Location:                                        United Kingdom

Staff:                                                  2 involved… sometimes a third.

How did you get into business or get started I am a software /  electronics engineer by training, but found my way into the computer industry in the 1990’s, working for several large corporate companies (British Steel / The BOOTS Company), before joining a small, local, software company (IdeaGen Software) in 1997 to run their technical and support department. The company specialised in software for document management and was aimed at quality management and highly regulated industries. In 2004 the company was ailing and needed change.  Cutting a long story short, I took a huge risk and decided to buy the company from the owners. We had a hard row to hoe, but I had some good staff and we built it up to a recognised leader in the industry before I sold the company in 2011.

I still joke that my ‘elevator pitch’ (a 10 second line that succinctly explains what you do to a stranger in a lift) was enough to put people to sleep: “I run a company that develops, supports and sells document and quality control management solutions into highly regulated industries” … you could see their eyes napping before I had finished.

I realised I had spent 20 years in businesses where the main product wasn’t really tangible, and I developed a fierce desire to do three things; One was to start making something you could hold in your hand; Two, was to reverse the culture of ‘outsourcing’ and in my small way help bring manufacture back into the UK. Three,  I wanted to do a job that I could fall in love with… something I could do with a passion. To reignite the spark!

So I started a small workshop, taking my skills as a design and software engineer and adding CNC machining into the mix to make small, after-market components. I had looked at laser cutting and engraving back in about 2008 and decided to add a machine to my small workshop. After much research I bought a Trotec Speedy 400 last year. A big investment but one I haven’t regretted.

Leawood Tech hasn’t been going long (about a year) and between ‘real work’ we spend a lot of time experimenting and pushing boundaries with the laser. It’s like Lego was as a kid – you can use it to model anything you can imagine.

My small homage to my old elevator speech is our tagline: “technology led innovative solutions” … but my new elevator speech these days is much better… I simply take a cool laser or CNC cut product out of my pocket and say “…actually, I make this” and watch their eyes light up as they ask a thousand questions!

What is your specialty?

We love taking customer ideas and turning them into reality – embracing technology to achieve this. We’re not geared for massive volume (yet!) so we concentrate on small volume, exceptional quality and top-drawer service.

We intend to expand our capabilities to encompass 3D scanning and additive technologies as well as a large CNC router in the next 6-9 months. Slightly longer term we are currently looking to include 5-axis capability if we can build up the potential business in that area.

What makes you unique?:

I don’t know if we’re unique, but when people come to us with an idea, we have a passion about turning it into a reality. We love ‘off-the-wall’ and invest every single penny we make back into the business. To say I love this job doesn’t begin to do justice to my approach.

What is your favourite job:       

It was a very small thing really. Sam and I designed a new bolt release for the Benelli M2 shotgun as a way of learning CNC milling with a Tormach PCNC 1100. We broke a few end mills and spent about 120 hours on it. We learned about anodising aluminium and eventually had a perfect CNC part, anodised and finished off with a personalisation option of laser engraved text. It combined CAD / CAM, materials knowledge, manufacturing techniques and finally anodising processes and jog-making to allow it to be personalised. We learned so much and had a lot of fun into the bargain …  win-win!!

What is your dream project:          

To create a huge 3D laser engraved map of the Derbyshire Peak District, good enough for use at the main visitor centre at Edale. We’re based here at Matlock and our workshop is in the Peak District which was Britain’s first (and best 🙂 ) National Park. I’ve been experimenting with a few smaller maps between other projects.

Finally, what is your all time favourite job:

Wim Delvoye’s laser cut dump truck I think… twisted version here – stunning!!

Some of Leawood Technology’s jobs: