From left: Leitz UK sales director Brian Maddox with Dennis Bechtold from Leitz German


The history of Leitz as a manufacturer of cutting technology goes back nearly 150 years and the German tooling firm has provided outstanding quality products and powerful insight to a wide range of customers. We caught up with sales director Brian Maddox on the company’s stand at Ligna.

“As we have grown over the years it has all been about improving productivity through processes, it’s not just about great tooling. We manufacture every tool, we test every tool, we even produce our tungsten carbide and that allows us to create the carbide to suit the specific application. We also make the tools that hold our tools – the collet chucks, spacers and sleeves – and that has a massive bearing on improving those processes,” said Brian.

As a company, Leitz works with a huge range of customers, from small joinery firms to substantial, high-automated factories producing significant volumes of kitchen components and anything in between. Of course, each of these customers has specific application requirements which will need assessing and understanding to ensure each customer achieves their required solution – this is where the company’s insight, experience and expertise gained over the generations comes to the fore and is a key differential for the company.

“A key part of our service is the testing and monitoring of our tools. Testing is carried out in-house using electron microscopes to ascertain the integrity of the tool, and burns tests are also carried out on the materials so that we can be proactive with customers, often before they know there’s a potential problem,” explains Brian.

The company is also very focused on shared intelligence from its considerable customer international insight.

“A customer in Japan came to one of my colleagues looking at saw blades where they are cutting a specific timber species – having worked through that particular situation that insight goes straight into the company’s skills bank. And at regular meetings, we have, such as trade shows like Ligna for instance, this expertise and awareness will enrich the insight that Leitz can deploy elsewhere and other customers benefit from that.

“In many ways, the company is as much about that understanding what it learns in different situations, and how that can benefit its customers throughout the world, as it does producing world-class cutting technology. Naturally, intelligence and excellent tooling combined are compelling propositions.

The ever-busy Leitz stand at Ligna

"Another way we consult for our clients’ benefit is the actual deployment of the tool in the correct manner – getting this absolutely correct and efficiently can in many cases save considerable overhead compared to tooling that’s being used incorrectly – and this is far from an uncommon issue.

"This is a key differential for Leitz insofar as higher tooling cost versus an overall achieved value consideration. Our tooling with our intelligence will always outperform cheaper tooling run in a less-than-optimal scenario. It’s about quantifying and qualifying and I can pretty much guarantee that our products will provide lower running costs overall,” said Brian.

In terms of the future for Leitz, how does Brian see this developing?

“Bright – I love it because there’s so much to do! The only trouble is there’s only so much you can get out and see, and only so much messaging you can get out to the market about what Leitz stands for and what we can do for our customers. Genuinely, I think we’re the best-kept secret in the world,” concludes Brian.

In terms of how the company stacks up numbers-wise, Leitz has, as you might imagine, achieved much since its 1876: for example there are 100 Leitz service locations worldwide, they have 8000 standard products and over 150,000 satisfied customers.

In summary, a relationship with Leitz is far more than simply obtaining quality tooling, it’s more of a consultative approach to improving a client’s productivity through processes, it’s a more holistic approach and sometimes a challenge to be heard, but for Leitz and its customers, the combination of premium tooling and application of intelligent production process wins out every time.