The origin of Lion Lasers
Robert van Teeffelen explains:
I graduated in 2000 with a specialisation in laser techniques. After designing and making experimental machines for a while at the TU (University of Technology) in Eindhoven, I started a company in laser productions from my garage. The first step was an Nd:YAG laser especially for high quality engraving in metal and plastics. We sold the machines from a German manufacturer to our customers in the Netherlands, but the emphasis was mostly on performing engravings commissioned by customers. From the “studio” in our garden we engraved (sometimes with the whole family) thousands of components, lighters, pens, cups and other objects.
In 2006, we bought our first real business premises; a large space divided over two floors in a multi company building in Breda.
As I worked a lot together with Chinese people during my time at the TU, I got the idea to import laser systems from China. Together with a Chinese colleague, I travelled the whole Chinese country to see where and if good quality products were being produced. We brought our first systems to the Netherlands in 2007, and they sold like hot cakes. During this time we were the only provider who offered Chinese laser systems along with installation, training and maintenance. Furthermore, we adjusted all systems ourselves to fulfil the CE requirements.
However, the quality was not what we engineers had envisioned. That’s why we were looking for a compromise between Chinese prices and German quality. At the same time, we grew bigger and bigger.
At the end of 2009, our 2nd business premises at the Gijzenveld were a fact. We were given more space, which was needed to develop laser systems ourselves. This soon resulted in 3 new laser systems, made in Breda. The LionIndex, the LionFiber and the LionMatch are especially suitable for marking (engraving) larger production numbers. A year later, the first Dutch engraving laser saw the light of day. The BabyLion was born. A compact, all-round laser system for both the hobbyist and the professional. All intended as “standard” machines with the widest possible use. At about the same time, the finishing touches were being made to the Lion Jeans. Which was specially developed for applying beautiful designs to denim, fleece and leather with a transparent housing for the optimal experience in stores.
In this phase, the company received more and more professional customers. Larger companies with larger production volumes. Our position as the only party in the Netherlands that can custom-make industrial laser systems led to a demand for more and more customer-specific solutions. Like the “Egg Laser”, which engraves 10.000 eggs per hour. This growth soon resulted in another space problem. Initially, 2 more units were rented from a neighbour, but at the end of 2014 we had set our sights on a new building on the Nikkelstraat in Breda.
By furnishing the new premises, we were immediately able to improve our work processes. The Chinese laser systems have since been removed from the range, but we still stick to concepts with the best possible price. Smarter designs enable us to offer high-quality Dutch laser systems with less labour. We are therefore proud to refer to “Dutch Laser Systems”. Laser systems made in the Netherlands.
My vision for hiring staff has always been that motivation and fun in your work come first. I prefer to adapt the function to the person rather than put someone in a box where he or she does not feel happy. I am proud of a great team of people who know how to develop the most beautiful devices in a pleasant atmosphere. People who know how to surprise customers with that little bit extra. Always up for a challenge, working on a new product or testing for a new market demand. This is how we keep raising the bar.