In our latest It’s My Business interview we chat to Antony Gray, owner of sustainable cutting tool manufacturer Renovo Solutions, which was launched just over a year ago.

The Tanfield Lea-based engineering company is rapidly growing, thanks to investment from the North East Small Loan Fund, ERDF & grant funding from SAM Project, and is currently recruiting an apprentice to support further expansion.


Tell us more about Renovo Solutions?

We specialise in cutting tool manufacture, re-grinding and recycling of high-performance cutting tools, which is used by manufacturing companies and large OEMs mainly in the north east.

Our tagline is ‘increasing your bottom line’ because that’s basically what we do – we are helping manufacturing companies save money by re-grinding tools that historically end up in waste, which we now recycle for them, or, manufacturer tools more focused to their operations . For example, just recently we have worked with a company in Stanley and saved them over £20,000.

They couldn’t believe we were able to do that and the fact we’re based just five minutes from them was an added bonus.

We thank them for the opportunity, we are both in agreement, it was worthwhile.

If you are in the NE, manufacture parts with high performance carbide tooling and haven’t spoken with us yet, we suggest touching base. We will “increase your bottom line”.

We are the only company of our kind in the North, we are the only ANCA Linear CNC equipped cutting tool manufacturing and reconditioning facility, making a real difference to manufacturing companies bottom lines.

We are very grateful to the North East companies who are benefiting from our offering already.

The region is a close knit and social manufacturing area so keeping tool making and tool manufacturing here is as important to us as it is to you.


You’re based at Tanfield Lea Industrial Estate, aren’t you?

Yes, we moved into a unit on the estate a good few months ago to accommodate our growth. The unit is a decent size but already we can see we will grow out of it, so I have spoken to the landlord and there is space available to expand when we get to that point.


You recently secured a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund. Tell us more about that?

We presented a solid business plan to NEL with strategic growth plans and we received £50,000 of investment from the fund which we have used to bring in new equipment that will expand the range of tools we are able to manufacture, repair or renew. This is just the start of our investment journey.

The investment is massively enhancing the service we can offer and means the turnaround of service is so much quicker – in fact we can complete orders from hours to a few days which is a massive selling point for existing and new companies that in the past have had to wait weeks or even months for an order to be completed and delivered.


Tell us more about your plans to recruit?

There are currently four staff, two full time and two part time, but we are absolutely snowed under and orders are coming in thick and fast. What I’d like to do is recruit an apprentice with a precision tool making and manufacturing specialism, who can learn with us and become an asset to the business. It will be a fantastic opportunity for the right person as like our business, there won’t be an opportunity like it anywhere in the region. We are actively looking now.


What about Renovo’s plans for the future?

I’d definitely like to purchase another machine and introduce round-the-clock manufacture. That means getting to the point where we can leave on an evening with products being manufactured on the machines, ready for when we come back in the next day.

I think it will also get to the point when we need to look at shifts – at the moment we are working a standard day though because of the demand the hours are getting longer and longer.


You recently became a dad, didn’t you?

Yes, a couple of months ago my wife Katie gave birth to a little baby boy, Mason.

He’s absolutely fantastic and I love being a dad, even though it is a challenge juggling fatherhood with trying to grow the business.

Who knows, Mason may work for Renovo one day.


You’re a member of the Engineering and Manufacturing Network and recently exhibited at EMCON within the Incubator Zone. How was that for you?

It was fantastic, a really good experience. We’ve been putting ourselves out there to meet potential customers and EMCON was such a positive event to exhibit at. The Incubator Zone programme was also great for us as we got additional support which put us in a strong position to capitalise on our involvement. We are now in the process of following up leads and are confident we’ll win work from contacts made on the day.