FREUDENREICH FEINWERKTECHNIK started in 1992 with the production of DIY model railway kits, as a hobby. Initially, N-scale kits were designed and manufactured, using East German originals. In 1994, the first Z-scale model products were offered, also based on East German originals. Since then, Z-models have taken priority over the manufacturing of N-scale kits.
In 1996, the design and manufacturing of Z-scale models and kits became a full time venture. During that time there were about ten small companies in Germany manufacturing Z-scale models and accessories, mostly using manual processing and assembly techniques. Considering the small market share in Z-scale, it was a great effort.
Within the chosen limitation to Swiss and U.S. models in design and production, FREUDENREICH FEINWERKTECHNIK has established a strong position as a manufacturer with international Z-scale model lovers.
Freudenreich's early internet presentation, initially at Z-world, improved the activity on the U.S. market. By 1998, it was evident that one person could no longer handle both design and production and therefore a very experienced co-worker works exclusively at manual assembly of the models since the beginning of 1999.
The existing production area soon became too small, that's why Freudenreich purchased a 400 square meter (4305 sq. ft.) real estate section in the industrial section of Sanitz, a town east of Rostock (Germany). The current 50 sqm (538 sq. ft.) of working space can easily be increased three times, using modular wall sections.
At this location FR does everything: design, manufacture, paintind and lettering of the models, including packaging and shipment. Many selected subcontractors manufacture individual parts using FR design specifications on their production lines. A small manufacturer would be unable to operate this kind of production line economically.
The main design work is done on a computer, the film layout for the etching process, the graphics for the reproduction of the decals with the original lettering, and many more items, such as drawings where the drive for the locomotive will be located in the model. Also dividing the drive into individual parts for a practical production process.
Before a new model is released for series-production, a prototype is assembled to optimize the manufacturing process and to eliminate any minor errors. The assembly process starts with cutting the pieces from the etched layout and the casting sprues; the parts are then deburred. The parts are primarily soldered and occasionally glued together; the mechanically-functional parts and groups are screwed together to allow disassembly.
The time involved to manually assemble a model, can only be realized by the ambitious individual who is using a kit and builds the model himself, paints and decals it. From experience with the assembly procedure and to keep dimensions within allowable tolerances, FR designed, for some critical assemblies, positioning tools to facilitate continuous quality and dimensional accuracy. The manufacturing capacity for 2001 is estimated at 700 models (locomotives and cars), as well as 150 kits.
Before the design of a model and manufacturing, a great deal of information about the original must be collected, from libraries, magazines and from manufacturers and drawings and pictures obtained.
In 2008 we have increased our company's home with another two 20' container modules. With now 3 employees Freudenreich is now able to manage the increasing customer's desire.
What's your 'Freudenreich' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):