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Re: [Rollei] Visit to Rollei.

Ferdi, through your vivid and detailed report, we can
conclude that Rollei is alive yet. Thank you very

The TLR ideal for me would be the GX/FX with
self-timer, 220 film capability and Mutars upgraded,
anything else.-

All the best

- --- Ferdi Stutterheim <ferdi   escribió:
> Thursday morning at 08.00 am I left my home village
> of Drachten, The
> Netherlands, for the nearly 400 km trip to
> Braunschweig,Germany. The first
> stage was my old university city of Groningen to
> pick up Huib, who joined me
> on the trip. Then to Nieuweschans, Bremen, Hanover
> and Braunschweig were we
> arrived  at our meeting place: the Park and Ride in
> Salzdahlumer Strasse at
> 12.20 p.m. The rest of the gang, all members of the
> Rollei Club of the
> Netherlands, arrived shortly after and we made the
> short stroll to Number
> 196, Rollei Fototechnic, where we were received by
> Mr Dietmar Kanzer,
> Rollei´s Sales Chief.
> After lunch Mr Hubert Schmidt showed the present
> product line. Then it was
> time to visit the Rollei Museum. This museum was
> started by owner Samsung
> only in 1996. It consists of a former private
> general collection of cameras
> with some later additions. Rollei content is
> limited.
> Afterwards it was time to check in at Hotel
> Deutsches Haus in the city
> centre. At 7 p.m. it was time for the traditional
> dinner at the Brewery and
> Pub "Zum Löwen".
> Next morning at 10 a.m. it was time to visit the
> Rollei Factory. Rollei
> still use the oldest buildings of the factory
> complex connected by bridges,
> well known from old and new pictures. Other
> buildings now belong to
> different companies. The left hand building houses
> management and R and D.
> The larger, right hand building is the actual
> factory. Metal parts
> production is at ground floor. This is a mixture of
> old and new. Some old
> tools from the Fifties, relatively new machines by
> Heckler und Koch (20
> years old) and new computer programmed CNC machines
> (Matra and others). The
> new machines are able to perform a number tasks in a
> sequence. A complex
> part can be finished by one machine in one run.
> Older machines do just one
> task at the time. It will take many runs to finish a
> part.
> Rollei is in the process of rationalising
> production. Production of simple
> parts is being outsourced. There is still a lot to
> gain. We saw quite a
> number of people performing quite simple tasks like
> drilling a hole or
> bending a part.
> The first floor houses optics production and
> assembly lines. Optics is quite
> modern with new computer programmed glass cutting
> machines. The old
> Voigtländer stuff is gone now. Lens coating was
> outsourced recently when the
> old Leibolt-Heraeus machine broke down. HFT coating
> is now done by a
> specialist firm. Mr Kanzer told me they were hiring
> small companies around
> Wetzlar (split of from Leitz) for coating and other
> tasks. A completely
> refurbished production room was empty. This was
> meant for the production of
> electronic prints. These prints are outsourced too.
> The new room will house
> lens assembly shortly.
> All this means that quite a number of square metres
> in the factory are free.
> Rollei will abandon the office building and move
> offices to the factory
> building. The old office building will be let.
> Except for TLRs, the assembly lines are modern.
> Workers perform a number of
> tasks. Slide projector production is limited to
> Winter times; they do not
> sell in Summer. So now it was time for TLR
> production! Some 20 per day, a
> 100 per week. Thursday must have been a day for
> Rolleiflex FW (New
> Rollei-Wide) production. We saw 20 new Wides at
> final inspection. Production
> of Bay IV lens hoods is scheduled for the third week
> of May and BayIV lens
> caps will be finished in early June. Today FX
> production was on. This is
> still the old Fifties assembly line. It became quite
> clear why a Rolleiflex
> is expensive. A lady was hand painting the cutting
> edges of leather
> finishing in the right colour.  Otherwise the
> cutting edges would show
> unfinished leather.
> 6008 Assembly runs separate from TLR and is modern.
> Workers have a carousel
> with frames in front of them. Next to them a number
> of trolleys with parts.
> They take a frame form the carousel end add one or
> more parts. Then the
> frame is replaced and the carousel is turned to get
> to the next frame. And
> so on. Every day they start filling their carousel
> with frames and look for
> the trolleys with the right parts. After this they
> can remain seated for a
> few hours. At the end of the day the partly built-up
> frames are moved to
> next station. Assembly stations can easily be
> adapted to produce different
> models.
> So, quite a number of changes since my last visit,
> two years ago. I am
> convinced these changes are inevitable. Rollei also
> abandoned development
> and production of professional digital cameras. The
> life cycle of these
> cameras is too short for Rollei. It is left to
> electronic firms. That should
> worry us. Imaging is taken over from optical firms
> like Rollei (and Nikon
> and Canon?) by electronics companies like Sony and
> HP! Rollei consumer
> digital cameras are bought from others. Maybe
> professional models too.
> Rollei remain active in the field of digital backs
> for the 6000 series.
> At 1 p.m. it was time for lunch and time to pick up
> our purchases. I ordered
> a BayIV lens cap and a BayIV lens hood for my
> Classic Rollei Wide for
> delivery in June. They are copies of the old ones.
> We saw the prototypes.
> There are two small changes, the new hens hood is
> machined in one piece from
> one solid aluminium block. The old one consisted of
> a sheet metal hood
> fitted in a solid mount. The inside of the hood now
> shows ribbings.
> I would like to thank Rollei for their hospitality.
> Ferdi Stutterheim,
> Drachten, The Netherlands.
> ferdi@stutterheim.nl
> http://www.stutterheim.org
> http://www.stutterheim.nl
> http://www.rolleigraphy.org

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