Modelleisenbahn GmbH, along with the “Roco” brand, is one of the three most important European companies on the market and is also the market leader in the DC system sector. The company employs around 560 people at its head office in Bergheim near Salzburg in Austria, as well as in its plants in Gloggnitz in Lower Austria, Banská Bystrica in Slovakia and Arad in Romania. More than 80% of the goods produced are exported. With more than 50 per cent of sales, German is the main customer of Modelleisenbahn GmbH, followed by Austria, its domestic market.
Engineer Heinz Rössler and his wife laid the foundation stone for the Roco company in 1960. In this year, the company founder called the company “Ing. Heinz Rössler” into life. He started with modest means but with huge dreams...
Let's turn the wheel of time back a bit.
1960: The economy was booming and people were confident about the future. Television was still in its early years; a new and bold style of music was breaking new ground; people were beginning to conquer space; and the relatively new material of plastic was increasingly becoming widespread.
The exciting idea
And this material was the signal for engineer Heinz Rössler. With farsightedness he had recognised the sign of the time: a lot more detail could be reproduced with the plastic injection moulding process than with metal injection moulding – and more cheaply, too! After a team of outstanding specialists had been put together, military models were the first to be manufactured – with an abundance of fine detail that had never been seen before. They were hugely successful - especially on the US market where such models were in demand. It sounds like a fairy tale from days gone by when an American business partner wrote: “Send as much as you can...”
Getting into model railways...
But only a few years after starting with the “mini tanks”, ROCO started to produce model railway cars according to American prototypes – at first for H0 and 0 tracks.
The first N models followed in 1965 and 1966. In 1967 Roco launched its first H0 models onto the European market. They enjoyed huge success, especially in Germany where the competition was surprised by the top-class constructed models as well as by the favourable prices.
And this is how the product range was expanded, step by step. These days, Roco is one of the world's largest manufacturers of model railways in H0 and N sizes. This trend has been significantly influenced by a series of innovations that have inspired and enriched the entire model railway world.
Precision and innovation...
The Roco name is, therefore, a byword for the highest quality regarding details, scale and precision. A prime example may well be the Austrian steam locomotive 310.23, which is so finely detailed that it is close to the small batch models, has excellent operating characteristics, glides very quietly on the tracks thanks to the unrivalled Roco engine and – used digitally – travels so slowly even on inclines that one can discern the movement only upon close observation.
On this road to success, Roco has set milestones that have continued to strongly influence model railways. Roco helped the close coupler on the road to success. With the introduction of the Roco line track system, model railway enthusiasts had the opportunity to build their sets up with scale ballast track. But it is not only the correct scales that make this track system stand out but also its robustness and reliability.
Roco’s digital system has also been widely welcomed on the international market. Here too, Roco broke ground in many ways. Key terms that tell their own tale: LOKMAUS 2®, digital crane, digital coupling, digital switches, switch keyboard – and the ideas are limitless...
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