Introduction to Lenz GmbH
By Bernd Lenz, President Lenz GmbH
Welcome. My company has provided this site so that information about our company and products can be shared in the world wide DCC market. We have been in business since 1991!
My background training is in physics and electronics with my earlier professional years spent in the Physics Department at Giessen University. I have been an avid model railroader for forty-two years, beginning with the famous Christmas tree circle train set from my parents. .
Prompted by the limitations of regular analog control, my explorations into command control began over thirty years ago. I especially disliked operating analog engines, whose lights went out when they stopped. Another limitation that particularly annoyed me was the inability to independently operate engines in close proximity.
These limitations led me to search for new ideas for controlling trains and accessories. During the next years many ideas were worked, but there was no perfect fit.
The break through was the progress in micro-electronic industry. With the small micro-processor development a new world of possibilities opened up for controlling trains. These developments led to the DCC system, that is the basis of the system we now have, which was introduced in 1988.
At this time I designed for Marklin and Arnold. Lenz, GmbH was co-designer for the Marklin AC system, now called the Motorola packet format. The first product designed and developed by Lenz Elektronik was a circuit for a Marklin product. Other products were as far reaching as a dentist chair control circuit and another for the operation for kitchen range burners.
One of the reasons that I wished to design a new system was the fact that the Arnold product was just for N-Scalers. And since Arnold is 2 rail DC, the existing AC system didn't fit the requirements of either two rail or small N-Scale.
No one at this time had the idea to realize that small decoders could be programmed.
Then I introduced the new DCC packet format, that is independent of the direction of the loco. At that time this was very important step, in that the packet format was innovative.
In 1991 Digital Plus was introduced by Lenz GmbH to fulfill the needs of model railroading. The Digital Plus System offered walk around control, more functions in the engine( like horns, whistle, bells, smoke units, etc.).
In 1993 Lenz GmbH started the cooperation with the ROCO Company of Austria, designing and producing a new and successful starter set in DCC. And one year later the realization occurred in the co-operation of designing, and producing a multi-train control for LGB. Both ROCO and LGB are based on the DCC standard.
In 1996 we redesigned our command station and decoders to be able to earn the prestigious NMRA conformance warrant. We are the first manufacturer to ship a fully compliant DCC system with decoder. In 1996 Lenz GmbH also began cooperation with ConCor in the US. In 1998 we began producing for Atlas a decoder board for their SD-60 locomotive and we continue to product for ROCO more advanced products for DIGITAL is COOL line. We expanded our OEM work with the Atlas Master DCC line in the US. A few years back we were chosen to create and design the Bachmann E-Z Command DCC systems and decoders.
Our own Digital plus by Lenz line continues to grow. Please note that our Digital Plus is an open system and the first upgradable system in the market. The introduction of the first emf decoder for DCC, represented a leap in the duplication of prototype throttle sensitivity. Producing this for N Scale is a significant engineering accomplishment that was achieved with the LE010XF following by the 0521, and currently the Gold Mini decoders.
During the development of the NMRA DCC standards, I cooperated with the DCC working group providing the basis for the NMRA's DCC. Now with the adoption of the Standards and Recommended Practices my company will do everything we can to ensure that the overall DCC movement started by the NMRA continues. Our position on NMRA Conformance is but the first in a series of announcements towards that end.
Currently the company has grown to twenty-five employees and the our company building was built 15 years ago. In 1995 Lenz, GmbH had a turnover of more then 3 million dollars and produced nearly 100,000 decoders, we have grown a lot since then!. The company will continue to be on the forefront of new innovations and designs for the DCC modeling community. Thankfully these numbers have continued to grow as the DCC technology is embraced by more and more model railroaders around the world.
We are always interested in hearing feedback from you, the model railroad public. Let us know what new products you might like to see and what additions you would like to see included on our WWW site.
Thanks for visiting.
Bernd Lenz, President Lenz GmbH