Many of the world's leading small and medium sized enterprises don't come from the US or Japan, but from German towns like Wüstenselbitz or Weiler-Simmerberg. We show you these "World Champions."
Part 1 - Display cabinets made by Hahn
These display cabinets can be found in museums and galleries around the world. The family firm was founded in 1836. Today Glasbau-Hahn is one of the world's leading manufacturers of glass cabinets. Carmen Meyer went to find out what's made the company so successful for 5 generations.
Part 2 - Road Markings
When somewhere in the world a street, parking lot or runway needs to be marked with lanes, it's almost sure to be done by a machine built in the small town of Rellingen north of Hamburg. The 60-year-old family-owned company Hofmann Marking Systems has built its economic success from lines on the road, and the machines for painting them. It's a more complicated process than you might think. How do you paint solid lines vs. dashes, for example? And can it be done in the pouring rain? Report by Hagen Tober
Part 3 - Scarves made by Fraas
FRAAS, another family-owned company in Bavaria, has been making scarves and shawls since 1880. The thistle logo indicates the method of combing the cashmere scarves with a special thistle roller. With an annual production of 8 million scarves a year, FRAAS is a world leader. Woven scarves are made in Germany, knitted scarves in China, and all over the globe, luxury and quality are the watchword. Owner Robert Schmidt uses fine material and reputable designers to make accessories that are exported all over the world. Report by Lydia Leipert.
Part 4 - A Champagne Bottle Wire Hood Is More Than Just A Piece Of Wire
Everyone has had one in his hand, and probably didn’t even give it a second thought: a wire cork hood from the Schneider Metal Works. Eight out of every ten wire hoods put on champagne bottles world-wide are produced at the Schneider company’s main factory in Bad Münster-Ebernburg in the Rheinland-Palatinate. Around 2 billion such devices leave the assembly line at Schneider & Co. yearly –produced on machines that were created by the company itself, which remain one of its most carefully guarded secrets. Philipp Bilsky gets an inside peek at how Schneider was able to capture an international market for a product with just a piece of wire.
Part 5 - High-Tech-Yarns from the Allgäu
The W. Zimmermann company, located in south-western Germany, produces technical threads and high-tech yarns. The firm employs 80 people. Zimmermann's business manager Hans-Peter Mauch is responsible for much of the company's success. Over the last few decades, he's helped the firm become the market leader with products like elastic threads for socks and medical yarns. And Mauch is now focussing his attention on high-tech yarns which can be used to make heatable textiles for ski jackets or heatable components for car interiors. The firm's latest innovation is a fabric which shields people from cell phone radiation. Christian Pricelius reports.
Part 6 - Blowing Bubbles in the Swabian Alb
Bubble-blowing is a popular pastime among children around the globe. Founded in 1948, Pustefix is now in its third generation of family management. The company's trademark bubble mix and related toys have seen it rise to global market leader - despite fierce competition from both Asia and the US. Pustefix has remained loyal to its south-west German roots and production is still based in Tübingen. A report by Miltiades Arsenopoulos.
Part 7 - Arri Cameras
Whenever feature films are shot, it's likely that some of the equipment used will be made by the Munich-based ARRI company. For decades, ARRI has been a world market leader not only when it comes to professional film cameras but also cinematic lighting technology. Dan Hirschfeld visited the company, seeing how even 30-year-old cameras are repaired and serviced by hand, while right next door ARRI is producing the latest in laser light technology for the films of tomorrow. The company's engineers say this successful combination of old hands-on tradition with forward-looking modernity is one of the reasons ARRI has remained in the forefront of its field.