How are the worlds of software development and mechanical engineering connected? How can a company put mechanical and electrical engineers at the same table with IT developers? What opportunities arise from this? What are the implications of today’s digitalisation trends? These are the questions we sought to answer in our interview with Dr. Péter Várady, CEO of DMG MORI HEITEC Digital Kft. and HEITEC Hungary Kft. where he talked about the applications developed by both companies, the company’s plans and the link between software and machine tools.


The beginnings

The international HEITEC Group has a history of almost 40 years. Starting out as a classic engineering company in the field of automation solutions, today it has a wide range of competencies in the areas of electronics, manufacturing and quality control systems as well as digitalisation. The group is still family-owned and has its headquarters in Erlangen, Germany, with more than 1000 employees. It also has around 10 German sites and subsidiaries in Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Turkey, China and, for more than 4 years, Hungary.

„Previously, I started as a software developer in an industrial IT development company where I later became a division manager, and spent the last 10 years at the software development company as managing director, – says Dr. Várady Péter. “During that time, I learned a lot, I was involved in organic growth, acquisitions and all the things that come with growing an SME into a large company. In 2018, I joined HEITEC as CEO, which has also grown rapidly in Hungary, morphing into an engineering company with a broad range of competences, working as a developer and integrator in electronics, software, mechanical engineering and digitalisation solutions.”

Joint venture between HEITEC and DMG MORI

HEITEC in Germany had already been in contact with DMG MORI before, as they had worked together on the development of CELOS. In Hungary, HEITEC started system testing of CELOS in 2019 and set up a test lab for this purpose.

“At that time we were testing version 5, now version 6 is already on the market. We had a team of 6 people, the number of which doubled half a year later. At the end of 2019, I received the news that that HEITEC and DMG MORI were in talks to set up a joint development centre. DMG MORI HEITEC Digital how came into being, in which HEITEC holds a slightly larger share in order to be able to retain the flexibility of a medium-sized company,” says Várady.

An integrated digitalisation platform is currently being developed, with services covering the entire production lifecycle. This includes various solutions from DMG MORI’s portfolio or areas of interest, such as WERKBLIQ, ISTOS, UP2PARTS, PAYZR, CONNECTIVITY and ADAMOS STORE, as well as the latest version of CELOS. In addition to the development teams already established in Germany, the Hungarian headquarters was opened in 2020 and expanded to almost 150 employees within two years. Growth is far from stopping here, which is not only measured by the number of employees or the number of orders. The work done here is increasingly value-adding, as the development engineers in Budapest are being given more and more responsibility.

Wide range of activities and manpower

DMG MORI HEITEC’s mission is software development, including the development of integrated digitalisation solutions and services for the machine tool industry. In addition to new products, the further development of software solutions previously created at various locations is now also supported by a competence centre in Budapest, making the work faster and more efficient.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to find good skilled workers for development, and this is no different in Germany. Especially in the IT sector, there is an increasing demand for more and more experts. Here in Hungary we offer attractive jobs to development engineers, because we produce world-class products that will shape the future of the industry. I would even say they are real engineering works of art. We also try to offer our colleagues the most flexible working conditions possible,” – Várady emphasises.

Software development with a background in mechanical engineering

The question arises as to how software development and digitalisation fit in with DMG MORI’s core profile: machine tool manufacturing. DMG MORI has recognised several years ago that digitalisation is the next milestone in the world of industry, to which the company pays particular attention, as digitalisation in the field of machine tools holds enormous potential. To support this, HEITEC and DMG MORI have joined forces to collaboratively develop digitisation solutions for industry.

“You hear a lot about the fourth industrial revolution triggered by digitalisation: about new business models and the focus on increasing efficiency. DMG MORI is pursuing a very good digitalisation strategy to lead the entire machine tool industry into the digital age. Here at DMG MORI HEITEC, we have been working for more than two years on software solutions and services that cover the entire manufacturing lifecycle, from order management and production planning to maintenance and servicing. In many cases, even machines from other manufacturers can be integrated into these solutions,” – says Várady

Balance of supply and demand

“DMG MORI is responsible for most of the customer support as well as product management. At the same time, we are getting more and more feedback from the customers, we are following the local market. Last summer we started selling products and digital services in the region, some of which are developed here. We are now launching our product support and integration service. We have two digital sales colleagues who work closely with our machine sales colleagues in the surrounding countries.”

Market and development are thus closely linked, and the response is extremely good. Since development and sales are done internally, there are many synergies and a transfer of knowledge between the two functions. This has also been noticed at DMG MORI, which gives the Hungarian development centre more and more trust.

Global team

“It is a long road, we are still at the beginning of the distribution process. We expect and hope to see exponential growth in the next 3 to 5 years. Currently we have a team of 3-4 people in sales and product support, and we believe we can double that number within a year,” – says Várady

The products developed with the company’s help are of course not only distributed by DMG MORI regionally, but also globally. In addition to the expansion of sales channels, global product development is also constantly evolving, so that DMG MORI HEITEC’s product and software development is involved in the work of an international project team.

Impact on the IT sector

DMG MORI also draws inspiration for software development from its own example: The products developed are also used in the company’s own factories, so that feedback on software development comes first-hand. The development needs and suggestions of customers are fed back to the development department via DMG MORI’s sales network and are bundled by the product managers and incorporated into the development.

DMG MORI has always been known for its constant pursuit of industrial innovation. With its digitalisation strategy, the company is now once again leading the way, improving the world of manufacturing and creating the concept of the digital factory. The developments cover the entire production cycle, where progress must not stop, new functionalities and new solutions are needed, based on the needs of customers in the market.

Digitisation in Hungary

„The digitisation aspirations of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies are more difficult to serve, but more and more smaller companies are recognising the value of such development, as the investment can pay off in the short term. The main purpose of these applications is to increase the efficiency of existing machines or to create new business opportunities. The receptiveness to this is increasing. Of course, a lot of investments were cut back last year because of COVID, and there were signs of recession in the automotive industry before that. But now customers are more open to digital solutions again.”

With developments and investments in the field of digitalisation, it is understandable that a small company with 20-30 employees cannot necessarily afford what a multinational company can. DMG MORI recognised this challenge when developing its strategy and has therefore made its products highly scalable so that solutions can be tailored to actual customer needs and the number of machines, even on a monthly subscription basis. In addition, DMG MORI places great emphasis on offering solutions that are manufacturer-independent, enabling the company to distribute its solutions to a much wider target audience. The WERKBLiQ service application, the ISTOS production planning application and the TULIP system for supporting manufacturing sites are at the forefront of this.

Future-proof improvements

„Our software developer base has been expanded, we have been able to hire excellent professionals whose knowledge we can build on for future development” – says Dr. Várady Péter. “We plan to increase our staff by 15-20 % this year and next. However, software developers need to work with mechanical and electrical engineers, they need to understand production processes and how a machine tool works. This does not happen overnight. That’s why we support our colleagues in acquiring knowledge through training and factory visits.

DMG MORI HEITEC attaches great importance to the qualification of the employees and the familiarisation of the IT specialists with the machine tools. Their goal is to let all developers see live what they are working on. The company offers training and factory tours at FAMOT, one of the most modern and digitalised plants in the group, so that colleagues can learn more about production and see the products they are developing in action.

“To showcase our own developments, we are planning to set up a virtual showroom, a digital factory. We are working together with our colleagues from DMG MORI so that we can comprehensively demonstrate the software solutions and the connections between them.”

Security and reliability are of paramount importance for the future and represent real key issues in software development. We live in a time when cybercrime is becoming more and more threatening, so data security is a fundamental requirement.

“DMG MORI HEITEC achieved ISO 27001 certification just six months after the company was founded, which only a few companies have managed to do in such a short time. It is important to protect not only customer data, but all aspects of product development,” Várady emphasised.

Industry-independent solutions or solutions for the machine industry?

DMG MORI HEITEC’s solutions are primarily designed for mechanical engineering, but there is also distinctly industry-neutral software, such as TULIP, which we distribute. The software is a flexible platform for creating applications that can be used to increase process reliability, for easy data collection and for tracking production – all features that can be used by any industry.

“DMG MORI integrates TULIP into its own processes and also offers it in Europe as a standalone solution. We also distribute TULIP and employ our own application engineer for it, so we will quickly address companies that are not explicitly machine tool manufacturers,” says Várady. “I would also like to highlight WERKBLiQ, precisely because it is manufacturer-independent. It is a service and maintenance platform that can be used to look after entire factories and plants that have a heterogeneous machine structure. It can be used not only in the machine tool industry, but can also be localised in other areas. It can be configured in many different ways.” – says Várady. “I would also like to highlight WERKBLiQ, precisely because it is manufacturer-independent. It is a service and maintenance platform that can be used to look after entire factories and plants that have a heterogeneous machine structure. It can be used not only in the machine tool industry, but can also be localised in other areas. It can be configured in many different ways.”

What does the future hold?

It is important for us that the development engineers working here feel as closely connected as possible with the company and the products we develop here. We have to work on this continuously, because the know-how of our employees is the most important asset of our company. That is why we pay attention to continuous professional development and challenges as well as a working environment with maximum flexibility.

“As I mentioned earlier, DMG MORI is aiming to digitally transform the entire industry. Overall, DMG MORI’s digitalisation portfolio is already so extensive that I think it has become inevitable in this area, and with it the developments that are taking place at DMG MORI HEITEC.”