We would like to invite you to read the January issue of BusinessPl, where you will learn, among others, about the beginnings, evolution and flagship projects of DTI.Karolina Sywak, Managing Director, will present the history of the company

Design Technologies International Sp. z o. o. (DTI) – Three decades of innovation in the world of special machine tools.

Design Technologies International Sp. z o. o., known as DTI, is a company based in Racibórz, which has been proudly operating in the industry of special heavy duty machine tools since 1991. DTI supplies machine tools perfectly tailored to the individual needs of its customers. Thanks to its innovative approach and continuous investment in development, the company not only meets market expectations, but also sets new standards in the industry. The comprehensive implementation of over 160 unique projects for various industry sectors is proof of DTI’s professionalism and commitment. Thanks to such activities, the company has gained recognition not only on the Polish market, but also internationally.

We are pleased to present an interview with Ms. Karolina Sywak, Managing Director of DTI, who shares with us a fascinating story about the company’s evolution, flagship projects and the unique DTI Team that is the heart of the company.

Could you tell us about the history of the establishing and development of Design Technologies International Sp. z o. o.? What allowed the company to become one of the leading players in the special heavy duty machine tools industry in Poland and abroad?

Design Technologies International (DTI) was established in 1991. For many years, United States was the core market for us. Today, the American market is still very important, but domestic customers predominate. Since 2016, the majority shareholder of the company is the Belgian HACO group. The company’s headquarters is located in Racibórz, where we have a production workshop adapted to the assembly of heavy duty machine tools. From the beginning, the company focused on an individual approach to the customer and high quality. We believe that every project starts with the needs of our customers. The company’s founder used to say that “precision does not stand any compromise”, which is why we ensure the highest quality from the first stage of the project.

How has being part of the HACO group impacted DTI’s operations both technologically and business-wise?

75% of DTI is owned by the Belgian HACO group, while the remaining 25% belongs to the founder’s family. This gives us strong financial support, global service capabilities and an offer of custom (DTI) and standard (HACO) machine tools for many applications.

Could you describe what is the core of DTI’s activities? What types of machine tools the company designs and manufactures?

We design and manufacture special heavy-duty machine tools. We focus on tailor-made machines, we do not have standardized products. We offer solutions for demanding applications that require high torque, high power and ISO 60 or other specialized tools. Our portfolio includes only completed projects – we are constantly developing and expanding our offer. We delivered our first gantry milling machine in 1993 and since then it has been our bestseller. We offer the most powerful milling machines on the market with spindle drive up to 92 kW and spindle torque up to 6,900 Nm. Years of experience have allowed us to subordinate the entire construction of the machine to the transmission of this high power and enormous torque. The milling machines we offer are characterized by an exceptionally wide range of configuration possibilities. Another family of products are heavy duty 5 axis horizontal milling centers with swiveling spindle unit. In addition to the standard equipment – we also offer the option of adding a “W” axis boring bar and transforming the machine into 5+1 axis swiveling boring mill, unique on the market. The next group includes horizontal lathes with a maximum turning diameter of 3000 mm, adapted to machine workpieces with a maximum length of up to 33 m and a weight of up to 150 tons. Also we offer a special line of gantry milling machines for the energy industry, comprehensive solutions for machining railway wheels, entire technological lines and much more.

In which industry sectors are DTI machine tools and solutions most often used? Which well-known industrial brands use your products and services?

Our machine tools are used in many sectors – primarily in the railway, carbon, energy, forgings, shipbuilding and arms industries. Our customers in Poland include: Track Tec, Tokai Cobex, FAMET, and in the USA Ingersoll Machine Tools and Ellwood Group. Our customers in the railway industry are leading manufacturers of railway turnouts, rail elements and tongue profiles. This is where our FB family of milling machines is mainly working. We supply entire production lines, machine tools for processing furnace linings and others to the industry producing carbon-graphite elements. In the energy industry, a special machine is used for chamfering thousands of holes in the sheets and baffles for shell-and-tube heat exchangers. In Ellwood Group in the USA (forging industry) are working two of our heaviest lathes and a special gantry milling machine with a total installed power of 0.6 MW and a spindle torque of 48,000 Nm. We supply specially equipped horizontal lathes to the shipbuilding industry, which are used for machining the largest ship shafts.

Could you tell us about the most ambitious and technically complex projects implemented by DTI?

The first extremely ambitious project in the company’s history was manufactured of a fully automated LBK400CNC cathode block processing line to the ZEW (today Tokai Cobex) in 1996. To this day, cathode blocks with dimensions of 900 mm x 900 mm x 3000 mm are machined there. The total power installed on the line is 370 kW, and the number of numerically controlled axes is 40. Another project that was extremely technically and logistically demanding was a lathe for machining ship shafts for aircraft carriers. This machine tool has been in working at the United States Naval Shipyard in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii since 2012. A number of operations can be performed in one cycle: turning, drilling, reaming, angle milling, grinding, polishing, rolling of conical surfaces. To achieve this, we installed 24 numerically controlled axes on the lathe and a pallet system for automatic replacement of the grinding device (for grinding angular surfaces) and the polishing device. In 2019, we signed a contract for the delivery of a heavy machining center with a swivelling spindle unit. It was a completely new design for us, and even so the final acceptance protocol was signed less than 12 months after the work started. This only proves the high competence and extensive experience of our design and assembly department. In the meantime, many more projects were created, including: designing, equipping and implementing technology for the locomotive wheel set production department. For over 30 years, we have made about 160 projects. However, we are most proud of the long-term relationships we have established with our customers who come back for their second, third and subsequent machine tools. These are our best references.

Could you point out the most important patents that DTI holds and tell us about their importance for the machine tool industry?

During the first decade of our activity, we filed dozens of patent applications. However, we have stopped this a while ago. Almost every of our new machine tools is characterized by great innovation and our know-how is the ability to combine various advanced technological solutions into one.

Can you share information about the company’s current production capabilities and latest investments? What technologies and methods are used to ensure the highest quality of products?

Our philosophy has not changed for years. DTI is, on the one hand, an experienced and creative design department, and on the other hand, a professional mechanical and electrical assembly department. The link between them is the purchasing and cooperation department. We want to provide the best possible working conditions for all employees, because everyone plays a key role in the process of creating specialized products like ours. We strive to provide the best work tools – from hardware and CAD programs to measuring tools and workshop equipment. Quality control is key to us, which is why we have our own measurement laboratory equipped with the most modern measuring tools, including Hamar and Renishaw lasers. Together with our machine tools, we deliver to our customers not only technical documentation, but also, if they wish, “quality books” in which we describe in detail each key unit of the machine.

The personnel plays a key role in the company’s success. Can you tell us about the specialists you employ? What is the company’s philosophy regarding team management?

Professionalism and competence are the basic requirements, but for us the ability to work in a team is a key factor. The production of prototype machine tools requires a well-coordinated team. Proper communication, shared responsibility and a friendly working atmosphere are essential. At DTI, work is not routine – every day brings new challenges. That’s why we are looking for people who value such challenges and are ready to take them on.

The high quality of the machines produced is your priority, which is why you cooperate only with reputable suppliers and subcontractors. Are there companies among them that deserve special recognition as the most important partners?

It’s true – when choosing suppliers, we are guided primarily by quality and reputation. Thanks to this, we can create solutions that serve our customers not for years, but for decades. Our main suppliers are companies such as: Siemens, Hydac, Schneeberger, Igus, KSK, Precise Motion, Heidenhain, Balluff, OTT Jakob, TLC, AFM Defum, Ponar, Dynamik and many others. We also value cooperation with local companies: Kreha System, KMTM and Elbis.

CSR is a consequence of the company’s operation. Does DTI attach importance to social activities and non-business initiatives?

The entire DTI team is eager to engage in social, charitable and ecological campaigns. We regularly support the Promyczek Nadziei Foundation and Szlachetna Paczka, preparing gifts for people in need. We believe that such actions can make a real difference to the living conditions of many people. Out of concern for the environment, we achieved a tree neighborhood campaign by purchasing 100 trees. This initiative is based on the values of responsibility and sustainability. Every planted tree is a contribution to the future of our planet.

What market and technological challenges does DTI currently face?

We are constantly developing our offer, adding comprehensive modernizations of heavy duty machine tools. We emphasize the word “modernization” here because we offer not only to restore machines to their original condition, but also to improve them and expand their functionality. In the end, customer receives a machine with functionality comparable to the new machine, along with a twelve-month warranty, without the need to build a new foundation. This solution is attractive both in terms of price and time, and is becoming more and more popular. We believe that this alternative direction will help us survive even more difficult times on the market.