DMG Mori and Tulip Partnering to Bring No-Code Programming to Production Lines

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By Michael Larner | 4Q 2019 | IN-5626

DMG MORI and Tulip have very different backgrounds with the former founded in 1870 in Germany’s industrial heartland while the latter was spun out of MIT in 2014. The partnership shows that machinery suppliers cannot ignore developments in the software industry; their products need to incorporate operational technologies to differentiate them. This ABI Insight will outline how the companies will work together, reasons for manufacturers to consider Tulip’s software, and implementation issues when taking such an approach.

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A Combination of Tulip's Digital Expertise and DMG MORI's Industry Footprint


On September 24, 2019 it was announced that Tulip, a smart manufacturing firm with a novel approach to application development, will be receiving backing from machine tool builder DMG MORI which, along with Vertex Ventures, NEA, and Pitango, will be investing in Tulip’s Series B fundraising round. The funding round is expected to raise US$39.5 million and be put toward growing Tulip’s footprint among SMEs in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Japan. Tulip has raised over US$70 million since January 2017.

In addition, the firms announced a strategic partnership whereby Tulip’s solutions will augment the technology that DMG MORI provides its Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) clients and in so doing rapidly expand Tulip’s footprint in a fragmented market.

No-Code Required on the Factory Floor


Often data emanating from SMEs' factory floors is recorded on pieces of paper or a myriad of Excel spreadsheets. Tulip accelerates the data collection process by enabling non-IT staff, even those who are not digitally savvy, to create their own apps. The apps are created via a drag and drop interface utilizing templates tailored to common factory floor issues. Despite the creation process being very straightforward, the Tulip platform is deceptively powerful because users can integrate the app with operational applications such as the factory’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and/or analytical tools to quickly capture data such as defect rates or production yields.

Tulip’s reference customers include electronics manufacturer Jabil Inc., which was able to increase production yield by 5% and achieve a 50% increase in throughput after having introduced digital workflow instructions at its San Jose facility. Shoe manufacturer New Balance was relying on paper to track production line defects and introduced an app that highlights defects via an image of the shoe; the company experienced a 68% reduction in scrap and 96% reduction in rework in addition to enabling quality engineers to reclaim 25% of their time. Tulip-based apps at dental equipment maker Dentsply Sirona reduced the time it took to train shipping staff by 75%.

Tulip and DMG MORI will be looking to incorporate manufacturing apps in the 300,000 DMG MORI machines in operation around the world. By adopting Tulip’s self-service tools, DMG MORI customers will be able to turn every work station into data collection points in order to monitor and increase the productivity of their legacy machine tools. Moreover, introducing the no-code apps will enable the customer to orchestrate the entire production process. In addition, the customers will be able to optimize their operations via Tulip’s apps for assembly, quality control, and training new starters.

No Code Doesn't Equal No Control


ABI Research’s latest Digital Factory forecast reports that device and application platform revenues are forecast to reach US$79 billion in 2030, up from US$3.2 billion in 2019. While data is the backbone of these digital transformation projects and the introduction of no-code platforms such as Tulip’s will rapidly expand platform revenues, there needs to be controls in place (such as centralized app stores) to avoid duplication of effort.

Manufacturers, especially SMEs being targeted by Tulip and DMG MORI, often struggle to recruit and retain millennials. Enabling staff to create apps that can have a direct impact on the bottom line is empowering and demonstrates the firm is forward thinking when it comes to utilizing technology. The no-code approach means that SMEs can quickly assimilate IoT and data analytics into their operations without the need to reengineer production lines or business processes. Meanwhile, internal development teams can focus on more sophisticated applications in other areas of the factory.

ABI Research’s forthcoming report on Industrial ERP systems will be looking into approaches taken by manufacturers and ERP suppliers to accommodate new data sources such as internally created apps.


Companies Mentioned