The history of SOFiSTiK

1974: The University Years

Under the guidance of Prof. Dr. -Ing. Heinrich Werner at the Technical University of Munich, a research project involving the engineer Joachim Stieda and the student Casimir Katz is set up to create a computer program for the non-linear analysis of bridge piers (named “TOP”).

In 1976, Casimir Katz begins his thesis with the development of a finite element program for flow calculation. The desire to use the existing pre- and post-processors of the SET program lead to the first description of a “database”.

This project is very successful, and the program TOP and further program components are integrated. The group of Prof. Werner is further strengthened by Ernst Rank and Thomas Fink, and later Jürgen Bellman and Byron Protopsaltis.


1982: The early years

After the award of his doctorate in 1982, Casimir Katz begins with the development of FE programs on micro-computers with the operating system CP/M, motivated by Joachim Stieda who had been developing programs on the new Olivetti 6060 and the IBM 5110 since 1976.

Thomas Fink joins the team shortly after. The organisation takes the form of three independent engineering practices similar to a card players’ group. With 64kB of memory, a slab framed structure with 3000 unknowns could be calculated in around 4 hours.

Two years later the IBM PC allows for a newly developed version of TOP, now called STAR2, to be sold successfully. Among the first customers, in addition to many other innovative smaller offices, are larger customers such as Bilfinger&Berger, Hochtief and Schlaich Bergermann. New distribution channels are established through FIDES.


1987: SOFiSTiK is born

Through growing success and the inclusion of new partners (Gert Apell et al.) grew the need for a professional organisation. On the 22nd June 1987, SOFiSTiK GmbH is founded, based initially in Andechs. In the sense of a wine-growers’ cooperative, the partners continue to develop the software independently, but use the SOFiSTiK GmbH collaboration for sales and marketing. At the time, the concept of a “SOFiSTiK seminar” was conceived and the development of AutoCAD attachments began.

In 1988, SOFiCAD first sees the light of day, with its first customers such as Schmitt&Stumpf, Grassl and Bögl leading to further circulation. The establishment of a central hotline and new partners such as Prof. Walter Pauli has strengthened SOFiSTiK since 1990. The context sensitive editor Teddy brings a real breakthrough in the use of the parametric input language CADINP.

SOFiSTiK advert in 1987

1996: First graphical and interactive user interface for FE analysis & design based on AutoCAD

A European research project for automatic FE analysis and optimisation is the reason for the development of an automatic mesh generator. For ease of input of the structure and control of the calculation, a module for AutoCAD is developed. The emerging product “SLAB-Designer” establishes the first sales success in England.

Slab-Designer 2.0 based on AutoCAD 14


1999: Transforming into a company on stocks

The goal to better pool the activities of distribution and the various development partners ultimately leads to the decision to establish a company on stocks. Mensch und Maschine AG ( joins the newly established SOFiSTiK AG as an important shareholder. Members of the supervisory board are Adi Drotleff, Prof. Dr. Ernst Rank and Dr. Johannes Harl (chairman).

Company logo before 2008


2006: Foundation of the SOFiSTiK Service GmbH

Since the beginning of 2006, the long-term partners Andreas Imse and Dr. Wolfgang Schneider have supported SOFiSTiK AG as the subsidiary SOFiSTiK Service GmbH. This company, which emerged from FIDES Rhein-Main, can look back on many years of experience in sales and service for SOFiSTiK software.

2007: 20th anniversary

In the summer of 2007, SOFiSTiK celebrates its twentieth anniversary together with numerous customers, partners and friens at the Schloß Hohenkammer near Munich. The  commemorative speech is held by the adventurer, doctor and scientist Bertrand Piccard. Meanwhile, SOFiSTiK is using an extensive distribution network. As Business Development Manager, Roger Herceg is responsible in particular for the successful establishment of distribution in Spain, the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

2008: SOFiSTiK 2.0

The effort to sustainably continue the success story of SOFiSTiK, and to implement as much as possible in customer benefit and software innovation, founds the steps of an internal restructuring of SOFiSTiK AG in 2008.The long-serving senior managers Frank Deinzer and Christof Lorenz are promoted to the board so that SOFiSTiK is equipped at full strength for future challenges. In addition, a new corporate design and website are launched.

2010: BiMOTiON - SOFiSTiK goes Building Information Modeling

In order to provide existing and new customers with the best possible support in design and construction using Building Information Modelling technology (BIM), a new subsidiary is founded by SOFiSTiK AG alongside the Autodesk Revit Structure specialist Dipl. -Ing. Armin Dariz. BiMOTiON GmbH is thus the second subsidiary of SOFiSTiK AG, based in Brixen (Italy) and Nuremberg.

Corporate BiMOTiON logo