From 1952, Nixdorf initially produced electronic arithmetic and logic units for punched card systems. These first electronic balancers and multipliers were equipped with vacuum tubes. From 1960, the Gamma 172 multiplier was also built with transistors.
The breakthrough came for the company in 1964, when a freely programmable small computer was built. This system, called the Nixdorf 820, was tailored to small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of price and performance. It featured a magnetic core memory, an integrated keyboard and a typewriter for output. The basic system was later equipped with magnetic ledger card facilities for storing data, a dot matrix printer and a module that permitted data to be transferred to higher-level computers.
Nixdorf adopted technical innovations and brought several new products onto the market in 1974/1975: the disk-based 8870 system with multiple terminals and COMET application software, the 620 data entry system, computerized point-of-sale systems, and the 8864 banking system with terminals for the front office.
Nixdorf's success in the banking sector was founded on ambitious projects such as that with the Swedish Scandinaviska Enskilda-Bank, which networked its branches throughout Sweden with the aid of 1,100 Nixdorf terminals back in 1974. The product range for financial institutions was extended in 1978 with the addition of self-service systems such as statement printers and automated teller machines.
Furthermore, Nixdorf advanced to become one of the largest software houses in Germany - in particular with its COMET software package. COMET components with adaptations for more than 180 vertical markets were sold more than 100,000 times.
In 1981, Nixdorf introduced the DVS 8818 digital telephone switching system. It supported the switching of voice and data lines, and complied with the new ISDN standard.
From the 1980s, international "open" standards prevailed in the computer market. Nixdorf followed this trend in 1985 with its universal Targon system, which was based on the manufacturer-independent UNIX operating system.