A Quarter of a Century in the “Spirit of Safety”

This year, Pilz Italy reached an important milestone, 25 years in business: a period which has seen the Italian branch spreading the concept of functional safety as well as the culture of safety itself, offering consultation and assistance in the field of legislation. To celebrate this anniversary, on 17th April a press conference was organized in Milan.

by Silvia Crespi

Safety is at the heart of the Pilz mission, the company specializing in the global supply of systems and services for industrial automation. This year, the Italian branch of the company reaches 25 years in the business, and on 17th April in Milan, the moment was celebrated at the Château Monfort hotel in Milan, where the press was also invited.
At the meeting with journalists, Luca Bogo, Managing Director of Pilz Italy, Susanne Kunschert and Christian Erles, respectively managing Partner and Sales International Vice President of the German group were present.
“These 25 years – began Luca Bogo – are an important milestone for us. Pilz Italy was born in 1993, when attention to legislation in Italy was still in a nascent phase. One of the reasons the company decided to open a branch here and not just a distributor was the question of providing support for this necessary change, not forgetting that Italy is one of the world’s principal engineering markets. Respect of norms requires high-level technical competence. Differently from the rest of Europe, Italy considered safety more as a cost than a benefit at that time. We took on the job of making functional safety and a safety culture two absolute priorities in Italy. Firstly, we helped Italian companies understand what costs would be involved, with the quantification and evaluation of the relationship between productivity and safety… safer machinery is more productive machinery! Today, we can say that Italian companies are as well equipped to deal with this question as any other European manufacturer”.

From the origins to the present day: the story’s main events
Bogo reviewed the key steps in the Pilz story, identifying three phases: from the launch of the first safety module (PNOZ) in the nineties, the inception of the safety concept, to the 2000s with the diversification of the product range, while 2010 saw the attention focusing on norms, with Pilz participating in the highest profile safety conventions.
A crucial step was the launch of the Business Unit Service, a sector with its own structure. This now represents 15% of group turnover. Here, business concentrates on norms, consultancy (machinery analysis and production lines) with the goal of concretely activating safety concepts in the world of production, this, by offering technical solutions which bring together safety and productivity.
Pilz Italy develops its business strategy on 5-year plans. The process, begun in 2015, focused on a vertical approach and the segmentation of the market according to application with the sales force being re-organized to face this challenge. Extra service creation is also a part of this plan.
Bogo also spoke about training, a topic that Pilz Italy pays special attention to. The CMSE (Certified Machine Safety Exper) project is just one great example. This is a training program which certifies, with a final exam, Pilz safety competence!
And for the future? Industry 4.0 awaits! “Pilz – Bogo reminded those present – was one of the first companies to back this approach from its origins back in 2010. New products were developed, focusing on customization of the production process from its beginning, through digitalization. The next step is to aid the customers to do the same.

The input of Italian creativity has been recognized
Susanne Kunschert, now at the head of organization, underlined the constant evolution that has characterized the history of Pilz. From its origins to its present status as a global player (the company now has 40 branches world wide), Pilz is a genuine solution provider in automation technology in an Industry 4.0 vision.
Currently we are naturally dealing with the subject of digitalization Susanne Kunschert confirmed. We want to sustainably improve production and working life with it: With new technologies, people should be able to be more efficient, safer and, at the same time, be able to work more simply. At the end of the day, the digital transformation should put the following question at the forefront: what is of use to people and what isn’t? The technology has to serve people and not the other way around. Kunschert also underlined the importance of the Italian branch in its creative contribution. “Pilz Italy – she concluded – constantly comes up with fresh ideas and impetus, both having a significant influence on Pilz Group development.