History and future

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow: Automation in transition

Development engineers testing a circuit for an electronic timer

For over 70 years Pilz has been inspiring its customers with innovative products and solutions: initially with glass laboratory equipment, then electronic timers and later relays and programmable control systems. At each point in time Pilz has adapted to the current needs of the market and changed significantly with its technological milestones.

Pilz became technology leader with the world’s first and most widely used emergency stop relay “PNOZ”. It is the epitome of a safety relay and has shaped the history of automation technology. A vast range of experiences from the most varied safety-related applications and the development of one of the first programmable logic controllers (PLC) were the basis for developing the first programmable safety controller.


History of Pilz - How an idea conquered the world

Values. Create. Future: Generations change, values remain

Renate Pilz handed over the management of the company to her children Susanne Kunschert and Thomas Pilz. Until 2017 she had always continued to develop and shape the company, showing great commitment. One example of this is the development of the first programmable safety controller: an innovative and courageous path, where Pilz made industrial history. Continuing the company after her husband's untimely death was a matter truly close to her heart. Under her leadership, Pilz expanded from 200 employees to over 2,000 employees worldwide.

Commitment and values are deeply engrained in Pilz's business culture because: Values create future.

What will change with the generational change? Listen to Renate Pilz, Susanne Kunschert and Thomas Pilz to find out how they found their time working together in the company, what in particular made an impact on them and what they think the future of the company looks like. Take time to discover Pilz’s extraordinary history.

Renate Pilz awarded the Federal Cross of Merit

Renate Pilz awarded the Federal Cross of Merit

On 23 January 2020 Renate Pilz was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for her outstanding entrepreneurial and social commitment. “A quite special entrepreneurial personality, Baden-Württemberg-style – and a pioneer for innovation and digitisation”. That’s how the Minister of Economic Affairs Hoffmeister-Kraut described the former Managing Director of Pilz GmbH & Co. KG. In her tribute she placed special emphasis on Pilz's tremendous drive for innovation and high level of investment in research and development. The Minister of Economic Affairs also recognised the company's family spirit and internationalisation. “Bringing people with you, convincing them, training them and maintaining the company’s family spirit even as a global player: That was your corporate philosophy, which lives on today with your children, who have now succeeded you”. That’s what the Minister said about Renate Pilz.

But the extraordinary achievement of Renate Pilz is distinguished not only by corporate successes. The impact of the former Managing Director extends beyond the factory gates: for example, her commitment to the Association of Catholic Entrepreneurs or her dedication to an aid project for disadvantaged girls in southern India. “Particularly in this time of upheaval we need role models like Renate Pilz – both in a business and social respect”, Hoffmeister-Kraut was keen to stress.

Pilz today: Passionate market leader


Susanne Kunschert and Thomas Pilz will be the third generation to manage the family business. Pilz is defined by its staff; each and every one is an “ambassador for safety”. We believe no compromises are necessary in the automation of plant and machinery. Issues such as the advancing digitisation of industry and robotics are the focus of new product developments. We are also involved in national and international committees, so that we can actively help to shape the future of industrial automation. As a family business steeped in tradition, with a worldwide presence, our aim is to be a reliable partner for you locally.


The family business is one of the leading suppliers in the automation sector and is represented by subsidiaries in over 40 countries. Our products and solutions have become established as a brand in safe automation technology. Pilz has set standards in the history of automation for safe cooperation between human and machine.

As part of the compendium “German Standards – Brands of the Century”, Pilz was designated as a brand of the century 2019 in the control technology sector. The award “Brand of the Century” was issued by Dr. Florian Langenscheidt and the Zeit publishing group.

Future of automation with Pilz

Whether it's Industrie 4.0, industrial security or robotics: The factory of the future calls for new concepts, products and solutions. The ability of an agile company is what’s needed to grasp innovative ideas and make them market-ready and suitable for industrial use. Pilz has often proved its ability over it’s more than 70 year history: with products such as the Pilz emergency stop relay PNOZ, the world's first safe programmable controller PSS 3000 or the first safe 3D camera system, SafetyEYE. The drive for innovation is firmly engrained in our DNA. For example, Pilz invests more than 20% of turnover into research and development.

Factory of the future
Automation of the future

What will the future of automation look like? Networked machinery, intelligent decentralised components, modular production: These keywords describe various aspects of Industrie 4.0 with the aim of achieving greater flexibility, individual customer solutions and greater efficiency in the future.
For many years Pilz has been involved in various research projects, such as the technology initiative SmartFactory KL. Pilz is also intensely engaged with future requirements for industrial security and data protection, as well as the development of standardised, cross-manufacturer communication protocols, which can be implemented in a digitalised industry.

Industrie 4.0 at Pilz

Industrial security

Research campus ARENA2036

And Pilz continues to concern itself with the future of automation as part of the research campus ARENA2036: ARENA stands for Active Research Environment for the Next Generation of Automobiles. Resource-efficient, competitive production models are intended to emerge by the year 2036, the 150th anniversary of the car.
With its expertise from safety and automation technology, Pilz is promoting the development of cyberphysical production systems CPS. Our vision is to work with other partners from industry and research to build such a production system, put it into service and qualify it for actual use in the production process.

Everything about Arena 2036

Factory of the future

In the factory of the future, the number of autonomous systems and robots will continue to rise - as will the safety requirements for close cooperation between human and machine. In its role as “ambassador for safety”, today Pilz can provide support with services and training around robot safety and also with its own service robotics modules.

Robotics sector

Many new questions arise as a result of the digital transformation. For example, how interaction between human and robot will change with increasing intelligence in sensor technology and how data will be evaluated. And also, how the application can be protected from external access (security). Pilz is exploring these and other questions as part of various research projects. 

Head office

Pilz Australia Safe Automation
Unit 1, 12-14 Miles Street
Mulgrave, Melbourne, Victoria 3170

Telephone: +61 3 9560 0621 / 1300 723 334
E-Mail: safety@pilz.com.au


Telephone: +61 3 9560 0621
E-Mail: sales@pilz.com.au