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Pilz - The Spirit of Safety - a brief history

Pilz will kick on in its 61st year with more innovative new products than ever, including one product that will revolutionise the automation market. To celebrate, we thought we would take a retrospective look at how Pilz came to be the innovative company we are today. This look at Pilz will be done over the next months, with the final article detailing our plans for the future and what to expect from us in 2009.

Beginnings – 1948

In 1948, Hermann Pilz founded the company as a glass-blowing business in Esslingen, just out of Stuttgart in Southern Germany. He laid the foundation for the success of an independent, medium-sized family business, starting with the manufacture of glass apparatus for medical technology.

Even then, employees were given overall responsibility for a project, independently processing each stage of the job, from soldering and testing through to dispatch.

In 1964, with a staff of 18, the company started manufacturing mercury timer relays for industrial applications, signalling a change of focus for Pilz.

Vision

Later, under the management of Hermann’s son Peter Pilz, the company developed in accordance with vision-led management methods, which offered the courage for innovation.

The outcome today is the research and development competence in the field of automation technology that so typifies Pilz. In this way Pilz was able to launch one of the first programmable logic controllers, the PC4K in 1974, based on the EUROPILZ SYSTEM control system that had been developed in 1969.

Peter Pilz also stands for the company's internationalisation, which started with the foundation of subsidiaries in Austria and Switzerland in 1969.

The first two-hand control relay was released by Pilz in 1970, and the total number of Pilz employees had reached 56 throughout the German, Austrian and Swiss operations.

This set the tone for the company’s growth throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s which will be covered in the next articles. Stay tuned.

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