In that time the company has grown to become perhaps the UK's leading supplier of machinery safety-related products and services.
Twenty years ago the Pilz product range essentially consisted of safety relays and control and monitoring relays, but the company's range of products - and services - has expanded enormously, especially in the last ten years. Alongside the more traditional safety relays and control and monitoring relays, there are now configurable modular safety controllers, programmable safety systems, safety-related switches and sensors (such as emergency stop switches, guard switches, light barriers and the SafetyEYE vision-based system), operator displays, and servo motors and drives.
Around ten years ago, Pilz Automation Technology drew on its in-depth knowledge and experience of machinery safety principles and standards to publish the Pilz 'Guide to Machinery Safety'. This rapidly gained a reputation among engineers as the 'must have' book about machinery safety. Further editions have since been published, and another is due to be available later in 2007.
Pilz was also one of the first companies in the UK to offer machinery safety seminars and training courses. Demand from customers subsequently led to the range of courses being expanded, so now Pilz offers a wide variety of courses relating to machinery safety standards, regulations and products, some of which are accredited by organisations such as City & Guilds and IOSH (the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health).
While many customers are happy to train their own staff and then undertake projects in-house, others appreciate the support services that Pilz has offered in the UK over the last five years or so. These include project engineering and, more recently, independent consultancy services.
Four years ago, Pilz Automation Technology found that the business was evolving so fast that a new means of communicating with customers was required. An appropriate website was therefore created and, alongside this, the Safety Update (SU) email newsletter was launched. This is now celebrating its 50th issue. Virtually all of the announcements and articles that originated in Safety Update are available online, which represents a substantial body of valuable information, yet it remains free to access.
Articles about standards and regulations have always been popular, and Safety Update has been used as the launchpad for new Pilz products coming to market in the UK. Where it is felt readers would benefit from articles from authors outside Pilz, these have been included as well. Numerous application stories (customer case studies) have also been published through Safety Update, providing customers with an insight into how other companies have benefited from Pilz products and services.
Steve Farrow, General Manager, comments: "Nothing stays the same indefinitely, so expect to see some changes to the website and Safety Update email newsletter in the near future. Meanwhile, Pilz Automation Technology will continue to evolve and offer new and innovative products and services to its customers in the UK. We want Pilz to be the first company that people think of when it comes to machinery safety."