Expertise in demand

While on Euro­pean fac­tory floors it is normal for per­sonnel to feel safe when working on plant and machinery thanks to laws and stan­dards, in other places around the world there is still work to be done to con­vince people to carry out tech­nical safety mea­sures. Like in Japan, where Pilz Japan has been helping change minds for 25 years.

At the end of the 90s, the pro­tec­tion of human and machine was pri­marily viewed as a high cost factor by Japanese com­pa­nies. This was the period, specif­i­cally in 1997, when Pilz opened its first sub­sidiary in Japan in Yoko­hama. Since that time, the employees, cur­rently num­bering 22, have been ded­i­cated to increasing safety.

Focus on raising awareness

In 2000 Safe­tyBUS p Club, which is now called Safety Net­work Japan, was founded by Pilz Japan and other member com­pa­nies like the auto­mo­tive man­u­fac­turer Toyota and the automa­tion com­pany Hokuyu. The organ­i­sa­tion raised aware­ness for greater safety and a reduc­tion of work acci­dents in Japan by offering pre­sen­ta­tions on machinery safety and the cur­rent trends in func­tional safety. But what’s the Japanese leg­is­la­tion setup like? Employ­ment law was adapted in 2006 so that interest in safe automa­tion is growing. Even though the law does not make any binding spec­i­fi­ca­tions, safety is becoming more rel­e­vant and con­scious­ness is changing. Safety and secu­rity are less likely to be con­sid­ered as cost fac­tors, and instead as a “must-have” in modern indus­trial envi­ron­ments.

Safety “made in Germany”

There is still much work to be done, espe­cially in the food and pack­aging indus­tries. For example, Pilz Japan first per­formed a risk assess­ment for an inter­na­tional food group. The cus­tomer thus became aware of the automa­tion solu­tions and the training offer from Pilz. Now the cus­tomer is inter­ested in training its employees in South Korea in machinery safety. “Our cus­tomers nat­u­rally export their plants abroad, which is why it is impor­tant for them to have a reli­able expert by their side to ­sup­port them during the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of their plant and machinery,” explains Olivier Ligibel, Gen­eral Man­ager of Pilz Japan. As a German com­pany, Pilz is pre­ceded by its good rep­u­ta­tion, as ­Ger­many is con­sid­ered a pio­neer when it comes to safety.

But not only large cor­po­ra­tions deal with safety mat­ters, argues Olivier Ligibel: “We are seeing a growing interest in safety and secu­rity among smaller com­pa­nies. Many of them are still put off by the invest­ments, but recog­nise the growing impor­tance.” In other words, there is still much to do after the anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, as safety and secu­rity are cur­rently in demand in Japan.

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