A second life for Pilz products

(Elec­tronic) com­po­nents are a valu­able asset. This hasn’t only been the case at Pilz since the pro­cure­ment crisis in recent years. Pilz estab­lished its Repair Centre as early as 2002, at which defec­tive Pilz devices can be prop­erly repaired and then reused at the same quality. A sus­tain­ability ware­house now gives many prod­ucts a second life.

Around 6 000 devices are restored to their full func­tion­ality every year in the Pilz Repair Centre. “Gen­er­ally it is defec­tive elec­tronic com­po­nents or mechan­ical defects that make repair nec­es­sary,” reports Jürgen Strixner, who man­ages the Repair Centre. 16 employees lit­er­ally put the devices they receive there under the micro­scope so that even the smallest defects on the cir­cuit board are found and can be rec­ti­fied. With prod­ucts such as those from Pilz that pro­tect the life and limbs of humans, the quality of the prod­ucts is the highest pri­ority. This is nat­u­rally also the case in the Repair Centre: “Only spe­cial­ists are employed here who con­tin­u­ously undergo pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment and training. This is essen­tial,” empha­sises Strixner, who after 45 years at the com­pany pretty much knows every product like the back of his hand.

A product on its way through the Repair Centre

1 Returns

Far too good to throw away: Devices whose pack­aging is defec­tive or the housing has scratches are allowed in the Repair Centre.

2 Recording

The return is recorded in the system and an internal ser­vice order is cre­ated.

3 Preparation

The devices are refur­bished, tested and repack­aged. They are then 100% func­tional and meet the type exam­i­na­tion.

4 Mission Completed

In the past, prod­ucts below a value limit of 250 euros would have been thrown away. In the inter­ests of sus­tain­ability, how­ever, the addi­tional costs for testing and repack­aging are now accepted.

5 Delivery

In the sus­tain­ability ware­house, the devices are waiting for their second life. Cus­tomers can pur­chase this product at a cheaper price.

Quality – like new!

Trust in human capa­bil­i­ties is good, but con­trol is better – espe­cially for prod­ucts such as safety relays. “We have fixed, ISO-tested processes with pre-tests and final tests. Added to this is the latest tech­nology such as a flying probe system that sup­ports us during the fault analysis. The repaired prod­ucts fully sat­isfy all the require­ments just like new devices – and nat­u­rally have the same war­ranty.”

Together with the Pilz man­age­ment, the Repair Centre is con­stantly searching for new oppor­tu­ni­ties to min­imise waste. The newest project is the Pilz sus­tain­ability ware­house.

“The Repair Centre is a win-win-win for Pilz, the cus­tomer and the envi­ron­ment.”

Jürgen Strixner, Head of Repair Centre

Sustainability warehouse as active environmental protection

Here you can find new devices that are 100 per­cent func­tional and fully sat­isfy the type exam­i­na­tion. “Cus­tomers sent them back to us, for example because they were ordered in error or a war­ranty exchange occurred,” explains Jürgen Strixner. If these prod­ucts or the pack­aging is no longer in the orig­inal con­di­tion, say if the pack­aging is defec­tive or the housing has a scratch, then the com­pany used to dis­pense of prod­ucts below a value threshold of 250 euros. Today they are refur­bished and given a second life. The Repair Centre accepts the addi­tional costs for testing and repack­aging. “From a strict busi­ness view, it is usu­ally not prof­itable,” admits Strixner, but when it comes to sus­tain­ability mon­e­tary con­cerns cannot always be the top pri­ority.

Pilz Repair Centre

repairs per year

Result of survey on cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion:
1 out of 5.0  

Almost 1000 arti­cles from Pilz’s active port­folio can be repaired

Turn­around time (customer–Pilz–customer) in 90 per­cent of cases:
1000 days and fewer

To ensure that prod­ucts from the sus­tain­ability ware­house are used as quickly as pos­sible, the team pro­grammed its own app with which Sales can order the prod­ucts and sell them to the cus­tomer for a low price. A true win-win-win sit­u­a­tion – for Pilz, the cus­tomer and the envi­ron­ment!

The team at the Repair Centre takes a close look at incoming devices so that even the smallest faults on the board can be found and cor­rected. © Pilz GmbH & Co. KG, Ost­fildern

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