The automation company Pilz has opened the Peter Pilz Production and Logistics Center at its headquarters in Ostfildern, Germany. The new building covers a total area of over 44,000 sq. ft. and at $22 million, is the largest single investment in the history of this family business. As a result, not only is the company enlarging its production area by 50 percent, it is also expanding its headquarters into the Pilz Campus.
The Peter Pilz Production and Logistics Center was built in just 16 months. With a 22,600 sq. ft. production area, around 13,100 sq. ft. of office space and 8,500 sq. ft. of ancillary areas, the building provides space for 390 employees. In addition to production and logistics it will also house all the departments related to production, including production technology, information technology, quality management and purchasing.
"We are delighted to be able to invest right here at our headquarters and so continue our growth. Firstly, because we have deep roots in this region. Secondly, we are expanding our headquarters into the Pilz Campus, in which all departments will be able to work closer together for our customers' benefit. This collaborative spirit is important for the success of our family business", said Renate Pilz in front of around 200 guests at the official opening.
"The Campus makes it clear that values create our future", Renate Pilz is keen to stress. "Trust, reliability and the courage to innovate are key success factors for Pilz." The official opening was preceded September 26, 2015 by a staff party for the building's dedication.
In the new production site, Pilz will be manufacturing relays, control systems, sensors and drive technology for safety and automation. These will be used not only on factory floors, on presses, machine tools or industrial robots for example, but also in railway technology, for building automation or to control cable cars, such as the Sugar Loaf cable car in Rio de Janeiro for example, and on fairground rides such as those in Vienna's Prater Park.
Pilz places great importance on an ergonomic working environment for staff and a flexible production layout in the new building. Interdisciplinary workshops involving the production technology department and production staff helped to optimize the production working environment even at the design stage, creating efficient and ergonomic production processes. In the offices, air conditioned rooms, a sophisticated acoustic concept with sound absorbent material, transparent room dividers and in-floor heating all help to create a pleasant working atmosphere.
As with the other buildings on the Pilz Campus, the issue of ecology also has an important role to play: near-surface geothermal energy, highly efficient building insulation and heat recovery mean high energy efficiency and low CO2 emissions.
With an architecturally open design in an almost column-free hall, production processes can be arranged for optimum use and flexibility. Individual production units are U-shaped, guaranteeing a rapid flow of goods and information.
Industry 4.0: Pilz relies on networking
For Pilz, this information flow is characterized by Industry 4.0: production at Pilz is networked with upstream and downstream processes and procedures. Even the previous production method used IT-based production processes, such as an intelligent RFID-supported workpiece carrier, for example. These have been transferred and gradually expanded. In Ostfildern, Pilz is optimizing the production control system by collecting and processing specific machine data. This avoids errors and downtimes. In the future, work documents will be stored in a Pilz Cloud, so that current versions are always available in real-time, even on mobile devices. Other concrete approaches to connecting IT and production are emerging in the "Pilz Think Tank 4.0": Where experts from IT and production technology provide resources for the implementation of Industry 4.0 at Pilz.
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