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Pilz Continues its 2023 Success Story

May 21, 2024

Pilz Continues its 2023 Success Story

Pilz Continues its 2023 Success Story

Susanne Kunschert

2023 was a very successful year for our group. Pilz ended the financial year with a record turnover of 433 million Euro.

Looking back, 2023 was a year of two parts. The first part of the year was marked by the struggle for parts and heavy demand for our products, meaning we had three-shift production until the summer. Despite the component shortage we were able to supply our customers, and strengthened our customer relationships through transparent, close communication. From the 2nd quarter, there was a definite slowdown in incoming orders. This was due to falling demand and the generally worsening economic environment in engineering.

Thanks to constructive cooperation, in 2023 we were able to achieve the highest turnover in the company’s 75-year history. Pilz resolutely continues its success story! We thank all our employees for their amazing commitment.


A look at the regions: Proximity to customers worldwide the key to success

Europe:
For the first time ever, we achieved a turnover of more than 100 million Euro in our home market, Germany. The above-average growth here is the reason why the total share of exports fell slightly by 1.1 percentage points to 75.4 per cent.

We also saw strong growth in other European countries. Here I’d like to mention Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the UK. We also recorded growth in Turkey.

Italy and Germany, for example, are the two largest manufacturing countries for food and packaging machinery. These machines are more in demand than ever since the Corona virus. With specific, certified industry solutions for safe automation, we are helping to overcome the rising challenges in this industry.

In Europe, the issue of security is ever more noticeable on the market. One driver is the new EU Machinery Regulation, which was published at the end of June 2023. For the first time, it makes security mandatory in general engineering. Machine builders must take the prescribed security specifications into account in their next generation of machine controller and network infrastructure. We know the new legal specifications and have updated our range of services and automation solutions. So we are happy to help and advise customers in Europe and anywhere in the world. With an offer that comprises both Safety and the necessary Industrial Security, we support companies who want safe automation.

Asia:
In the past year we have increased our presence and our offer in the growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region. In view of the immense growth potential and the changing needs of our customers in the region, we are strengthening our sales and technical support teams. That way we guarantee customer proximity and services. Our commitment to customer orientation goes beyond direct support. We have close partnerships with local distributors, enabling us to supply customers across the region not just with products, but with consultancy and services.

The issue of safe automation technology is becoming increasingly important in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. This is thanks not least to multinational companies, who are building production capacity there. From their headquarters in Europe and America, these global players pursue a uniform worldwide policy for human safety and protection. Pilz supports such companies, which include sports goods manufacturers, food and beverage industry brands but also industrial companies, with both products and machinery services, and by establishing and implementing global training offers.

Pilz is able to offer services, and associated safety and protection systems, for plants and production sites built in the South East Asia region.
The Asian countries with the greatest increases in turnover were Korea and India.

Americas:
We can announce a record year in 2023 for all subsidiaries in the Americas region. The issues of Safety and Security are becoming increasingly relevant: Local regulations in the individual countries oblige companies to introduce safe technical solutions and procedures. However, implementation is progressing slowly, particularly in smaller companies. Our work in international ISO standardisation committees such as ISO/TC 199 “Safety of machinery” is helping to promote the significance of safety on the American market.

In the USA, the fact that US companies are relocating production capacities back to their homeland provides enormous potential for mechanical engineering. We have expanded our commitment in Brazil. This enables us to meet our customers’ growing requirements everywhere in South America, through support, services and products. It is here that we recently signed the largest single order for services in the company’s history. It involves consulting, risk evaluation and safety concept for an industrial company at 32 sites, with more than 30,000 machines.

Overall, the markets in North, Central and South America appear strong, and also offer good prospects for growth for 2024.

Products and services for Safety, Security and Automation
In terms of the range of products and solutions, Pilz was able to achieve similar growth in almost every area. The safe small controllers PNOZmulti, sensor technology and services were particularly strong performers.

With the products and services that we have marketed in recent months, we have taken into account the requirements of Safety and Security, but that’s not all. Our automation solutions help to save time and costs over the whole machine lifecycle. That ensures productivity.

New products over the last few months include components, solutions and complete systems. The new safety locking device PSENmlock mini, for example, is used for personnel protection. With its compact design, it takes into account the trend towards miniaturisation. It is ideally suitable for space-critical applications, such as flaps or covers.

For intralogistics, Pilz offers manufacturers of freely navigating mobile platforms a comprehensive safety solution in accordance with ISO 3691-4. This standard defines the safety-related requirements of automated guided vehicle systems. Our solution consists of the safe small controller PNOZmulti 2 with new functionalities for synchronisation monitoring, the safety laser scanner PSENscan for area monitoring, plus our SecurityBridge industrial firewall to protect against cybercrime.

At the Hannover Messe 2024 we presented our complete system for the first non-proprietary, standardised communication system IO-Link Safety. Pilz is the first supplier to have a complete IO-Link Safety System for safe communication at field level: the solution from Pilz comprises Master, sensors, as well as field devices and compatible accessories.

In addition to the technical innovations, I would like to mention our new service package “ISCS – Industrial Security Consulting Service”. This helps business to satisfy the new requirements of Industrial Security on the machine. The first pilot projects have already started in Germany and Austria. During the event, delegates received in-depth information about the innovations in the field of IO-Link Safety and ISCS.

HR: Training and diversity as success factors
Moving on from products to our employees. Here too we have some pleasing figures to report. As of 31.12.2023, our company employed 2,476 employees in 42 subsidiaries worldwide. That it is up 3.2 per cent. On that date, 1,016 staff were employed at the head office in Ostfildern. Among the approximately 1,000 staff were 44 young people, starting their careers at Pilz.

Of these, 25 are apprentices in electronics, mechatronics or IT. 19 students are with us to complete a dual course of study in co-operation with the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW). Our offer includes studies in automation, information technology, IT security, general engineering and electrical engineering. This year we will recruit seven new apprentices and 18 DHBW students. That fills all our vacancies. New this year, we will be offering apprenticeships as an industrial clerk. And some more good news. We were able to employ all the young people who completed their apprenticeship or degree course at Pilz in 2023. As a result, we are able to cover the majority of our specialist staff requirement ourselves.

Another personnel statistic demonstrates that we are a truly international company. Let’s take our sites in Ostfildern (Germany) and Cork (Ireland) as examples: There are 27 different nationalities at our head office. Even more remarkable are the 22 different nationalities at the significantly smaller Irish site in Cork. Diversity and respect for other cultures and religions are just some of the values that we live by at Pilz.

Outlook for 2024 financial year
2024 will be a challenging year, indeed there are signs of a reversal. We started with a low order intake, which means low utilisation of production capacity. And we must assume that, due to overstocking and the resulting running down of stocks, the situation will remain the same in the next few months.
Our innovative products and services will take us into next year. And our employees at head office and worldwide burn with enthusiasm for the issues they work on in the service of our customers.

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