Creating a Safe Workplace as Coronavirus Cases Surge: Oerlikon Successfully Deploying Innovative Distance-Warning Technology
- To enable a safe and reliable workplace for employees at sites worldwide, global technology Group, Oerlikon, brought in a sensor-based technology, SafeZone, from a start-up company, Kinexon, during the lockdown in spring 2020.
- Based on an industry 4.0 radio standard, the technology measures the distance between two sensors with centimetre precision.
- After pilot testing in Switzerland and Germany, the devices are being gradually implemented at Oerlikon sites worldwide.
Pfäffikon, Schwyz, Switzerland – October 29, 2020 – In times of increasing coronavirus cases, the global technology Group Oerlikon is well-equipped with an innovative technology to minimize the risk of infection for employees, customers and business partners. During the past few months, Oerlikon has successfully tested the sensor-based SafeZone technology from Munich-based start-up Kinexon as a pilot project at some of its Swiss and German sites and is now gradually equipping its worldwide sites with the devices.
In June 2020, Oerlikon communicated that it was testing the SafeZone distance-warning technology from the Munich-based start-up Kinexon. The pilot tests were conducted at several Oerlikon locations in Germany and Switzerland. Oerlikon is introducing now the successfully tested system at locations worldwide. By the end of the year, 8000 distance-warning devices will be in operation at more than 100 locations in 20 countries in Europe and the USA.
“Providing a safe working environment and protection for our employees, customers and business partners globally remain top and immediate priorities,” explains Dr Roland Fischer, CEO Oerlikon Group. “As it is difficult to predict the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was extremely important for us to complete the tests quickly and successfully over the past months so that we can introduce the technology on a large scale from autumn onwards.”
With SafeZone, the distance between individuals is measured with centimetre accuracy. At Oerlikon’s locations with the technology installed, employees can choose to either wear the sensor on the wrist or carry it around in a sensor holder. If the predefined minimum distance between two sensors, for example, 1.5 meters, is breached, audio-visual warning signals are activated.
Wearing a SafeZone sensor also enables the precise tracking of contact chains in the event of an infection, allowing a rapid and targeted implementation of measures, such as imposing quarantines on affected contact persons. Additionally, all parties involved can be rapidly informed, and the affected areas can be narrowed down precisely and quickly, thereby preventing a complete shutdown of the site.
“Thanks to our employees, who have exercised great discipline and care, and the safety measures implemented by Oerlikon, we have until now managed the pandemic very well,” added Dr. Fischer. “The health of employees comes first, and we want to continue ensuring their health in the future by deploying such modern distance-warning technology.”
Oerlikon (SIX: OERL) engineers materials, equipment and surfaces and provides expert services to enable customers to have high-performance products and systems with extended lifespans. Drawing on its key technological competencies and strong financial foundation, the Group is sustaining mid-term growth by addressing attractive growth markets, securing structural growth and expanding through targeted mergers and acquisitions.
A leading global technology and engineering Group, Oerlikon operates its business in two Segments – Surface Solutions and Manmade Fibers – and has a global footprint of more than 11 100 employees at 182 locations in 37 countries. In 2019, Oerlikon generated CHF 2.6 billion in sales and invested more than CHF 120 million in R&D.