Focused on the Future
Interview with Leuze CEO Ulrich Balbach
GIT SECURITY: As of this year, Leuze electronic no longer appears in communications with the additional “electronic” but rather only as Leuze. Why this step?
Ulrich Balbach: When Leuze electronic was founded in 1963, the term electronic was virtually synonymous with innovation. Today, however, it goes without saying that electronics are built into our sensors. Now the name of the brand alone – in its simplicity – should stand for the highest level of innovative strength.
How do you see yourself today?
Ulrich Balbach: Thanks to our more than 50 years of experience, Leuze is a true expert in sensor applications in automation technology. Leuze is a high-tech company, a driver of innovation. But we are innovative not only because we develop new technologies. For us, innovation means structuring technology so that a concrete benefit arises for our customers with respect to their specific application. This, paired together with our in-depth application know-how in our focus industries – that is our strength. It provides guidance on how we need to build a sensor with regard to its performance, its design and its operation – always with the goal of providing the maximum user friendliness and integration capability. We develop these innovations with a goal-oriented approach, always for the benefit of our customers. Consequently, we often set new technological standards that differentiate us on the market and lie at the limits of what is possible.
Is this differentiation the secret to your success?
Ulrich Balbach: If it was a secret I probably wouldn’t be revealing it here… but it can certainly be said that the entire Leuze company is systematically oriented towards a policy of differentiation and focus. Only in this way are we able to help our customers succeed for the long term in a constantly changing industry. For us that is company philosophy, the promise of the Leuze brand and our objective all at once.
You just spoke about focus … can you tell us what you are focusing on?
Ulrich Balbach: The best, most innovative technology is useless if it does not meet the needs of the customer.
We are therefore concentrating on our focus industries in which we have acquired in-depth application know-how and many years of experience. When these technological competences are applied to the relevant industry segments in a targeted fashion, this results in specific applications. For example, in the area of safety.
That means you view yourself as a safety expert?
Ulrich Balbach: Not only – we see ourselves as a safety expert and as a reliable partner for efficient sensor solutions. Our safety portfolio includes safety components, safety services as well as safety solutions for the entire lifecycle of the machine.
What is your latest development in the area of safety components?
Ulrich Balbach: Our latest safety innovation is our “Smart Process Gating” a space-saving access guarding on conveyor lines, for which we also received numerous awards, such as the 2019 GIT SECURITY AWARD. Leuze thoroughly convinced right from the start in the area of safety at work through trend-setting inventions, such as the development of the very first protective sensor.
You just touched on safety solutions … What exactly does Leuze mean by this?
Ulrich Balbach: The many years of experience in the use of safety-related applications and extensive knowledge of standards serve as the basis for our safety solutions. At the heart of every safety solution are the safety concepts qualified by us. For every safety solution, the requirements are gathered by our professional safety consultants and the solution individually tailored to the given system layout. We accompany the projects all the way through to the safety-related approval of the safety solution on-site.
Your focus on safety – is that the reason why your brand image is becoming increasingly yellow?
Ulrich Balbach: Our Leuze CI color is and remains red. But you have rightly noted: we are making increased use of the color yellow and the term “Safety at Leuze” in our public image and communications to show the wide range of products and services in the area of safety at work to our customers and the market. “Safety at Leuze” is representative for a well-matched product portfolio, extensive experience in safety consulting, in engineering and design of safety solutions as well as our broad range of safety services. All of this for various aspects of different types of machines and systems.
Final question: In your viewpoint, what uniquely distinguishes Leuze?
Ulrich Balbach: The Sensor People stand for determination and passion for technological advancement and change. We see ourselves as forerunners who, together with our customers, create the innovations of tomorrow to make them successful for the long term in a constantly changing industry. Your success is our motivation. That was true in the past and will be so in the future as well.