Features

Automation creates innovation

Pilot Pen recently automated part of its manufacturing process in Japan, leading to an innovation in its permanent marker offering. 
Pilot Pen is a globally recognised Japanese pen manufacturer. A household name, Pilot Pen is renowned for its quality and has been at the forefront of design and innovation.
Recently celebrating its 100th year of operation, John Johnston, Marketing Manager at Pilot Pen Australia believes that what sets Pilot apart from other pen manufacturers is its genuine desire to create a product that people will value.
“From an end user perspective, Pilot Pen really cares about the user experience,” he says. All of Pilot’s products are made in Japan using the best quality ink and materials, with an emphasis on end-user satisfaction
“The focus is on being the best and ensuring that every one of our products is produced to the highest standard,” John says.
In 2016, Pilot Pen announced that it was to invest more than $100AUD million dollars on its Japanese production plants to triple production capacity for inexpensive oil-based pens.
“Pilot upgraded its buildings and facilities and introduced automated assembly equipment to boost production,” John says.
Pilot’s vision was to produce 500 million pens annually by 2018, this kind of volume has allowed the business to offer quality products at affordable prices.
“I have visited the factories in Japan, the state-of-the-art automation process is really impressive. The entire SCA Permanent Marker line is automated and allows us to deliver a high-quality product at an attractive price point,” John says.
With the automation process fully developed, Pilot was able to work on the innovation of its new permanent marker offering.
“We have been in this market previously, but we really wanted to offer a solution that would help businesses,” John says.
A common issue with permanent markers in offices, factories and warehouses is that they are used and then left without a lid on, causing the pen to dry out. Pilot recognised a need for a higher quality, more reliable pen and developed the SCA 100 and 400 permanent markets.
The SCA 100 and 400 series feature the newly developed Controlled Surface Properties (CSP) ink. This is wear resistant and prevents the ink dispersing when it’s scratched. This allows for a long-cap off performance.
The pen can be left without the lid on for 24 hours and still be used. “We knew that for industries like logistics they need a more robust and reliable pen, and with the CSP ink we were able to develop a permanent marker that will continue to deliver even if the lid is left off for long periods of time,” John says.
Additionally, the SCA 100 and 400 series has a strong surface adhesion. “You can use the pen to write on pretty much anything – cartons, glass, plastic, wood, metal, paper. It will even write over grease and oil,” John says.
It’s also wear resistant, which means that the ink cannot be rubbed out and according to John it will not fade from excessive heat, light, water or cold.
The markers also come in vibrant colours to ensure accurate visibility.
“We’ve recently upped our game in the market space, and we’re really proud of our SCA 100 and 400 series offering. We think this is a great marker for industries like logistics where speed, reliability, quality and accuracy are key,” John says.

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