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Product Responsibility
Ensuring Product Safety

We have set strict standards for managing quality that go beyond legal and regulatory requirements to ensure customers can use our products with complete peace of mind.

Voluntary Action Plan Based on the Basic Policy on Product Safety

Canon believes one of its most important missions as a manufacturer is to provide safe products that offer peace of mind and satisfaction. With this in mind, we formulated a Basic Policy on Product Safety to which some Group companies in Japan comply with.

Moreover, based on this policy, we have formulated a Voluntary Action Plan for Product Safety that we carry out in an effort to ensure product safety and to remain customer-focused.

We also comply fully with government laws and notices, and have developed a system for immediate reporting, for example, in the unlikely event of an accident involving one of our products.

Additionally, Canon Inc. and Canon Group companies in Japan have formulated and are following individual Voluntary Action Plans for Product Safety suited to their business format.

2016 Activities Scorecard for Canon Inc.

  • Management review by the president based on the Voluntary Action Plan for Product Safety (conducted annually since 2008)
  • Revised 13 in-house rules and regulations documents, including Product Safety Regulation Compliance Procedures and Quality Issue Action Regulations
  • Revised 18 in-house standards documents, including standards for product and chemical safety
  • Continued efforts to raise awareness among customers about smoke emission from counterfeit batteries and the safe handling of electric cords and plugs, etc.
  • Continued implementation of product safety education and emphasis on the importance of product safety during basic training on quality
  • Continued implementation of updated e-learning course for all employees to promote understanding of the Voluntary Action Plan for Product Safety

Establishment of In-house Product Safety Technical Standards

Canon regards the provision of safe products as one of the most fundamental and important missions of a manufacturer.

We therefore require that all Canon products comply with our own Product Safety Technical Standards (for substantial safety*), which take into account customer perspectives on product use, together with legally stipulated product safety standards.

For example, we employ plastics that are more flame resistant than the law requires, and we implement double-protection schemes for important safety-related components.

We regularly revise these standards in light of technological advances as well as changes in how customers use our products, and changes in requests regarding safety and quality.

Based on these technical standards, we strictly enforce quality management in terms of safety at the design, evaluation, and manufacturing stages. We withhold from the market any products not meeting these exacting standards and ensure that all of our products are safe for use.

In 2016, we reviewed instructions and displays for ease of understanding and accuracy of meaning, aiming to deepen the connection between safety efforts and safety technology in light of human factors.

  • * Substantial safety: This means safety not just in terms of what is regulated by laws and statutes, but any safety issue that can reasonably be expected to arise when customers actually use our products.

Main Approaches to Safety Technology

  • Conduct safety assessments in light of human factors (physical function, abilities, thinking and behavior), taking into account the variety of possible actions a user may perform
  • Engage in joint development with manufacturers of essential safety-related components, such as non-combustible parts and non-fail protective components, and employ those meeting the requirements of Canon’s Qualification System for Parts and Components
  • Conduct safety confirmation testing based on abnormal voltage waveforms in commercial power supplies confirmed in regions around the world where Canon products are sold
  • Hypothesize abnormalities, such as component failure, and conduct stricter safety evaluation testing than is required by the laws of each country or region.

Quality Assessment During Development

Assessment Environment in Place for Delivery of Products That Are Safe and Offer Peace of Mind

Canon Inc. has set up testing facilities compliant with official standards and relevant laws to accurately and thoroughly assess the safety of products in terms of electromagnetic interference (EMI), noise, flame resistance ratings, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), genotoxicity, and electrical safety.

Canon has also obtained certification in public standards such as ISO*1/IEC*2 and UL*3, enabling certified testing to be carried out in-house according to highly precise measurements.

Specifically, Canon is equipped with the industry’s leading testing technology, including semi-anechoic chambers for EMI testing that are among the largest and best in Japan, a verification laboratory for testing the fire safety and ignition propensity of large products, shielded rooms, and semi-anechoic chambers for acoustic noise testing. In addition to EMC testing*4, Canon is able to conduct in-house all testing necessary for applying for Blue Angel*5 certification.

  • *1 ISO: International Organization for Standardization, a non-governmental organization that formulates international industrial and commercial standards
  • *2 IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission, an international standardization group that formulates standards on electrical and digital technologies
  • *3 UL: Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., a company that conducts independent testing and certification of the safety of products that pass its assessment tests based on its own product safety standards established to standardize function and safety
  • *4 EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) testing: Consists of testing for electromagnetic interference caused by a product or its power source that may affect the operation of other equipment, and testing for electromagnetic susceptibility of the product itself that may result in malfunction
  • *5 Blue Angel: Launched in Germany as the world’s first environmental labelling (ecolabeling) system
EMI measurement of products in a semi-anechoic chamber

EMI measurement of products in a semi-anechoic chamber

Flammability verification laboratory for large products

Flammability verification laboratory for large products

Safety Assessment Initiatives

Safety Assessments of Chemical Substances Released from Products

Canon assesses the chemical emissions from its printers, multifunctional devices (MFDs), projectors, and other products.

Our assessments include measurements of benzene, styrene, ozone, dust, and ultrafine particles (UFP) necessary for acquisition of Germany’s Blue Angel environmental label.

We also measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for which exposure limits have been set both within Japan and internationally. We verify that emission levels meet our in-house standards, which match or even exceed those set worldwide.

The in-house laboratory conducting these assessments has received accreditation from Germany’s Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and is therefore capable of conducting the assessments required for applications for Blue Angel certification. It has also received ISO/IEC 17025 and 28360 accreditation to conduct measurements in a fair and neutral manner.

Starting in 2017, large equipment that had been excluded from the UFP-related standards for receiving the Blue Angel mark will be required to meet those standards. Canon will continue to respond in a timely manner to this sort of standards tightening.

We consider protection of our customers and the environment to be of the highest priority. We are currently reviewing our processes and promoting efficiency through automation in order to shorten the assessment period.

Safety Assessment of Ink, Toner, and Other Consumables

Canon assesses the safety and ensures the quality of its ink, toner, and other consumables, enabling customers to use its printers and MFDs with confidence.

For example, with regard to the materials for ink and toner, we carry out assessments related to genotoxicity, which is thought to be closely linked to carcinogenicity, using bacterial reverse mutation tests and in vitro mammalian cell micronucleus tests. Regarding the latter, starting in August 2014, Canon has been able to conduct in-house assessments of the water-insoluble materials used in many Canon products.

Canon’s testing laboratories are highly reliable and have been certified by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare as in compliance with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)* standards in the Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc. (Chemical Substances Control Law). Canon’s laboratories also comply with GLP standards set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Furthermore, Canon became the first in Japan to have its in vitro mammalian cell micronucleus test certified as in compliance with the GLP standards in the Chemical Substances Control Law.

In 2016, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare confirmed (via inspections) that Canon’s laboratories remain compliant with GLP standards in the Chemical Substances Control Law, and renewal procedures, which are conducted every three years, have been completed.

  • * Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)
    The standard for the management, testing and reporting of facilities and organizations that operate as testing agencies conducting chemical substance safety assessments. Testing according to GLP standards ensures reproducibility and data reliability. GLP standards set by the OECD were enacted in 1981, and since then, member countries have developed domestic laws and regulations based on these standards. Facilities certified as compliant under Japan’s GLP standards in the Chemical Substances Control Law must have their certification renewed every three years, which involves receiving a new conformity screening prior to the expiration of the certification’s validity period.
In vitro mammalian cell micronucleus test

In vitro mammalian cell micronucleus test

Using Animal Testing to Assess the Safety of Chemicals

Certain laws and regulations in Japan and other countries require the submission of animal testing data when assessing the safety of chemicals, and in some cases, animal testing is an effective means of verifying the impact a chemical may have on human health or the environment.

In light of this, Canon conducts animal testing through a third-party specialist institution, but only in cases where it cannot obtain existing data externally with regard to the chemicals used in its toners and inks, and no alternative is available.

This approach is stipulated in our in-house rules on the safety of chemical products and in the Three Rs* for animal testing.

Canon will continue to gather information and conduct analysis on novel approaches and evaluation methods that do not require animal testing so that alternative forms of evaluation can be conducted.

  • * The Three Rs: A set of principles on animal testing advocated in 1959 for worldwide application
    Reduction: Reduce the number of animals used in testing
    Refinement: Minimize the suffering of animals
    Replacement: Use alternative methods to animal testing

Qualification System for Electronic Parts to Ensure Safety and Reliability

Canon considers it essential to maintain and improve the quality and reliability of every component, including integrated circuits and various electronic parts, to ensure that products are safe and reliable. Consequently, we built and operate a qualification system of our own design for these electronic parts.

When selecting parts under this system, we evaluate reliability and structural soundness in accordance with standards for each type of part, ultimately using only electronic parts that meet these standards of quality.

In recent years, the market environment has undergone significant changes, including the consolidation or closure of electronic part manufacturers and the relocation of plants. In the face of such upheaval and in order to maintain appropriate levels of quality, Canon made substantial improvements to the change management system that was already in place and has begun operating it as an essentially new system.

Canon is also working on enhancing its evaluation technologies to keep pace with advancements in electronic parts. This includes high-precision nondestructive evaluation technologies such as X-ray CT scans, and more detailed processing and observation technologies, as well as measurement technologies for higher-speed LSI.

Software Security and Response to Vulnerabilities

More and more of Canon’s products, including multifunctional devices and cameras, are being connected to other products via networks, greatly enhancing convenience.

At the same time, cybersecurity risks, such as leaks of personal or confidential information from a network-connected device, have increased.

In response to such risks, Canon installs security functions for network-compatible products during software development and conducts various types of vulnerability testing. We have also worked to raise awareness about security, vulnerabilities, and risks, and to standardize companywide approaches to testing methods. In 2016, to allow accurate risk assessments about the loading of security functions, Canon began applying unified technical standards for application during product development.

To prevent any recurrence of software vulnerabilities identified in the past, we introduced the Vulnerability Assessment Check-Sheet as a quality confirmation requirement at the time of production release approval. This parameter sheet is now used companywide for vulnerability verification processes.

Moreover, recognizing the importance of minimizing the impact on customers when a vulnerability is found after products have been shipped, we strive to share and release necessary information about any such issues in a timely manner. Accordingly, we have established a system to investigate market trends on vulnerability, including the products of other companies, and to quickly share information internally to prevent similar problems from occurring in our own products.

After-Sales Support

Online Support Services

In order to facilitate the resolution of issues, Canon provides customer-support services globally through its websites.

On these websites, customers can access support information, including FAQs, product specifications, and user manuals, and can download the latest software and drivers. Support information and software based on common content for worldwide use, as well as local content that has been added by marketing subsidiaries, are made available on our company websites in their respective languages.

Customer usage is continuously monitored and survey information analyzed, with feedback going to the divisions that created the relevant content. We continuously update the content based on frequently searched keywords, making it easier for customers to find what they are looking for.

In connection with the spread of mobile devices (including smartphones) in recent years, Canon is making efforts to optimize display screens and make other improvements to its online support services to make them easier to use.

Enhancing After-Sales Service Worldwide

After-sales service is critical for customers to enjoy long-term use of Canon products. We are therefore expanding our after-sales service network on a global scale in order to offer the same level of prompt, reliable support in every market worldwide.

After-sales servicing

After-sales servicing

Utilizing Feedback from Market Data Analysis in Product Improvements

In order to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction, Canon incorporates user feedback in addition to conducting product evaluations from the customer’s perspective at the development stage.

One way we do this is through the Call Information Collection and Analysis System, updated in 2015. This is a system to collect customer feedback and requests received by call centers at our marketing subsidiaries worldwide. The development and production divisions and marketing subsidiaries can view this information at any time, helping them improve quality, revise user manuals, and develop better products. The results of call analysis are fed back to development teams who then use that information to improve customer convenience by, for example, improving displays on product control panels or simplifying methods for connecting to wireless LANs.

The system currently covers 27 countries and regions in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Japan.

Call Information Collection and Analysis System Call Information Collection and Analysis System

Call Information Collection and Analysis System

Responding to Product Safety and Quality Issues

Although Canon strives to prevent product safety and quality issues, in the event that one does arise, it has in place a framework that ensures a prompt and appropriate response, including causal investigation, free repair, and information disclosure.

We keep our customers informed about product safety as well as quality issues and remedial procedures by placing product advisory statements in various newspapers and on our website.

In 2016, no product advisory statements were placed on our website. We did, however, post two quality notices and information pertaining to one incident report based on the Consumer Product Safety Act.

Process for Responding to Quality Issues

When quality issues arise, the marketing subsidiaries in each country, which serve as contact points for customers, file reports with the quality assurance division of the respective Canon Inc. products operations. The quality assurance division then analyzes the cause of the issue and looks into countermeasures. Moreover, in the event of a major issue, related products operations, the Global Quality Management Center, legal division, and public relations division are consulted concerning response measures, and the matter is reported to the chairman/president.

When notification is made to customers via a company notice or Canon websites, we provide instructions to each marketing subsidiary in regions where the relevant product is sold, and, as a general rule, simultaneously release the information worldwide.

Flowchart of Countermeasures to Quality Issues Flowchart of Countermeasures to Quality Issues

Flowchart of Countermeasures to Quality Issues