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.
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 that Group companies in Japan strictly adhere to.
Moreover, based on this policy, Canon Inc. and Group companies in Japan formulate and follow individual Voluntary Action Plans for Product Safety suited to their business format, working to ensure product safety while remaining customer-focused.
Moreover, we 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.
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 production stages. We withhold from the market any products not meeting these exacting standards and ensure that all of our products are safe for use.
Canon Inc. has set up testing facilities compliant with public 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.
Canon assesses the chemical emissions from its printers, multifunctional devices (MFDs), projectors, and other products. Our assessments include measurements of data 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.
Since 2017, large equipment that had been excluded from the UFP-related standards for receiving the Blue Angel mark must meet those standards. Canon will continue to respond in a timely manner to other regulatory developments, such as the introduction of the stricter ECMA-328* standard.
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.
Canon assesses the safety 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, 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 some cases, animal testing is an effective means of verifying the impact a chemical may have on human health or the environment. Certain laws and regulations in Japan and other countries require the submission of animal test data as part of statutory safety assessments of chemicals and medical devices.
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. Furthermore, for certain components and materials used in medical equipment, we commission external specialist organizations to conduct animal testing if necessary to comply with standards.
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.
Canon considers it essential to maintain and improve the quality and reliability of every component, including integrated circuits and various electronic parts, to ensure products are safe and reliable. We have developed our own in-house quality certification system for 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 response, to ensure appropriate quality levels are maintained, we have upgraded the change management capabilities of Canon's in-house quality certification 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.
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 company-wide approaches to testing methods.
In 2018, Canon began implementing a Secure Development Process designed to allow accurate risk assessments about security risks in product development. We also introduced the Vulnerability Assessment Check-Sheet as a quality confirmation requirement at the time of production release approval. This parameter sheet is now used at Canon Inc. 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 grasp and publish 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.
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 such as smartphones in recent years, Canon is making efforts to optimize display screens, making online support services easier to use.
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.
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 analyses 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 29 countries and regions in Japan, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
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 2018, no product advisory statements were placed on our website. We did, however, post one quality notice.
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 investigates 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.