Andon solutions from apronic
Andon systems provide transparency in production. Malfunctions can be reported by employees and supplemented with any key figures such as cycle times, target and actual quantities or company-specific (OEE) KPIs on large displays in production. Email, SMS, telephone or app alerts ensure that production stoppages or problems are reported directly to the right person and that action is taken there. Our solutions thus create transparency among all employees or visitors to the shop floor. This enables efficiency increases through motivation and the reduction of downtimes through a quick reaction to malfunctions.
An Andon board is a display board for the production status of a production line. Similar to the Andon light, the status is displayed in traffic light colours, which makes it very easy to visually check the production. Errors are automatically detected by the machines or by the users and shown on the display panel. This way, you always have your key figures in view.
Modern Andon boards are often implemented with very large displays, but the use of a beamer is also possible. The flexibility of these Andon display boards can also be used for more in-depth information. Today, these information boards are used to display process-relevant key figures (KPI = Key Performance Indicator).
Andon is a method of visual data management, originated in Japan and was developed as part of the Toyota Production System. Andon systems visualise operating states of production lines or individual machines. The information should be displayed in a way that is comprehensible and immediately recognisable to all people.
Originally, andon (Japanese for paper lantern) is a small light on the machine that visualises problems in the production process. Even today, simple traffic lights or signal lights are still used for visualisation on many machines. Andon signal lamps according to the traffic light scheme are common.
In many manufacturing companies, a large number of work steps are still carried out manually. Even if the automation of production processes is already far advanced, there are simply some activities, especially fine-grained or frequently changing ones, that humans do better than a machine could today and will continue to do in the future. And even in highly automated manufacturing environments, there are machine operators, maintenance personnel or logistics staff who observe production and intervene if necessary. What all manufacturing has in common is that it has to be operated, monitored and kept alive by people.
In a high-wage country like Germany, it is important to spur the employees in production and adjacent company areas to perform at their best, if only for cost reasons. Employees are becoming more demanding and want to be informed and integrated into production planning and implementation. Against the background of demographic change and the shortage of skilled workers, every manufacturing company has the task of retaining employees in the future. Long-standing employees have acquired a great deal of know-how over time, which must be used optimally. In addition, new employees or employees from temporary employment represent a challenge for many companies. They have to be trained and informed as quickly as possible about the work content in order to be able to participate productively in the production process within a short period of time.
Poor communication is one of the main reasons for unmotivated employees. Increase the motivation of your production staff through transparent communication of:
Andon board at one of our customers
Information about relevant news from the corporate world promotes a stronger identification of employees with the companies. Decisions are comprehensible and goals clearly recognisable. Andon boards present this information on large digital displays for all to see. Corporate communication via classic media, such as in-house magazines, analogue bulletin boards or handouts, is inefficient, highly time-delayed and no longer up to date. Thus, these ways of communication are rather unsuitable.
The Andon cord is originally a ripcord, but today it is also often used as an emergency stop button. The Andon-Cord has two tasks. On the one hand, it triggers the emergency stop function and thus stops the entire system to prevent damage to people and machines. In addition, the system stop is clearly visualised for everyone via an Andon light and usually also the Andon board. Modern Andon systems also integrate with other systems and can, for example, display a push notification on the production manager’s mobile phone.
Andon-Cords give individual employees the opportunity to actively react to malfunctions, material requirements or other questions about the production process. Using touch panels, tablets, smartwatches or simple buttons at the stations, help can be called in case of problems during production. Usual functions are e.g.:
The modern form of an andon cord
Employees can choose from a predefined number of message reasons. This could be a type of error, but also a material number for reordering. Once the message has been sent, it appears on the large displays in production and also on the workstation itself, in the form of a stack light or on the screens of the touch terminals. It is now obvious to everyone in production that another employee needs to intervene at this workstation. The production manager can thus see exactly which workstation needs help. But material requirements can also be displayed on the large displays in logistics. The forklift drivers can then directly supply the correct workstation with the requested materials.
Signalling tones or announcements in production can be used to convey much more information. It is possible to communicate faults as announcements in different areas of production. The texts can be generated automatically via text-to-speech from error texts and are then played out in production when the error occurs. A live announcement would also be possible at any time, giving production managers another valuable tool for reacting.
These measures lead to a quick and targeted response to calls for help or fault reports. The employee no longer has to run to the production manager and tell him verbally that a problem has occurred. This considerably shortens the time until the initial state is restored and production downtimes can be reduced to a minimum.
The data generated from the messages of the production workers is important information. A freely definable reason for the fault as well as a free text can be added to each fault, which later makes it possible to avoid these faults in the future. The recorded times until the malfunction of the workstations can also be used to reschedule process steps with materials management or maintenance. This ensures a faster reaction to unplanned incidents in production in the future.
There are numerous methods of process optimisation, whether Total Quality Management (TQM), Kaizen, Lean Management, Lean Production or Six Sigma, all methods require the measurement and display of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The goal is to continuously improve productivity, quality and work processes while reducing downtime. KPIs are key figures with which performance within production can be measured and evaluated. The key performance indicators relate to utilisation, time, material and personnel. By linking theoretical maximum performance and current actual performance, conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of a production. But also the comparison of actual performance and target, or line A compared to line B, provide important information about optimisation potential within a process. Furthermore, these performance indicators can be used to measure and evaluate the effects of changes in the process. Studies show that the visualisation of data on Andon boards increases staff performance. Measurable effects can be seen especially in competitive zeal, pride and alertness.
We at apronic have already implemented many Andon applications for our customers. Therefore, we have a comprehensive know-how of what is possible and how it can be implemented. In numerous projects, a wealth of experience has grown which has flowed into the development of our standard solution prodwatch. This offers you a comprehensive tool for all the Andon applications described. We look forward to your call and to being able to help you achieve new peak performance in your production in an exciting project!