Manufacturing in the Aerospace industry is extremely challenging. The manufacturing process is often very complex with production managers having to manage a plethora of parts, tools, and people that make up this process. On top of that, aerospace manufacturers face strict quality control (QC) standards, and with the threat of ballooning costs always on the horizon, they need to be able to effectively manage all the parts of the process and spot issues on the production floor quickly so that they can resolve them efficiently.
Efficiency is all about getting the right parts, tools, and people in the right place at the right time to maximize all aspects of the production process. When one element of the chain is delayed, or a particular process takes longer than expected, manufacturing efficiency drops and costs go up.
Thankfully, there are systems that manufacturers can put in place that help tackle the problem. These systems are known as andon systems and they’ve been used to improve the manufacturing process for many years.
An Introduction to Andon Systems
Originating from Japan, an andon system is a custom network of individual andons which includes such things as lights, sirens, display screens, and more. These individual components, as part of a complete andon system, are an excellent way to increase productivity, improve efficiency and enhance quality control. By alerting workers and production managers to potential issues in the production process, andon systems enable workers and managers to quickly check the production or assembly line, and resolve quality control issues before they’re able to have a detrimental impact on a significant amount of stock or materials. Andon systems also enable aerospace manufacturing managers to measure and record response and resolve times, view real-time dashboards for better visualization of status at all manual workstations and automatic machines on the production floor, and run reports that provide insight into problem areas and how to fix them. In short, andon systems allow manufacturers to resolve issues before they occur and cause downtime.
How an Aerospace Andon System Works
Andons systems for aerospace provide complete visibility of production status at every stage of the production status. This is achieved with wireless input modules that are strategically placed throughout the manufacturing floor. These input modules capture all production performance information including: operator efficiency, machine and assembly time, location, downtime occurrences with reason for downtime, and safety incidents.
What an Aerospace Andon System Looks Like
Every manufacturer’s andon system will be customized to their specific process. However, in this example will show you a typical setup for an aerospace component manufacturer.
Visual Status – Total Production Floor By Line
- One Screen provides the entire status of the production floor. Screens may be in the form of flat screens attached to walls or stands, and mobile devices in personnel hands.
- This visibility includes which work order is at which step.
- It also indicates if the work order has an issue by color designations.
Drill Down Provides Step Production Visibility
- Click on the main screen and you now see the detailed status of the production step.
- Information includes both work order completion status, and the percentage of completion.
Drill Down Screen Also Provides Location On/Behind Schedule Visibility
- The Drill Down screen from the main plant screen also provides where the work order is and whether it is on schedule for the planned production time or if it is behind schedule.
- Automatic immediate communications are sent out when the work order is behind schedule or there is an issue.
Immediate Communication Of Issues
- Production floor issues are immediately communicated to the appropriate individuals. Response time is captured for each incident. This includes work orders with issues. All this information, including root causes, are automatically recorded in a database for reporting.
- All production disruptions are minimized with the VersaCall System.
Andons Decrease Downtime & Increase Productivity
In aerospace manufacturing, an andon system works to send the data directly to the right people so that production managers can be on top of every stage of the production process at all times. As one might imagine, this decreases downtime because managers are made aware of issue immediately so that they can take corrective action. Because important information about the production process is recorded and stored, managers can then use that information to optimize their processes and increase overall output.
Andons & The Competitive Advantage
If an aerospace manufacturing company is using an Andon System as part of their goal for efficiency, they will notice that they have reduced their costs, increased their margins, decreased downtime, increased production output, and eliminated as much waste as possible. Manufacturers using VersaCall Systems, for example, experience an average of 10-12% reduction in downtime and 5-12% increase in output, resulting in a savings of $590,000 per year. This enables them to position themselves better in terms of price and be a step ahead of the competition in the market.
Customizing an Andon System for You
For more information about how the our VersaCall system can be implemented into your aerospace manufacturing process, see our system application white paper on a “Aerospace Component Manufacturer” If you would like to learn more about how a versacall system can be added to your manufacturing facility specifically, please feel free to schedule a free demo with our team. We help aerospace manufacturers, such as UTC Aerospace, minimize costs and downtime, while increasing output. We’d love to be able to do the same for you.