Digital technologies are impacting every aspect of our lives, including the way we manufacture and produce goods, helping to increase productivity and maximize output. One area in particular which has seen a significant change in the last few years is the role of advanced Andon to Smart Manufacturing, as outlined in this article.
What is smart manufacturing?
Smart Manufacturing, sometimes abbreviated to SM, is a technology-driven approach that makes use of internet-connected machines to monitor the production process. A main overall goal of implementing a Smart Manufacturing process is to improve efficiency and performance through the automation of operations and the analysis of production data, leading to a reduction in downtime and increasing long-term cost savings.
Smart Manufacturing represents the future of Manufacturing Execution Systems and Manufacturing Operations Management, providing a smarter, more flexible means to monitor automated production.
What is an Andon system?
The term Andon was taken from the Japanese as a term referring to a paper-enclosed lantern from the Edo era. It communicates the idea of using lights as signals to alert others. A modern Andon system used in manufacturing is a visual control used to indicate the status of a machine within the production process. Most Andon systems come with audible alarms alongside their visual queues to alert supervisory staff to a machine’s change in status, enabling them to take action to reduce delays with production thus increasing the overall efficiency of the production process.
How have Andon systems changed in recent years?
Developing Smart Manufacturing techniques requires keeping up with the latest and highest quality technology, and today’s advanced Andon systems are no exception. Modern Andon systems employ the latest technologies, improving the communication and reporting of issues in real-time to help manufacturers reach their goals more quickly and more efficiently. Some of the most recent additions to Andon technologies include the following:
Digital Data Acquisition and Display
KPI (Key Performance Indicators) data such as cycle time, downtime, response and resolve times, production progress etc. are automatically collected and displayed in real-time dashboards and reports. This enables faster reaction to production issues and preemptive improvements to head off future downtime.
Visual management provides all relevant personnel with timely and easily accessible actionable data foster faster and better decision making leading to improved productivity.
Integration of MES and ERP Systems
As technology has evolved Andon systems have become more advanced and can now be tailored to meet the individual needs of each business. One of the most common ways this has been achieved is through the integration with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. This enables the use of role-based alarms, streamlining the communications process, and ensuring that the right people are notified of any fault.
Utilization of the Cloud (Whether Inside the Firewall or External)
The cloud has enabled Andon system data to be communicated more easily across multiple departments, streamlining the entire production process rather than relying on isolated elements. The cloud has also revolutionized reporting enabling an automated message to be sent to managers in other areas of the businesses as well as other sites associated with the company.
Improved Audio Notifications
Many of today’s Andon systems now incorporate audio cues to support their traditional colored lighting alerts. This ensures that all team members are made aware of the issue and can benefit partially sighted workers as well as those who have their vision impaired by safety equipment. Audio cues are also harder to ignore and can more easily grasp the attention of engineers or workers who are fixed on their projects.
Incorporation of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have become a big part of modern Andon systems, helping to reduce downtime by correcting the issue themselves, without needing to wait for a human engineer, or ensuring that the fault is escalated to the right person immediately.
What sets VersaCall’s advanced Andon system above the rest?
VersaCall’s advanced Andon system combines the traditional visual and audio elements of conventional Andon systems with cutting-edge features such as the ability to facilitate Smart Manufacturing and communication through text, call, email, and radios. This way, calls will escalate until acknowledged, reducing potential downtime.
VersaCall’s advanced Andon system also uses a real-time reporting dashboards to make it easier to identify the root cause of issues and develop continuous improvement plans. Customers using VersaCall’s advanced Andon systems typically see a 3% to 9% increase in output and reduce their downtime by 10% to 12%, directly resulting in 10% to 12% additional production time.
With a step by step implementation process and quick installation, the financial payback of a VersaCall’s advanced Andon system is one of the shortest available with most companies seeing a financial payback in as little as 2–6 months. Contact us today to learn more about our advanced Andon systems.