What Are Those Multicolored Lights In Manufacturing Plants?

Have you ever seen pictures or video of a manufacturing floor and wondered what those multicolored, vertically-oriented lights are next to all the production equipment?

In order to ensure that a manufacturing plant is run as effectively as possible, certain technology is integrated to make processes quicker and to report issues immediately so that they can be addressed before they impact production.

In this article, we are going to discuss the multicolored lights that you often see in manufacturing plants —what they are, what they do, and how you can install and make use of their latest technology in your own manufacturing plant.

The Andon System

Those multicolored lights have been around for a long time in production and originated in production lines in Japan. They are part of what is traditionally known as an Andon system, a system which can be especially important in the lean manufacturing process to reduce unnecessary waste and ensure communication happens immediately when issues occur. Audio signals on Andon systems may also be integrated to ensure awareness when problems arise.

But what is an Andon system? Put simply, it is a system that alerts operators and managers about any current issues that there might be on the manufacturing floor and of automating the processes within that system. It is comprised of Andon visual display boards and input and output devices, and it enables immediate action to be taken where necessary to keep things running smoothly throughout the plant. 

KPIs and Beyond

There is a good chance that you know about KPIs, as these are used in many kinds of business and in a number of sectors across the board. An Andon system is normally in charge of ensuring that the KPIs are all being displayed, so that the team knows exactly what is going on and whether the targets are presently being hit or not. 

These days, cloud-based technologies are used to ensure that the Andon system is connected with other IoT or smart devices within your manufacturing plant. This makes it easier for you and your staff to identify root causes of issues across the plant and make changes to continuous improvement goals to improve lagging or problematic processes.

The Benefits

Companies use Andon systems for a variety of reasons. In particular, an Andon system in your manufacturing plant can help to decrease costs, economize on the raw materials that you are using, and increase your production levels. Overall, Andon systems are known to increase general productivity, decrease wastage, improve the quality of the output, and make sure that it is uniform and just as it should be, so that your entire business can improve. Most of all, they increase successful continuous improvement initiatives. 

With all these benefits, it’s worth looking into how Andon systems can be implemented in your own business and how it can directly impact the success and efficiency of production.