At Anne Miller's manual workstation she's run out of material. Previously she would have placed a red sign on the material container so that it could be collected, refilled and replaced by the logistics team. Whilst the material was being replenished Mrs Miller was forced to work on a separate production process or had to take a break. Both of which was not always an effective use of her time.
Material replenishment at the touch of a button
Today Anne presses a button directly on her workstation and is provided with supplies of material within a few seconds. This is made possible by the new AndonCONTROL product from WERMA Signaltechnik based in Rietheim in Southern Germany. Various states can be conveyed by this signal device system: in addition to requesting material supplies or drawing attention to quality issues, a supervisor can be called. As a consequence the employee activating the signal no longer has to wait for support.
The signalling process that today is a well-established standard with automated systems can now thanks to AndonControl be expanded to cover manual production workstations. The resulting savings in time and resources play an important role in process optimisation.
AndonCONTROL visualises production issues
The term "Andon" originates from Japan. A signal tower or beacon mounted in a prominent position signals that a problem has arisen occurring and requests an immediate response. WERMA’s AndonCONTROL functions according to the same principle: when an optical or audible signal is activated the supervisor or logistics person is made aware of the fact that an immediate response is required.
Up to eight different states can be activated at the touch of a button with AndonCONTROL. The call system is equipped with intelligent electronics that enable specific status display via four push buttons. At Anne Miller's workstation for example the yellow signal element permanently lights up when Material A is required and blinks to signal a need for Material B.
A flexible call system
Each workstation that is equipped with AndonCONTROL enables the employee at the touch of a button to precisely and instantaneously signal which type of issue has occurred. With the aid of optical and/or audible signals the system then displays the corresponding information. The push buttons used to activate the individual AndonCONTROL states can be labelled according to user requirements and enable optimal assignment of the functions.
WERMA’s R&D team have ensured maximum user benefit in every aspect of the AndonCONTROL specification. This includes a universal power supply which enables simple installation without the need for additional cables. Three interchangeable adaptors for Europe, Great Britain and North America make AndonCONTROL suitable for worldwide use.
Wireless technology provides a complete overview
In larger production areas several workstations are often outside of the supervisor’s line of sight. For situation such as these WERMA offers an optimal solution: a combination of AndonCONTROL and WIN (Wireless Information Network) allows a central overview of the currents status of up to 50 workstations at the same time. Simple integration of the "WIN slave" into the AndonCONTROL system enables this supplementary function to be used. The WIN slave transmits data via wireless technology to the WIN master, which is connected to a central PC. With the help of the user-friendly WIN software, various productivity analysis tools can also be implemented. The concise software display interface enables intuitive operation and helps to gain a good overview of the integrated workstations.
The WIN system is also equipped with a messaging functionality. WIN sends occurrence-specific e-mails so that information is reliably and punctually transmitted to the correct person, independent of their location. The main aim is to achieve shortened response times and greater efficiency for specifically defined processes whilst ensuring clearly defined areas of responsibility amongst production staff. In large production departments, the reduction in workload and inestimable time and cost benefits are particularly valuable.
A wide range of applications
AndonCONTROL applications do not stop with industrial production areas. The attractively designed product can also be optimally used at ticket or service counters. As soon as the employee at the counter activates the "counter free" signal the next customer can move forward, the "counter occupied" signal is then displayed. The system improves organisation and the flow of visitors to public offices, busy service and collection areas, doctors' practices and large clinics.
Process optimisation and greater efficiency
Production and logistics experts are increasingly focussing on the implementation of lean management methods. The aim of a holistic approach to lean management is to optimally coordinate all activities within the value creation chain and thus to eliminate all types of waste. The use of AndonCONTROL not only improves the efficiency of production processes but decisively contributes to the effective use of resources, creates cost savings and increases the ability to flexibly respond to market changes.