Next Generation Andon

“Andon” – The definition

What is an Andon System?

Andon (アンドン, あんどん, 行灯) is a manufacturing term referring to a system to notify management, maintenance, and other workers of a quality or process problem. The centrepiece is a signboard incorporating signal lights to indicate which workstation has the problem. The alert can be activated manually by a worker using a pullcord or button, or may be activated automatically by the production equipment itself. The system may include a means to stop production so the issue can be corrected. Some modern alert systems incorporate audio alarms, text, or other displays.

An Andon system is one of the principal elements of the Jidoka quality-control method pioneered by Toyota as part of the Toyota Production System and therefore now part of the Lean approach. It gives the worker the ability to stop production when a defect is found, and immediately call for assistance. Common reasons for manual activation of the Andon are part shortage, defect created or found, tool malfunction, or the existence of a safety problem. Work is stopped until a solution has been found. The alerts may be logged to a database so that they can be studied as part of a continuous-improvement program.

The system typically indicates where the alert was generated, and may also provide a description of the trouble. Modern Andon systems can include text, graphics, or audio elements. Audio alerts may be done with coded tones, music with different tunes corresponding to the various alerts, or pre-recorded verbal messages. Usage of the word originated within Japanese manufacturing companies, and in English is a loanword from a Japanese word for a paper lantern.

Andon History 1

…Evolution of Andon Systems

Toyota created the Andon concept as a tool for assembly line operators to notify other workers and supervisors of an immediate production issue. When a defect was spotted or created, an operator would pull an overhead cord to stop the assembly line and trigger a light or sound. This would signal over someone to help resolve the problem. The term Jidoka “building quality in” motivated Toyota to go through such lengths for quality assurance.

Jidoka, Building Quality into Andon.

Other companies have modified and added to the Andon concept to expand its relevance beyond the automotive sector. Companies have developed systems that allow operators to send signals specific to certain malfunctions. They have also enhanced visual displays to communicate to other operators and supervisors what and where the problem is. Sage Clarity builds on these innovations to bring customers a superior Andon notification system and help them incorporate “Jidoka” into their plants.


Our Next Generation Andon System

Move from static andon boards to a real-time alerts on digital signage

Our Andon system is a combination of:

  • Large overhead plant floor displays
  • Utilization of existing Operator HMIs and plant floor terminals
  • Alerting technology using emails and SMS type messaging

Benefits of Next-gen Andon

  • Improved communication between operators and engineers
  • Multi-media response format for maximum exposure to the alerts
  • Better continuous improvement opportunities
  • OEE and Quality improvements

Core Features

Establishing escalation policies and distribution lists for alerts

Smart Alert System

  • Activated by pre-defined system parameters
  • Emails will be sent based on predefined parameters
    • e.g. quality exceeds 2%

Immediate Response Alert

  • Activated by the operator
  • Emails will be sent to the appropriate people based on the type of alarm—safety, quality, maintenance—and the location of the alarm.

Interrupt-driven digital signage technology for rapid issue response

Andon system integrated with (MES) applications

Our visible alert system can keep workers and managers in the know, letting them fix issues quickly. The next-gen Andon can be integrated with systems such as Epicor Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).  The factory media center can also be linked with your EMI system so production can be seen in real-time by your everyone on the floor.

Idea Lab - Andon System

Cloud-based Andon system with touch screen controls placed near operator terminals

Automated alerts to the people that matter

Our Andon system can keep you in the know. You won’t have to be on the factory floor to see a production line stoppage. You can receive alerts on your phone or through email for any scenario you’d like to be notified about.

Smart alerts will notify identified key people based on system parameters

Customize your Andon notification settings based on the parameters that you need to track.

Alert Type


Notification list

Line downAny line is down > 2 hoursLine supervisor
Repeat issuesDowntime for same issue occurs > 3x / hourLine supervisor, Maintenance manager
Excessive downtimeChangeovers > 1 hour, PMs > 4 hoursMaintenance supervisor, operation managers
Machine specificStation downtime > 5 minutesEngineering manager, Equipment vendor
QualityRejects at filler > 1% Quality Manager, CI manager

Learn how next generation Andon software will improve production floor communications and quality management.

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