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The rise of wireless light towers and visual management for lean manufacturing

The rise of wireless light towers and visual management for lean manufacturing Andon systems (usually beacon LED lights on warning) are popular methods of achieving efficiency and productivity through visual management of stoppages and downtime. The clear LED signal lights or alarms call for instant action and are a cost effective tool for minimising production issues.

Manual and automated signal lights have been used for years, but the newest andon solution is the introduction of the wireless ZigBee light tower which makes lean manufacturing management easy and puts in place production-enhancing efficiency measures.

Motion29, Patlite UK stockist, now supplies the full range of Patlite's wireless andon system, AirGrid. The wireless system works on a mesh wireless network to create a simple 4 step lean manufacturing process:
  1. Signal light warns of production and efficiency issues
  2. Wireless sensor transports this message to specially adapted software
  3. The software creates a graphical display of light tower status for immediate analysis
  4. Engineering team can quickly identify diagnose problem and work to resolve it.

To complement the Patlite Airgrid wireless system, Motion 29 has created the LightMonitor software which interacts with the system, translating the information into easy-to-read reports.  Frequently occurring issues will be highlighted, allowing for closer efficiency measures and improved production.

Below are five advantages of a wireless lean system for operating LED signals:
  1. Easy diagnostics: LightMonitor automatically records the status of the light towers in a CSV formatted weekly report that tells you when a light was activated and for how long.  
  2. Detect and record flashing lights as separate events with LightMonitor software.  
  3. No wires! Makes for a safer and less messy work place
  4. LightMonitor can be customised to fit individual industrial and technical requirements.  Alternatively configure the network with your chosen receiver and record data directly into your own ERP system.
  5. Patlite AirGrid light towers are pre-assembled for extra convenience, and have the AirGrid attached and ready to use in your application.

UK manufacturing in industrial automation is now up against the stiffest global competition it has ever experienced and successful lean manufacturing management is paramount. The questions of how to best measure efficiency and what is an effective lean system can be most easily answered with a beacon LED light tower network operated through a wireless light tower allowing for good visual management.

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