Andon is derived from a Japanese term for a type of paper lantern. In manufacturing it refers to a system to notify management, maintenance, and other workers of a quality or process problem.

It started as a simple way of clear communication where Commonly color-coded is:

  • Green: Normal operations.
  • Yellow: – changeover or planned maintenance.
  • Red: – abnormal, machine down.

Other key principle is you empower the operators giving them the authority to stop the production when a problem occurs.

Nowadays it is an end to end process where:

  • the all events are managed and tracked with information to analyze it and enable the supervisors to understand root causes of issues that potentially can be repeatable.
  • there is event schedule for understanding the maintenance activities,
  • graphical support for operators that are not in the plant,
  • emergency communication systems that enable electronic notifications.

SIMATIC IT Production Suite (2/2)

2. SIMATIC IT Components are designed to provide the functionality to update the status of the plant’s elements, maintain historical records, transform materials, modify orders and so forth.

2.1. At Line Testing (ALT) : According to the international ISA-95 standard, production processes and output must be subjected to quality tests. These can be work instructions or electronic work instructions that enable to the operator to perform the quality test and track all the data.

2.2. Defect Manager (DM): store and manage defect-related information.

2.3. Long Term Archiving (PRS LTA): makes it possible to copy SITMesDB data to an archiving database having the same structure and that can be accessed whenever needed through SQL queries.

2.4. Definition Manager (PDefM): It defines the Process Segments (sequences of operations with resources and parameters) necessary to produce a product. With PDefM, product specifications are defined in a centralized manner and all the components.

2.5 Production Order Manager (POM): It maps requirements for Production Dispatching. POM performs all functionalities related to order execution and, in particular, the customization of Master Order Data (imported from the ERP) for tracking execution-oriented info related to orders.

2.6. Material Manager (MM): MM can interface the ERP System for material mas-ter data imports and performs material-oriented functions.

2.7. Personnel Manager (PrM): It permits assigning individuals to shifts, as well as logging each person’s detailed activities during the workshift. It also permits integrating personnel data and production data: for example, checking the personnel required for a task, or logging on which equipment, material lot, batch or order on which each person worked.

2.8. Shift Calendar (SHC): It allows you to define a master working schedule, including working times and breaks; define the plant’s holidays, generate the actual Shift Calendar of the plant.

2.9. Messaging Manager (MsM): It facilitates the synchronization of the manual activities performed by operators with the automatic tasks executed by MES.

2.10. Data Integration Service (DIS): It enables communication between SIMATIC IT and Third-Party systems. XML is the preferred standard for message exchange. Connectors are provided for various external systems, such as SAP, Windows File System, .NET, COM, ADO.

2.11. Performance Analyzer (PPA) : It maps requirements for Production Data Collection, as well as for Production Performance Analysis. PPA collects process and production data from a multitude of sources, either through polling or on event. It can perform calculations on multiple data and contextualizes the results against production events, like Production Operations, Process Segments or Batch-es, establishing and maintaining persistent relationships between data and the relative production contexts.

There are other components which nature is more closed to the IT architecture of the solution:

  • Client Application Builder (CAB): It is a development platform to create custom GUIs focused on displaying MES data in a Web application, providing solutions that can be integrated with SIMATIC IT components.
  • IT Portal : is an “out-of-the-box” Web front-end for the entire MES project, including user pref-erences, and user and permission management. This ASP .NET web application requires zero development effort, and represents the official CAB Portal application that serves as the Product portal web site for SIMATIC IT services and components.
  • CAB Configurability Framework: It is a highly flexible tool that provides a set of CAB configurable classes containing:
  • A set of predefined configurable controls, which speeds up the creation and configuration of configurable web pages.
  • A plug-in architecture through which configurable controls can be easily extended.

At Line Estimate

According to the international ISA-95 standard, production processes and output must be subjected to quality tests. In addition to ensuring that the correct resources (equipment, materials and personnel) are used, quality tests check that products conform to quality standards and can be released (within specified conditions).

In at-line tests, items or samples are taken out of the production stream and an operator at the production line performs the inspection and fills in forms with results of the analysis.

The at-line tests require only seconds or minutes to be conducted, so it is important the production process is not interrupted. The quality tests are designed to inspect/analyze certain properties (Parameters) of the material being produced at specific time intervals.

The way to do it, it is through configuration of Work instructions. It is an electronic form or a checklist that contains a number of tests/actions an operator must perform on a sample within a certain time frame.

Typically some module of the MES solution is displaying the form at run-time to the production operators so they can execute  quality tests effortlessly at the right time.