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ANDON Implementation at Major Agricultural Manufacturer

ANDON Implementation at major agricultural equipment manufacturer


Proplanner’s Shop Floor Viewer (SFV) application allows the operator to view automatically generated order-based operator-specific work instructions. To use the system, each operator signs into the line, station, and position (for multi-operator stations) when they start work.  Operators then scan each vehicle as it enters the station and SFV creates a list of tasks for the operator to perform as well as the necessary tools and parts required on that specific unit.


With the SFV, the operator is in an ideal position to file any issues on the line and narrow them down to the task, tools and parts they occurred with, which makes SFV a great fit for Andon notifications and alerts.


Proplanner spent two years developing our new Andon system, called FactBoard, which was initiated under a DMDII project with Iowa State University and several large manufacturing firms. Proplanner’s SFV integrated version of FactBoard went live at a major agricultural equipment manufacturer this past Fall. Several blogs and videos of FactBoard are available on the Proplanner website.


“By letting the operator stop the line and categorize the downtimes, we get a lot more clarity on downtime” from the line lead at the plant.


Andon is a manufacturing term referring to a system to notify management, maintenance, and other workers of a quality or process problem (especially critical issues on the line that cause the line to shut down). The word Andon is a Japanese term meaning “light” or “lamp” and a typical Andon system consists of a light-tower with a cord that the operator needs to pull on.


Proplanner’s Factboard system replaces, or in some cases supplements, the light-tower by allowing the operator to file an issue within SFV that is immediately broadcast to web-based Andon screens, web-enabled light towers, and line-lead email accounts.


“Earlier with the light tower, there was a process of informing the line leads. We had to catch their attention if they were not in the area. I think the multiple views (FactBoard) and the emails do a better job with communicating the issue and providing the necessary details” from the operator on the line.


Factboard at each station

Figure 1: FactBoard at each station displays the Andon status


File Issues with Shop Floor Viewer Andon


Figure 2: Shop Floor Viewer allows the operator to file an issue and create an alert


The process being followed is shown in the example below. The operator signs into Station 1 A60 at the position S1_OP01. Please note that at Station 1, there are three operators, S1_SubAssy, S1_OP01, and S1_OP02. The AndOn View shows all three operators. The dashboard can be customized to show just one operator at a time if needed. The view also shows, for each operator –


  1. Cycle Time: Time since the operator signed into that station and position

  2. Takt Time: The Takt or pace of the line, typically shows the time taken to complete an average unit.

  3. Target: The number of units planned for the day and the unit that the operator has signed into, e.g. 3/8 (third unit of the 8 planned for the day).



Andon Dashboard Green

A: Operator signs into a line, station, position, and unit and The Andon dashboard is green.


HOT issue


B: Operator notices an issue on the floor that can stop the line and files a Hot Issue.


Andon Dashboard Red Flash


C: The Andon dashboard now turns reds and starts to flash. An email is sent to the necessary group.


Review Issue


D: The issue is reviewed, and the issue is closed.


Andon dashboard green

E: The dashboard turns green.



Figure 3: Andon process in Proplanner


The operator interaction allows for a lot of valuable data. For each issue filed by the operator, the following information is captured –

  1. Type of issues like Quality or Logistics

  2. Severity of issue

  3. Details about the station, part, tool, or activity in question

  4. Downtime for unit

  5. Downtime is broken down by problem type


“Data being captured is key here. We want to know of every Hot Issue (downtime) and Break and the reason for the same. We want to analyze the data. This system allows us to do so” -manufacturing engineer at plant.


The value of the system comes from the fact the operator does not have to use yet another interface to file an issue as the SFV application already knows most of the key data related to the job being performed. Additionally, no additional software needs to be purchased, interfaced to, and supported. The ability to visually communicate production issues quickly to the necessary people both on the line and via the web ensures that alerts are noted and resolved early, thus expanding production output and increasing operating Gross Margins.

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