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SAP Industry 4.0 Pop-Up Use Case: Retrofitting Andon lamps made easy

Published: · Last updated: · 2 min reading time

Introducing new technologies into existing production environments, often called brownfield, can be a genuine hurdle for companies. This also applies to implementing an Andon system. This article introduces a specific use case from the SAP Industry 4.0 Pop-Up to show how companies’ retrofitting processes can be mapped digitally.

Andon systems are visual management tools used in manufacturing to monitor the production process and quickly identify problems. These systems typically consist of signal lights or display panels showing individual machines’ status or the entire production flow. Learn more

Basic requirements before integrating Andon systems

It is necessary to define the objectives and requirements of the system beforehand to retrofit a machine with an Andon system. This includes, for example, the type of display panels, the color coding of the signal lamps, and the requirements for integration with other systems.

A modern implementation aims to generate the necessary status information directly at the machine and no longer manually through operator input.

The challenge of retrofitting

The challenge to date has been the need to install the Andon system directly in the machine, which requires wiring between the controller and the hardware. This direct connection can vary significantly due to the hardware and machines used. This diversity leads to additional costs and complexity during installation. When considering the overall costs, not only the installation costs must be taken into account, but also potential production downtimes and the expenses for the acceptance and management process of the installation. These extensive costs make it challenging to implement the Andon system or may make it unprofitable to retrofit.

Retrofitting does not have to be expensive!

However, retrofitting does not have to be expensive! Our use case demonstrates this in the SAP Industry 4.0 Pop-Up Factory in Walldorf Instead of the cost-intensive variant described above, we are showing a cost-effective alternative for retrofitting an Andon system to existing machines without production downtime.

How does the digital retrofitting of the Andon system work?

In this specific case, an Andon lamp is connected. The control signals are tapped via an existing network connection using the FORCE EDGE CONNECT connectivity solution, which does not change the machine’s technical structure.

FORCE EDGE CONNECT derives the machine status from the control information and transfers it to the SAP solution SAP DM. The SAP Production Process Designer processes this status information and derives its visual signals, e.g., “Production” status = green).

This information is transferred to the Andon lamp controller, which triggers the corresponding light signal.

Project sequence (example)


  1. >SAP DM and FORCE EDGE CONNECT are installed and set up.
  2. >The Andon lamp has been prepared accordingly and is available via the production network.


  1. >Digital machine connection via the production network [FORCE EDGE CONNECT].
  2. Deriving the machine status [FORCE EDGE CONNECT]
  3. Connecting the Andon lamp [FORCE EDGE CONNECT]
  4. Processing the machine status [SAP DM]
  5. Creating the business logic to define the visualization [SAP DM]

What added value does this offer?

The use case described shows how a combination of modern digital solutions can support the development of lean and efficient production processes:

  • >Retrofitting digital use cases without production downtime
  • Increased efficiency through visual management [enabled by digital solutions]
  • Integration of existing systems into strategies for the digitalization of production


By combining connectivity solutions such as FORCE EDGE CONNECT and MES solutions such as SAP DM, digitization strategies can also be implemented in the brownfield at manageable costs.

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