Stacking Beacons and Their Application
Stacking beacons are also known as indicator lights, signal tower lights, industrial signal lights, warning lights, Andon lights, light towers, and tower lights. They are most commonly used on equipment in process control environments and industrial manufacturing to deliver audible and visual indicators of a process event or machine state to machine operators, production managers, technicians, and factory personnel.
Different Application of Stacking Beacons
Just like typical beacon strobes or lights, stacking lights are used to relay a warning or essential message to a broad audience. They have the same application as beacons, but the information they provide encompasses more process or machine conditions.
Mostly, stack lights come with an LED, incandescent, or xenon-type strobe light source. They generally display columnar structures in different shapes, positioned on top of one another while having colour-coded indicator segments. Their name came from the way they are positioned, in a ‘stacked’ orientation.
It is more common for stack lights to have up to five different coloured segments to display different conditions on a process or machine. They can include red, green, yellow or amber, blue, and clear white. Also, these lights are sometimes static (solid-on) or flashing.
Here are some of the typical applications of stacking beacons:
– Lean manufacturing – A systematic method that comes from the Japanese manufacturing industry that aims to minimize the waste in a manufacturing system.
– Productivity monitoring – Stacking beacons are also used to monitor productivity in machine environments by uptime and downtime monitoring. It is also utilized to observe overall equipment effectiveness.
– Warning indications & management of machine fault – Among the usage of stacking beacons is to indicate machine fault during the process as well as indicate warnings.
– Assembly station workcells – In a manufacturing environment, stacking beacons are used for assembly stations during the arrangement of resources to optimize speed, quality, and cost of the process.
– CNC machining equipment as well as process monitoring and feedback – Different colours of stacking beacons allows people around a machine operation and process to determine the status of the process.
– Broadcast studios – Just like its other applications, stacking beacons are used in broadcasting studios to show statuses such as when the studio is on air, phone calls, live microphones, and doorbell within places that require silent indication.
How do Stacking Beacons work?
Stacking beacons are dubbed as passive devices that can be controlled using distributed control systems, PC control systems, programmable logic controllers, or hardwired into machine controls like sensors, timers, and latching relays.
Here are the commonly used stacking beacon colour codes for machine state conditions:
- Yellow or Amber – For machine state conditions, yellow or amber indicates warning messages, including over-pressure or over-temperature conditions.
- Red – Just like a traffic light, red stacking beacons mean emergency stop or it may mean failure conditions like machine fault.
- Blue – When you see a blue stacking beacon flashing or solid-on, it means an external help request. It might indicate that an operator is requesting raw materials, maintenance personnel assistance, or scheduling.
- Green – The green light for machine operations shows that the process is at a normal condition of flow.
- White – This light shows user-defined conditions to a particular machine. It is mostly related to productivity monitoring.
Stacking beacons are devices that are essential for manufacturing environments as well as in places where process and machine operation are highlighted. These devices may be similar to a typical beacon, but they are intended mainly for such purposes. They are also durable and high-quality to meet the needs in such environments. Also, stacking beacons can provide security and safety for people and establishments where they are used.