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Manufacturing Annunciation: Breaking Through

2/21/19  |  Robert Serano, Rexel Technical Consultant

When we talk about annunciation, it’s basically an announcement alerting someone of an event or activity. In today’s world, we’re receiving such alerts so frequently that we’re either ignoring them or reacting automatically. Whether it’s your alarm clock, a coffee maker, an email, or your smartphone, it seems we’re being annunciated every minute of the day. Manufacturing annunciation is yet another layer.

When Alerts Aren’t Alarming

Some alerts are more important than others. Sure, most emails can wait a day or two for a response, but a traffic signal certainly demands immediate attention and appropriate response. And, using email as an example, even the same alerts can require nuanced reactions (e.g., if a message is from your boss rather than a colleague).

Differentiating the importance of each alert in the cacophony of noises (both audial and visual) is increasingly difficult. So, when it comes to safety, the challenge is to find ways to break through the clutter.

Manufacturing Alerts

When we look at a manufacturing floor compared to a home or office environment, things are a little different. It’s critical that workers can see and hear when processes are taking place, so they can react appropriately. But it’s also louder, and large machines may be obstructing the visual field. On the plant floor, annunciations and responses to them can impact productivity and quality—they can even mean the difference between life and death.

Clear visual and audible devices are crucial when an event is taking place in a manufacturing environment. These alerts increase awareness, eliminate confusion, and allow operators to take immediate action on the machine, as needed. Not using proper annunciation for critical processes could lead to loss of product or, worse yet, someone could get seriously hurt.

Finding the Right Solution

When looking for a solution for audible and signaling devices, there are many to choose from. That’s good because some processes are more involved than others and require more alerting capabilities. When selecting alerting devices, you should consider availability, flexibility, and enhanced brightness so it can adapt to your needs.

Let’s look at one of your options, the new 865T series Rockwell Automation® control tower stack lights.


  • Base mounting options include base, vertical, and pole mounting
  • Power modules come in two types: 24V AC/DC or 120V/240v
  • Light modules are all LED and 24V AC/DC and come in seven different colors
  • Transducer sounder with multi-tone capabilities


  • Monitor more critical machine events in one signal package device
  • Create operator awareness to avoid confusion on the manufacturing floor
  • Reliable performance in harsh environments
  • Easier selection with a reduced number of components
  • 90% brighter than its predecessor 855T series tower lights
  • In-line as well as top-mount sounder modules
  • Light module RGB LED covers with seven different colors in one
  • A 70mm beacon for stand-alone or top-mount option

We Can Help You Choose

Our Automation Specialists can help you find the right solutions to meet your needs. Whether it’s the 865T (described above) or something else, we’ll assess your situation and make expert recommendations. Contact us today!