The Radar Development Facility is a “connected factory,” which means it uses digital technology for seamless sharing of information among people, machines and sensors, including suppliers.
To meet high-rate production, the business operates a vertically integrated factory, which supports multiple product lines and follows the same process for each, helping them to easily pivot from one system to another.
“As a leader in integration defense solutions, we bring together the best minds, systems and capabilities to create next-level solutions like SPY-6,” said Brendan Hamm, a program operations manager at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “The digital thread and our vertically integrated factory help us do that.”
The business is also looking to automation to gain efficiencies and agility in their operations, using robots to perform assembly typically done by hand, and to conduct automated optical inspections.
“It’s more accurate and highly repeatable,” Hamm said.
Much of the automation happens around the clock – 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but that’s not taking away work. Instead, it’s changing people’s jobs.
And with a lot of moving parts in the massive factory, they use robots powered by AI to move systems from one location to next.
“We mapped out the entire factory, so the robots know what it looks like and will react if things change in the map,” Hamm said.
To help counteract some of the global supply challenges, the business is looking within, using its metal fabrication shop to make needed components, and it’s doing the same to produce its gallium nitride technology.
Another way the business is gaining efficiencies is with RFID technology, which streamlines production through real-time asset and materials tracking for factory floor visibility.
“We receive 500-600 packages a day through the dock, and it’s important that we be able to track each box as it moves around the factory,” Hamm said. “RFID tech offers factory floor visibility at your fingertips.”