Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 33

Raytheon Missile Systems

people, the better off we are," Erickson says.
The amount of automation in Raytheon's manufacturing process has
increased in recent years, and that is
due to the advancements that have
been made in robotics technology.
Erickson says not only has robotic equipment become more precise
and sophisticated in the last decade,
but it also has become more accessible from a price and ease-of-use
perspective. "Automation has come
a long way over the last generation,"
Erickson says. "It's starting to make
more sense from a manufacturing
integrator's perspective that we use
those technologies."
Automation technology has become so advanced that Raytheon has
been able to implement it into areas
of its production that were not feasible before. "I would say the precision
of automation, being able to get that
automation into very small spaces
but also able to handle the very large
items, has advanced tremendously,"
Erickson says.
For example, the advanced precision of automation technology now
allows Raytheon to use robots to perform minute tasks such as applying
glue to small lenses used for missile
guidance systems. Erickson notes
that automation is much cleaner than
in the past, allowing Raytheon to utilize it in cleanroom environments
where products must be kept free of
outside contaminants. "We have to
do it in a very controlled and very articulate way with very high quality
requirements," Erickson says. "Those
two areas have really helped us to be
able to implement automation."
The integration of more automation into Raytheon's manufacturing
processes has gone a long way to help
the company overcome some of its

West

advanced automation allows
raytheon to use robots to
perform minute tasks and work
in cleanroom environments.

most recent challenges. "I think the
key challenge becomes that at the
end of the day it's really about moving
manufacturing left in the lifecycle,"
Erickson says.
That means incorporating the
manufacturing element of the product lifecycle earlier in the process by
completing the engineering portion
earlier and ensuring operators and
engineers are engaged in the work. Erickson says Raytheon has been careful
to stick to the basic principles of lean

manufacturing and made sure its processes are built around the knowledge
base of its personnel so that automation is implemented in such a way that
it benefits the processes and the people who facilitate them.

New Dimensions
In terms of technologies that can have
a positive impact on the manufacturing process, there are few that have the
potential that 3-D printing does, and
Raytheon has been on the leading
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 manufacturing-today.com

33


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016

Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 3
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 4
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 5
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 6
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 7
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Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 112
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 113
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Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover3
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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