The factory of the future, controlled by computers and operated by robot systems, has arrived at Rockwell International's Autonetics Strategic Systems Division in Anaheim. The facility, which Rockwell is billing as the most advanced defense manufacturing plant in the nation, includes an automated assembly line and a warehouse for the 30,000 parts used to make guidance systems for the Air Force's MX and small intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Materials arriving at the plant's docks are inspected and given identifying numbers that will ultimately determine where they are stored. The parts are then sent on a conveyor belt through a packaging station and eventually to a bin within a 20-level, four-aisle warehouse operated by several tentacle-like robotic arms. As the parts are needed in the factory, the arms retrieve and package them in arranged sequence.