Manufacturers need to improve their operating methods and increase their productivity so they can compete successfully in the marketplace. This goal can be achieved through factory automation, and the key to this automation is successful data base management and factory integration. However, large scale factory automation and integration requires effective communications, and this has given rise to an interest in various Local Area Networks or LANs. In a completely integrated and automated factory, the entire organization must have access to the data base, and all departments and functions must be able to communicate with each other. Traditionally, these departments and functions use incompatible equipment, and the ability to make such equipment communicate presents numerous problems. ARCNET, a token-passing LAN which has a significant presence in the office environment today, coupled with fiber optic cable, the cable of the future, provide an effective, low-cost solution to a number of these problems.