Adept Technology combines more of motion and vision technologies
During a pre-announcement visit to Control Engineering , Joe Campbell, Adept's marketing vp, also discussed developments in motion control and robotics, including what he calls the "gray distinction between motion and control worlds."
Mr. Campbell sees big shifts in the industry from a convergence of the robotic and motion-control sides of the business. Physical size (and mass) of controllers, control cabinets, etc., have decreased dramatically due to design advancements. It's important for robotic companies to continue to reduce the cost of hardware installation and cabling, as well as make other production improvements, he explains. Products like SmartController CX can help to make that happen.
Adept has leveraged FireWire (IEEE 1394) as the communication means for its controllers—replacing traditional architecture and going to motion and vision boards that plug directly into the operating system backplane. "FireWire offers serious challenges to incumbent networks," says Mr. Campbell. "It can also handle vision with its high-density information requirements." Commenting further on communication methods, he adds, "Ethernet is not deterministic enough for what we do. For cycle times of processes it's different, but we're slicing up seconds [in high-performance applications]."
Adept's product lines include industrial robots, configurable linear modules, semiconductor process components, nanopositioners, machine controllers for robot mechanisms and other flexible automation equipment and associated software. At the same time, objectives are changing. The company now ships more controllers for mechanisms other than its robots. Examples are chip shooters, odd-form assembly machines, and special material handling/packing systems.
Looking ahead, Adept Technology intends to be much more of a player in mainstream motion control, Mr. Campbell suggests.
Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Frank J. Bartos, executive editor
Mark, T. Hoske, editor-in-chief