|Industry||Robotics, Industrial Automation|
Adept Technology, Inc. is a multinational corporation with headquarters in Pleasanton, California (San Francisco Bay Area). The company focuses on industrial automation and robotics, including software and vision guidance. Adept has offices throughout the United States as well as in Dortmund, Germany, Paris, France, and Singapore. Adept was acquired by Omron in October 2015.
Adept was founded in 1983, and was formerly the West Coast Division of Unimation, which became part of Westinghouse after being a division of Consolidated Diesel Electronic (Condec) for many years. However, its roots go back almost 10 years earlier, when company founders Bruce Shimano and Brian Carlisle, both Stanford graduate students, started to work with Victor Scheinman at Stanford's AI lab.
In 2000，Adept Technology acquired Pensar Tucson Inc.
Today, the company is active in a variety of industries requiring high speed, precision part handling including food handling, consumer product and electronics, packaging, medical and lab automation, automotive, as well as emerging markets like solar manufacturing.
In 1984, the company introduced its first product, the AdeptOne SCARA robot. The simplicity of the mechanism, based on direct-drive motors, made AdeptOne robots very robust in continuous industrial automation applications, while maintaining high accuracy. AdeptOne robots continue to be in use worldwide in 2009.
Around 2004, Adept introduced table-top SCARA robots called the Adept Cobra i600/i800, with the system and servo controls, and the power amplifiers, embedded in the base of the robot. The related Adept Cobra s600/s800 models employ an external controller (with the servo controls and amplifiers still in the robot base) to achieve greater system functionality. These robots are claimed to be the fastest robots in their class.
In 2006, Adept released its new delta-4 robot, the Adept Quattro. It is based on a new concept of delta-style robot mechanism that has four arms versus the traditional three-arm design. The rotation is achieved through a parallel platform.
Adept also offers Adept Python linear-module robots with one to four axes in various configurations, and six-axis Adept Viper articulated robots.
Adept has its own robot control operating system, V+, which has come to version 17.x by 2009. The history of V+ dates back to the days of Unimation. At the time it was called VAL (Victor's Assembly Language), which evolved into VAL-II and VAL-III later. After the formation of Adept, the rights to parts of the OS were granted to Adept..
The Adept OS at that time was called V, and it ran on the refrigerator-sized controllers that were based on the MultiBus technology. Around 1986 the Adept MC controller was introduced; while still based on the MultiBus, it was smaller than the original controller. After the Adept MC controller (around 1990), came the Adept MV controller, which was based on the VME backplane technology. Then around 2000 the SmartController CS/CX controllers were introduced, which are current production as of 2009.
Along with the changes of the controller itself, the servo controls also saw major improvements over the years. Around 200x, with the V+ version reaching ver. 14, the servo amplifier and controls were part of the robot, and hence separated from the main robot controller itself. This is when distributed controls were introduced by the company. The idea of having the amplifier and servo controls in the base of the robot was named AIB (Amplifier in Base). Adept still follows the AIB mantra, and has an AIB in the latest robot, Adept Quattro, reducing the footprint of the robot/manipulator/controller system.
The Adept core business continues to be motion control. Its SmartController CX integrates motion controller, vision guidance, and interfaces to factory networks.
References: ABB, Fanuc, Denso, Epson Robots, KUKA