January 25, 2017      

It has been a little over a year now since Omron Corp. acquired Adept Technology Inc., and the time has passed quickly for the industrial and mobile robot maker. Kyoto, Japan-based Omron acquired the American robotics company for the capabilities and skills of Adept’s engineering team along with the brand equity that it offered.

After the acquisition, Omron immediately got to work on Adept‘s fixed-robot line, going through every nut and bolt, circuit, and chip to produce the highest-quality systems possible.

Omron Adept Technologies Inc.‘s vision is to create an integrated automation solution for the manufacturing floor that includes everything from programmable logic controllers (PLC) and sensors to motion controls and robotics.

Business Takeaways:

  • Omron took a while to absorb Adept Technologies’ robots into its product line and sales channel, starting with fixed robots.
  • After a period of re-engineering and expansion, Omron Adept has released the Mobile Robot LD product line. These autonomous systems are intended for factories and warehouses.
  • Omron Adept’s attention to technical detail, approach to its markets, and willingness to invest in staff are examples of how collaborative and mobile robot makers can stay competitive.

Integration and mobility

Since the acquisition, Omron Adept has effectively expanded the engineering team, increased the sales channel, and improved the supply chain with Omron’s global resources. The first priority over the past year for Omron has been to fully integrate the fixed-robot business and produce revenue within the Omron channel.

Mobile robot in Omron Adept's product line

Omron Adept has worked to refine its fixed and mobile robot technologies.

In addition, the company had to figure out a strategy for Adept’s mobile robot business, about which it has been quiet. That is until Friday, when Omron Adept launched its Mobile Robot LD product line.

What’s new under the hood?

So besides retiring Adept Lynx product name, what’s new in the Mobile Robot LD? (Editor’s note: The Lynx autonomous intelligent vehicle, or AIV, won a Robotics Business Review Game Changer Award in 2015.)

Under Omron’s leadership, the mobile robot has been updated to improve both product quality and usability. This is what you would expect from a Japanese company with the reputation and resources of Omron.

As a result of weeding out various shortcomings, Omron Adept Technologies has rereleased the mobile product line with a new supply chain, better quality controls, and a leaner bill of materials. These improvements are a welcome part of the new release.

Adept already had a market-leading mobile platform in terms of functionality and technology; Omron has optimized the product quality and scaled customer support. Marry those two capabilities with the huge sales channel that Omron offers, and you have the makings of a real gorilla in the market.

In addition, Omron has opened up the Japanese market to mobile robot technology in a way that none of the other U.S. mobile robot manufacturers will be able to immediately match.

Same payload, new mobile robot name

There is nothing new in terms of payload capacity with the Omron Mobile Robot LD release. The vehicle will now be offered in three payload capacities: the Mobile Robot LD, with a 60kg or 90kg (factory set) maximum payload, and the Mobile Robot LD Cart Transporter with a 130kg max payload.

The Mobile Robot LD Cart Transporter uses movable carts to enable buffering of parts at load and unload stations and is a good choice for line-side replenish use cases.

To avoid getting lost in complex environments, the Mobile Robot LD vehicle also offers the patented and award-winning Acuity vision-guidance product as an option. Together with the dual-channel navigation laser and various other sensors on the vehicle, this makes the Mobile Robot LD one of the safest autonomous vehicles on the factory or warehouse floor, according to Omron Adept.

More on Mobile Robots:

The future of Omron Adept Technologies

If you look at the company’s careers page, you’ll see that Omron Adept Technologies is hiring like crazy, with over 30 job openings at its office in San Ramon, Calif. This is a great indication that the Omron-Adept union is working well and that Omron is continuing to invest in the Adept product lines.

It might have taken Omron a while to turn the Adept ship, but in my opinion, Omron Adept Technologies is now positioned to start making a real dent in the mobile robotics market.

Editor’s note: For more on Omron Adept Technologies’ Mobile Robot LD line and the company’s perspective on the mobile robotics market, tune in to our webcast on Feb. 7, 2017.