Industrial robots have been expensive semi-custom products for decades, and there's no good reason for that.
This product isn't going to replace the expensive semi-custom robot systems; that is not their target market. This is enabling automation in lower-speed, lower-volume, low-complexity tasks. Look at the specs listed at the bottom of this page on the Rethink Robotics website.
- 8-12 pick & place operations/minute (total incl. both arms)
- 5 lb. payload per arm
- 1 m/sec arm speed
So they won't be competing with the following "expensive semi-custom products":
- high-speed pick and place (i.e. PCB surface mount components) - cycle rate 10 to 20 times higher than that
- anything high payload
- anything with a complex custom end-effector (counts against your payload)
- I can go on.
Ultimately you get what you pay for; there will be tasks where these are suitable, but they will not be replacing high-power, high-speed, custom-engineered robot/automation systems any time soon, as they aren't intended for/capable of those tasks. I'm sure there's a market niche for these, but is it going to transform the world of industrial robotics? No.
SCADA is a general-use acronym, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. It has been in common use in the industrial control system world for at least 20 years. It is not a term specific to Siemens or any other control systems vendor. And it is not incorrect to apply the acronym to application areas like building automation; there can be a fair amount of overlap in system architecture, devices, & communication protocols between building automation and industrial manafacturing automation.
Source: 10 years experience as a industrial control systems engineer.
Quoting from the above-named page:
OPG's Darlington nuclear site has been selected by the Government of Ontario as the location for Ontario's next nuclear generating facility. OPG is proud to have been selected as the operator of this new facility. It will be the first new nuclear station to be built in Ontario in more than 15 years.
The host community of Clarington and the Region of Durham have both expressed their strong support for this project.
This community has been home to an existing 4-unit nuclear generating station for the last 20 years and is happy to host more. Might have something to do with the good-paying jobs and economic spinoffs.
Companies pay more money for flexibility. Food manufacturing in particular is one industry where the flexibility offered by vision-guided robotics provides an overall cost advantage vs. multiple automation systems for specific products.
IIRC, Adept specifically markets this robot to the food, medical, and semiconductor industries because it is cleanroom & washdown rated. Because the servomotors and electronics are all contained within the box at the top, it's much easier to keep the guts properly sealed from the work environment when compared to a 6-axis or SCARA robot.