Adept Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTK), a San Jose-based manufacturer of flexible automation for the telecommunications, fiber optic and semiconductor industries, has signed a letter of intent to acquire a controlling interest in privately-held MetaControls Technologies Inc. (Meta) in a common stock transaction.

The companies say that completion of the acquisition remains subject to entering into definitive agreements, completion of due diligence, obtaining required approvals and other standard closing conditions. Adept adds that it expects the proposed acquisition, if completed, to be cash neutral.

“Combining the Meta product line with Adept’s software and controls has already resulted in proposal activity to address the complete controls needs of targeted major OEM customers,” Brian Carlisle, chairman and chief executive officer of Adept, said in a statement. “The proposed acquisition would extend Adept’s product line to include low cost, low power, FireWire controllers and cameras allowing us to address the extremely cost competitive, but rapidly growing, motion control market in China.”

Meta is an RTP-based manufacturer of a line of sub-compact motion controllers, motor drivers and machine vision cameras that are networked together via the IEEE1394 (FireWire) high-speed serial bus. Adept says its SmartController family of products, developed over the past three years, are intelligent motion and vision controllers and power amplifiers, also based on FireWire, that lower the cost of motion control and vision systems for applications such as robotics and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

According to Adept, the Meta product line plugs directly into its control architecture and provides miniature amplifiers and control for precision machinery. It can also plug directly into a PC for simple applications, Adept adds, eliminating motion control boards and a significant amount of cabling, which traditionally has been a major source of after market maintenance, service and cost issues for manufacturers.

Adept Technology designs, manufactures and markets factory automation components and systems for the fiber optic, telecommunications, semiconductor, automotive, food and durable goods industries. Adept’s robots, controllers and software products are used for small parts assembly, material handling and ultra precision process applications.

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