XTS is a mechatronic system that contains a modular, fully integrated linear motor with power electronics and displacement measurement in one device. Movers are controlled on the guide rails using built-in, high-speed motion networking. (Source: Beckhoff Automation)
Chuck, I agree that this is interesting for factory automation applications. The key is really the cost of these sections, and the incentive it provides machinery designers to build around this concept. Could be very powerful, especially when we see robot mechanisms being designed into machines basically as sophisticated subsystems.
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.