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INDUSTRY NOTES

February 26, 1985|CARLA LAZZARESCHI

Newport Corp., a Fountain Valley maker of laser research equipment, announced Monday that it has formed a division to develop new laser-related products.

The division, to be located in Los Alamos, N.M., will be headed by Jon Sollid, who has been named vice president and chief executive of the new operation. Prior to joining Newport Corp., Sollid was a project leader with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico at Los Alamos.

The reason for choosing the Los Alamos location, explained vice president and treasurer Walter Ludt III, is the federal government's continuing effort to spin off the technologies developed by its national laboratory contracts to private enterprises.

Odetics Inc., the Anaheim manufacturer of advanced mobile robot systems, announced Monday that it has agreed to build "custom robotic materials-handling systems" for RCA Corp.

The contract, a company spokesman said, marks the first time Odetics has been retained to make a product using the robotic technology it has developed over the last several years.

However, the contract marks the second time that Odetics has teamed up with New York-based RCA in a robot project. Last year, the two companies agreed to work together to develop a walking robot to perform hazardous tasks for the military.

Although announcing the signing of the agreement, Odetics declined to elaborate on the pending project, saying only that it would be working with the giant communications firm on the project. Citing its silence pledge to RCA, an Odetics spokesman would not reveal the nature of the new robot project, its ultimate use or its potential revenues.

The company said only that developing the robotic technology for RCA would cost Odetics as much as $1 million and would cause a drain on the company's earnings for the next three quarters.

Earlier this month, the company announced that profits for the first nine months of its 1985 fiscal year, ended Dec. 31, jumped to $612,000, a four-fold increase over the year-ago period. Revenues for the nine months were $22.6 million, 19% above those for like period the year before.

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