I do like the move that the industry is making toward local intelligence. It helps a lot in troubleshooting issues and keeps a lot of the spaghetti wiring to a minimum. In addition, it allows status feedback to the operators so that they can tell immediately what the problem is rather than having the maintenance engineer hook up a bunch of diagnostic equipment.
Not only is localized intelligence making life easier for problem solving and debugging, but the costs are becoming lower and lower which only helps drive the localized solution. Becoming more affordable will allow more solutions, and better designs, to occur with a minimal amount of fuss by engineers.
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
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.