Max, A couple of times you have mentioned an automated warehouse where "humans" aren't even aware of where items are stored within the warehouse. I have heard of one such warehouse where they even turn out the lights in the warehouse since light is not required for the material handling equipment to store and retrieve items stored there. In addition to saving a significant amount on the electric bill, it also serves to really keep the "humans" in the dark.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.