While researching and writing this, I kept wondering what would happen if it were possible to coming memory plastic capabilities with the self-healing characteristics of the plastic that indicates by a color change when it's been damaged: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=242838 That would be one multi-function uber-material.
Good question, Greg. Since this is just out of R&D, there may not be any data on that yet. At least, I didn't see it mentioned. For one thing, it would depend on the type of plastic and its specific formulation.
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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.