I recommend the ZigBee protocol only when a design requires interoperability with other ZigBee devices, or when someone wants a ZigBee certification. For proprietary designs or basic wireless communications, modules that operate to the IEEE 802.15.4 standard will do a nice job without the software overhead ZigBee requires.
I was once very interested in those TI 802.15.4 SoCs, but those currently in production use an 8051 core and to do anything useful with them requires a heafy investment in development tools (eg IAR which costs 2-3k$). No thank you, ARM for me please.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.