I was having a very frustrating time recently trying to setup an automated TE series of machines and I thought to myself, 'Why can't this thing be more like an FPGA?' So that is where this idea was born. I call it, "Frank's Programmable Machine Array!" Ok, that is sad.
Anyway, the idea is a new block for TE that is an advanced machinery block that is combined in multiples of two in both Height, Width, and Length. So a series of advanced machinery blocks in a 4x2x2 configuration forms an advanced machine. This machine has the typical TE GUI, but allows the user to layout machines internally. Its capacity is determined by the number of blocks used to build it. In the case of 4x2x2, the advanced machine has 16 slots in a 4x4 grid. Input and output to the advanced machine is done in similar fashion as the colors of TE machines, but rather utilizes numbers for inputs and letters for outputs. Special characters are internal routes.
Here is an example of the GUI to make things more clear on how this works for the typical ore refinement process.
This of course can be expanded to something like a 4x6x6 advanced machine that has 12 x 12 grid and supports a lot more custom cases and provides enough surface area for intermediate outputs into filter machines or filter pipes and then piped back in for different processing goals. In regards to the surface of the machine, the wrench will allow you to set the surface of the block between currently configured items, so if you have 4 inputs and 5 outputs, you would see 9 options cycled through with the wrench.
The size of the advanced machine would allow for an increase capacity of RF of the overall machines. So if the machines you added allow for 500k of RF normally and it is a 4x6x6 advanced machine, you would see a 144% increase in combined capacity.
Thoughts? Does someone want to pitch and take this further?