Manufacturing contributes to over 60 % of the gross national product of the highly industrialized nations of Europe. The advances in mechanization and automation in manufacturing of international competitors are seriously challenging the market position of the European countries in different areas. Thus it becomes necessary to increase significantly the productivity of European industry. This has prompted many governments to support the development of new automation resources. Good engineers are also needed to develop the required automation tools and to apply these to manufacturing. It is the purpose ofthis book to discuss new research results in manufacturing with engineers who face the challenge of building tomor row's factories. Early automation efforts were centered around mechanical gear-and-cam technology and hardwired electrical control circuits. Because of the decreasing life cycle of most new products and the enormous model diversification, factories cannot be automated efficiently any more by these conventional technologies. With the digital computer, its fast calculation speed and large memory capacity, a new tool was created which can substantially improve the productivity of manufactur ing processes. The computer can directly control production and quality assurance functions and adapt itself quickly to changing customer orders and new products.