Productivity enhancement is a major concern for all manufacturing enterprises. Productivity enhancement can be achieved in many ways and many facets of its problems have been investigated over the last decades. A number of methods, tools and technologies have emerged to efficiently increase productivity and rationalize management of manufacturing enterprises. International experts from both academia and industry share their experiences in this collection of articles, contributing to the latest advances in the many facets of productivity enhancement in manufacturing enterprises. Themes and visions are detailed on factories of the future, new management approaches, manufacturing system integration and manufacturing information systems. These technical areas can be grouped into four major sections: Factories of the future; Techniques and tools for automated manufacturing; Robotics; and Industrial applications. The papers illustrate a pattern of valuable and interesting approaches to the fascinating problem of designing a new generation of robots with high enough performance capabilities to be used in an industrial context.