Knowledge-based programming has provided a paradigm for the development of more effective and robust systems in a variety of fields. Its application to flexible assembly systems (FAS) clearly has its origins and continues to receive impetus from the close historical links between the academic disciplines of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. In this article some of its potential benefits to assembly systems are examined within the context of a SERC/ACME-funded research project carried out at The University of Wales, Aberystwyth. The STAR project explored the potential of a variety of knowledge-based systems in a number of roles and demonstrated how they might co-operate. Some of these concepts were further explored and applied in the subsequent EUREKA/FAMOS project known as InFACT.