Corning's smart machines launch factories into the future

Once again, we’re re inventing manufacturing processes –this time with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Three new awards recognize Corning’s push to Manufacturing 4.0.

Back when Corning supplied the glass for Thomas Edison’s first light bulb in 1879, we didn’t know that our manufacturing processes would evolve to include artificial intelligence and smart machines. But it wouldn’t have been a surprise.

After all, reinvention is nothing new to Corning. And with the recent win of three awards from the Manufacturing Leadership Council, the teams behind the company’s digital transformation are being lauded for doing what we do best: perfecting the process.

“These awards recognize Corning’s people,” says Glenn Bleiler, IT director, Emerging Technologies. “It’s about their willingness to embrace new technology and run with Corning’s culture of innovation.”

The Manufacturing Leadership Awards honor operational and leadership excellence from world-class manufacturing organizations. Corning won two awards in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning category and one more in the Enterprise Integration and Technology category.

Corning’s people have launched the company into full-blown Manufacturing 4.0, a.k.a., the fourth wave of the Industrial Revolution. This fourth wave flips traditional manufacturing on its head with smart machines, interconnected data that’s more abundant and precise than ever, and automation, which allows our people to make business decisions with greater speed and clarity.

Corning, however, isn’t going digital for the sake of going digital

“We looked at other companies who said, ‘Here’s some money, go do digital.’ They’re the fastest out of the gate, but they don’t win the race,” says John McGirr, vice president, manufacturing. “Instead, we stepped back, analyzed our business strategies and asked ourselves, ‘Where could going digital help us get better results?’”

“Corning’s push toward a digital-first environment allows us to play with materials and manufacturing processes before they’re ever physical,” Glenn says.

“We can experiment with millions of glasses long before we melt it. We can manufacture it digitally before we ever try to transition a tank to a different glass,” Glenn says. “The possibilities are exciting.”


“Corning doesn’t simply follow the herd. We look at ‘digital’ through a Corning-specific lens: What problem are we trying to solve? How can we make our manufacturing execution be more impactful?”

John McGirr
Vice President, Manufacturing, Corning

“Corning is part of a high-performing contingent of award winners that serve as an example of what’s possible in manufacturing’s emerging digital era.”

Penelope Brown
Senior Content Director, Manufacturing Leadership Council


Take a look at Corning’s award-winning proof points:

Winner: Corning Environmental Technologies' Machine Learning for Quality Systems

Machines are helping operators be extra precise when making our ceramic substrates. With the development of high-resolution imaging equipment, we’ve taken our machinery to the next level to improve product quality.

Machine learning at Corning has enhanced the collection of data, accurately measuring parameters and pinpointing possible problems at the source –with less machine and operator downtime.

The result? Smarter machines. Smarter business.

Winner: Corning Display Technologies’ Sheet Resume

Determined engineers within our Display business can certify our fusion-formed glass with its own “resume” of validated credentials.

As the glass advances through different steps of the finishing process, it gathers quality verification data to this resume.

Every single piece of glass carries its own data, giving us high confidence in the quality and performance of key attributes with each glass sheet prior to shipping.

In times of increased demand for display glass, reliability is crucial. Through pilot projects like this one, we’re demonstrating our commitment to continuous improvements to the high-quality glass our customers expect.

Winner: Corning’s M4.0 Framework

“It's on us to become better, collect more data, curate it, and use it to make better business decisions,” says Cathy Clark, IT director, manufacturing. “We invented these manufacturing processes, so it's on us to optimize and protect them.

”But implementing digital requires change management and communication that uses a common language.

Multi-discipline teams collaborate to assess the digital maturity of each Corning manufacturing facility using the M4.0 Framework. Armed with this information, the team plans and executes a digital strategy that helps achieve advanced levels of cost productivity, process leadership, quality, security, and ROIC performance.



A commitment to manufacturing excellence is nothing new for Corning. For well over a century, Corning has not only invented products, but invented the processes that make the products. We’ve perfected four manufacturing and engineering platforms: vapor deposition, fusion, precision forming, and extrusion.  



Corning’s ribbon machine allows for the mass production of light bulbs, helping illuminate the world faster. 


Corning Display Technologies’ fusion process for creating uniform, pristine sheets of glass enables larger consumer products.


Corning invented the patented nanoPerforation glass cutting process for semiconductor applications and more.

Read more about Corning’s people, technology, and partners that are changing the world and shaping society every day.


Glass and ceramics are the main characters in our story. But they’re also advancing the plot in the news.

Meet the people who push us to be better and develop the world’s next great advancements.

While the next steps toward progress might be hard to see, we’re making them crystal clear.