Steuben, a division of Corning, both of Corning, N.Y., manufactures fine lead crystal products. For the past 15 years, the various dry ingredients used to make the lead crystal were weighed, mixed, and batched offsite at a nearby Corning facility and then shipped to the Steuben facility for processing. However, because the production line’s equipment was starting to age and the facility’s space was needed for other projects, Corning decided to remove the production line from its facility and build a new automated production line in the Steuben facility. To ensure that the lead crystal production’s high quality standards were maintained, Corning placed Steuben in charge of designing and building the new production line.
To preserve its quality control standards, the new Steuben production line would need several automated batch-feeding stations to consistently and accurately feed the dry ingredients to the process while avoiding contamination. Each batch-feeding station would have to be compact enough to fit in the facility’s limited space and large enough to hold one weekend’s worth of material to keep the production line operating through the weekend without having to fill the hoppers.