Owens-Illinois (O-I) is celebrating the official opening at its Innovation Center, a facility merging R&D capabilities and a pilot plant at its Ohio headquarters. The facility is designed to develop glass production technologies, and connect customers with packaging to fit their food and beverage needs.
Ahead of the official opening, staff at the Innovation Center has been hard at work developing new products and production techniques. Ludovic Valette, O-I’s global vice president of R&D, told FoodProductionDaily the facility has performed admirably.
"The Innovation Center has exceeded our expectations in its first few months of operation," he said. “We have significantly accelerated the pace by which we produce sample bottles for our customers and test changes in the production process.”
Valette added the Innovation Center distinguishes the glass packaging producer by providing food and beverage customers with a high level of service and support.
“The center's capabilities leverage O-I's expertise in glass and support unique process and product innovations, a model that's unprecedented in the industry," he said.
The 24,000-square-foot facility (just about one-tenth the size of a typical manufacturing plant) features a 20-metric-ton, oxy-fueled furnace; two production lines; and a host of packaging inspection equipment. One line is dedicated to producing sample and trial bottles for new products; its mission is to cut the time needed to produce the correct bottle on a production line, and minimize disruption in manufacturing plants.
The second line is focused on R&D projects, and developing forward-thinking technology and methods of glass formation. The company reportedly has produced more than 40 sample bottles for customers and internal development.
"We are excited by the capabilities the center is providing," Valette said. "By significantly changing the way glass is made, we can deliver even more innovative and brand-building products for our customers, increase the efficiency of our operations and further enhance the sustainability of glass."