O-I’s Innovation Center, a combined R&D and pilot plant facility, began operations in September 2013, and has now celebrated the official opening of the centre at its global headquarters. The 24,000 square foot facility, which is approximately one-tenth the size of a typical manufacturing plant, houses a 20 metric tonne oxy-fuelled furnace, two production lines and inspection equipment.
Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I) celebrated the official opening of its Innovation Center, a combined R&D and pilot plant facility, at its global headquarters in mid-June. The centre, which began operations in September 2013, has quickly established itself as a valuable asset to the company. Through the Innovation Center, O-I seeks to advance new concepts in glass production and qualify emerging technologies that could revolutionize the process of melting and forming glass.
“Innovation is a key component of our long term strategy,” said Al Stroucken, chairman and CEO. “This Innovation Center demonstrates our belief in glass as the optimal packaging solution and our confidence that we can shift some of the paradigms around glass manufacturing.”
“The Innovation Center has exceeded our expectations in its first few months of operation,” said Ludovic Valette, global vice president of R&D. “Through extensive collaboration among the R&D teams, others in the global technology organization, the product innovation team and manufacturing, we have significantly accelerated the pace by which we produce sample bottles for our customers and test changes in the production process. The centre’s capabilities leverage O-I’s expertise in glass and support unique process and product innovations, a model that’s unprecedented in the industry.”
The 24,000 square foot facility, which is approximately one-tenth the size of a typical manufacturing plant, houses a 20 metric tonne oxy-fuelled furnace, two production lines and inspection equipment. On one line, through an iterative process of ongoing improvement, sample bottles and trials for new products are made, significantly reducing the time needed to produce exactly the right bottle and minimizing disruption to the manufacturing plants. The other line is dedicated to research and development and is being used to develop new technologies and processes for melting and forming glass. In its first eight months of operation, the innovation centre team has already produced more than 40 sample bottles for customers and internal development purposes.
“We are excited by the capabilities the centre is providing,” said Valette. “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.”
O-I is the world’s largest glass container manufacturer and preferred partner for many of the world’s leading food and beverage brands. The company had revenues of USD 7.0 billion in 2013 and employs approximately 22,500 people at 77 plants in 21 countries.