A research and development center capable of melting and forming glass in a small-scale manufacturing environment will be the centerpiece of a new facility at the Owens-Illinois Inc. global headquarters in Perrysburg, OH. This new R&D center will help advance new concepts and qualify emerging technologies that could revolutionize glass melting and forming.
"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," says Giancarlo Currarino, vp and chief technology officer.
In the future, the center will include the ability to prototype product innovations, like the company's recently launched VersaFlow jar—part of the Versa platform of functional food packages—and the game changing Vortex bottle.
This R&D center is one component of O-I's plans to invest in process and product innovation efforts. The announcement reflects a three-year, $35 million investment. Since 2008, investments exceeding $30 million have yielded more than 25,000 sq ft of research and development training laboratories in the glass container industry, and spurred the release of next generation manufacturing and inspection equipment.
In addition to capital investment, dozens of new research scientists, engineers and technicians have laid the groundwork for significant advancements in glass R&D.
"Providing our scientists and engineers a real-world environment for research and development helps us target our efforts on the concepts with the greatest potential for impact," says Kim Houchens, Ph.D., vp of research and development. "With this center, we can realistically test breakthrough ideas for implementation into our manufacturing environment, smoothing the transition from patent to plant."
O-I plans to break ground on the 18,000 sq-ft facility in the fourth quarter of 2012, and targets completion in late 2013. The facility will be funded, in part, by a $3 million grant offer from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, which O-I announced in June 2012. The center will result in the creation of 45 jobs in basic sciences, engineering and technical disciplines over several years.