Owens-Illinois (O-I) has celebrated the official opening of its Innovation Center, a combined R&D and pilot plant facility, at its global headquarters.

Based at the company’s global headquarters in Ohio, the centre has already 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 revolutionise the process of melting and forming glass.

"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 organisation, 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 24,000ft2 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 sample bottles and trials for new products are made, significantly reducing the time needed to produce exactly the right bottle and minimising 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 centre’s team has already produced more than 40 sample bottles for customers and internal development purposes.