Three companies will collaborate on a coating technology which could increase the strength and reduce the weight of glass bottles.

Dassault Systèmes, Ardagh Group and Exxergy will begin ‘virtual twin’ trials on Diageo’s Johnnie Walker bottle in January 2022 to research and develop a coating that will enable the glass bottle to be lightweighted without compromising its strength and shape – an industry first.

The virtual trial will use science-based methods to reduce the time and cost needed to test glass products, while reducing the raw materials and energy used in the process.

A virtual twin is a real-time digital representation of a product or process that is used to model, visualise and predict new innovations before any physical trials take place.

The trial will research and develop a new external coating for the glass bottle to reduce the micro-cracks in the glass surface, which will allow the glass to be much lighter while maintaining its strength.

The lightweight glass bottle will maintain its 100% recyclability and if successful in the virtual trial, will undergo glass bottle testing from summer 2022.

Ardagh will work with Exxergy consultancy to research and develop the coatings for Diageo.

Dassault Systèmes will provide contract research services using its BIOVIA applications to create a nanoscale virtual twin of the coatings, simulate their interaction with the surface of the glass, and test their efficacy.

John Sadlier, Chief Sustainability Officer at Ardagh Group, said: Ardagh Group has pioneered the lightweighting of glass and as a leading global supplier of infinitely recyclable, sustainable metal and glass packaging, we have a responsibility to respond to the sustainability challenges we all face.”