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O-I partners with University of Toledo to advance glass packaging R&D

By Michelle Yeomans , 25-Feb-2013
Last updated on 25-Feb-2013 at 15:18 GMT

Glass manufacturer, Owens-Illinois has signed a three-year agreement with the University of Toledo to support research at its new R&D Innovation Center.

The University’s Chemical, Environmental & Engineering department has considerable experience developing and characterizing other types of sustainable materials and is set to bring to the table state-of-the-art equipment and graduate student support to research and develop innovative glass manufacturing techniques for O-I.

"This partnership will give us an opportunity to expand our efforts and add glass to our materials experience, giving our students new opportunities to learn and grow," says Dr. Maria Coleman, professor of UT's Institute for Sustainable Engineering Materials.

Meanwhile vice president of R&D, Dr. Kimberly Houchens at O-I, reveals that the opportunity to work with the University will “help us advance our understanding of basic principles and our scientists will benefit from the help of UT graduate students, who will leverage the university's extensive laboratory capabilities."

Up and running by late 2013

The company also plans to invest in newly available equipment specific to characterize glass, as well as optimizing from UT's existing equipment, including x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy instruments.

The R&D centre is scheduled to be up and running by the end of 2013, and aims to produce sample glass containers using new manufacturing technologies and product designs to cater to the cosmetics industry.

Beneficial for the cosmetics industry

Although the company is mostly known for its work in the beverage and food industries, a spokesperson told CosmeticsDesign.com USA that O-I’s investment will hold the potential to change the way glass is made and formed across all of the industries it caters for – including cosmetics.

“Glass making, regardless of whether it is for beverages or cosmetics, uses much of the same technology. The new technologies in the facility will focus on how glass is melted and formed, ultimately benefiting our operations regardless of the kinds of glass they produce,” director of global commercial strategic planning, Stephanie Johnston told this publication.

Currently, O-I develops cosmetic packaging for Belcorp, specifically on its L'Bel, Esika and Cyzone brands, has designed Oriflame’s Volare and Milk & Honey brands for the European market and has just recently signed deals to supply Avon and Natura brands in the Latin American markets.

Our operations are very much focused on serving the cosmetic markets of Latin America. This centre in particular, will hold the potential for increased efficiency, flexibility and creativity in bottle shapes and designs for our cosmetics and fragrance industry customers,” says Johnston.

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