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O-I’s new R&D centre promises cosmetic glass packaging innovations

By Michelle Yeomans , 03-Oct-2012

According to the glass packaging manufacturer, its new R&D centre will help to advance new concepts, more sustainable glass, and will house emerging technologies that will revolutionize glass melting and forming for cosmetic packaging.

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.

Although the centre will be based in Ohio, it will be a research base for all of our global R&D teams. It will be a facility where we can realistically test breakthrough ideas,” she added.

Beneficial

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.

Investment

Since 2008, the company has invested in research and development training laboratories in the glass container industry. The new centre is said to be one component of O-I's plans to invest in process and product innovation efforts, and in three years Johnston says the company will have invested a total of $35 million dollars.

The 18,000 sq-ft new facility is anticipated to be in full swing by late 2013, while creating 45 jobs in basic sciences, engineering and technical disciplines over several years.

Inroads into the cosmetics industry…

O-I made inroads into the cosmetics industry in Europe a few years back with the acquisition of BSN Glasspack, the second largest glass container manufacturer in Europe.

"By combining BSN with our existing European operations, we will create Europe's largest glass container company augmenting our existing number one position in other continents. This acquisition would be a meaningful step in our strategy to focus on the competitive strengths of our global glass container businesses," said then Owens-Illinois' CEO, Thomas Young.

The deal at the time was thought to be worth $1.2 billion in cash.

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