The world’s largest glass manufacturer Owens-Illinois (O-I), has announced a new technology enabling it to customise bottles at industrial speeds via digital printing.
The business, which has almost 80 manufacturing plants and employs 26,500 people across the world, produces glass containers for many leading companies.
It’s latest innovation is being produced via digital printing, and can reportedly create highly personalised and customised glass packaging at flexible volumes, industrial speeds, and affordable value, with a range of colour and design possibilities.
To produce these products on an industrial scale, the company is making an initial investment in two direct2glass digital printers, which are programmed to be able to contactless print.
Arnaud Aujouannet, senior vice president for O-I, sat down with The Manufacturer and said: “We are industry leaders for glass. We are in a transformation journey to move from being the biggest glass manufacturer to being more customer centric.”
O-I are also planning to 3D print onto bottles in order to emboss them, when previously moulds were used. This speeds up the process and can offer more intricate details.
Customisation offers potential new revenue streams
O-I are offering a more complete solution to customers by introducing the personalised service. He continued: “Customers want products that are unique to them and this is driving customisation. One out of four customers are willing to pay more for that.”
The company believe the service will allow unlimited creativity and a more fluid approach to design, manufacture and consumer.
Manufacturers are moving to more personalised approaches and servitized routes because the customer now demands this, this strengthens relationships between manufacturer and customer, and results in both increased and more revenue streams.
He said:”We see the life cycle of products now speeding up. Less breadth of product, but much more smaller innovations which are very often driven by packaging, packaging drives a critical role in differentiation.”
In order to make this concept a reality, consumers will design their packaging in a digital file form and from that the bottles can be printed very quickly – the process can be completed in a few weeks.