Largest bottle maker to hyperpersonalise packaging with connected service

Posted on 13 Sep 2018 by Maddy White

The largest bottle manufacturer in the world has launched a service to produce digitally printed bottles on an industrial scale by connecting their entire global operations.

Being able to work with customers across the globe enables O-I to continue to be leading the glass market
Being able to work with customers across the globe enables O-I to continue to be leading in the glass market.

Owens-Illinois (O-I) has announced a new technology enabling it to customise bottles via digital and 3D printing for their international operations.

The company, which employs 26,500 people and has 79 manufacturing plants across the world, produces glass containers for many leading companies. It’s latest innovation will see it provide their customers with intricately detailed bottle packaging and a fast operation from design to production.

To create 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 bringing more flexibility and differentiation to glass. O-I Expressions is a differentiation capability with direct to glass printing, this enables unlimited creativity. This is to produce things we couldn’t in the past, enabling a lot of flexibility for short runs.”

The company will receive a design or brief from their customers, which they will transfer into a digital file, this data will then be sent to the printers where it can be produced on any scale.

Being able to work with customers on hyperpersonalised products across the globe enables O-I to continue to be leading in the glass bottle market. The company’s operations remain effective, with the data sent crucially secured during digital transfers.

Aujouannet explained that they could print bottles from any area of the world in a “matter of hours” and that the business has been able to shorten this process significantly with their new system.

Vitaliano Torno, leader of European operations, told TM: “What is important is the speed of the customisation, if you think about what is happening outside of the glass world for a second, you do see we are moving from breakthrough innovation to smaller innovations that are more frequent, to the point that you see industries have changed completely.”

Case study: ‘Share a Coke’ campaign

Back in 2013, Coca-Cola selected the UK’s most popular names to replace their logo and give consumers the chance to ‘Share a Coke’.

The popularity of the campaign meant that it became one of the most successful for the fizzy drink manufacturer ever, with 150 million personalised bottles sold in the UK.

This examples shows the drive from consumers to have more personalised products, and the need for brands and manufacturers to understand and be able to execute this effectively.

Coco-Cola campaign by numbers (UK 2014)

•  Over a thousand different names on bottles
•  More than 150 million personalised bottles sold
•  Over 730,000 glass bottles personalised via the e-commerce store
•  65 experiential stops on the Share a Coke tour

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