French software company Dassault Systèmes has partnered with Ardagh Group and consulting firm EXXERGY to conduct virtual trials of lighter glass bottles.

The collaboration project will focus on research and development for an external coating to help reduce the weight of glass bottles and increase their strength.

The lightweight glass bottles will also remain fully recyclable.

Ardagh Group chief sustainability officer John Sadlier 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.

“Together with our customers and supply chain partners, we are eager to explore the potential of digitalisation to drive new and innovative lightweighting solutions.”

As part of this collaboration, Ardagh and EXXERGY will research and develop the coatings, while Dassault Systèmes will offer contract research services using its BIOVIA software applications.

The coating will be tested on beverage manufacturer Diageo’s Johnnie Walker bottle from January.

Based on the outcome of the trial, the companies plan to begin product testing next summer.

Virtual trials are conducted before physical testing and are intended to help develop a digital representation of a product or process in real-time.

Dassault Systèmes Industry, Marketing and Sustainability executive vice-president Florence Verzelen said: “There is a growing urgency to change our ways of production and consumption.

“We need to rethink everything and dare to imagine the boldest sustainability initiatives.

“Using Dassault Systèmes’ virtual twin technology, companies can design and simulate radically different new sustainable materials, products and processes in record time. They can be right, but also sustainable the first time.”

In 2018, Dassault Systèmes was named the world’s most sustainable corporation by Canadian market research firm Corporate Knights.