European Tube Industry Continues Expanding

April 2014 The manufacturers of aluminium, plastic and laminate tubes belonging to the European Tube Manufacturers Association (etma) managed once more to achieve growth of one per cent...  more ›


September 2013 YOUR TUBE AWARD: A dazzling appearance for the aluminium tube Staging the "International Aluminium Tube Design Award" for the second time, the European Tube...  more ›

100 years aluminium tubes

August 2013 Aluminium tube celebrates centenary: Unique success story began in 1913 Exactly one hundred years ago a new technical development made the industrial scale production...  more ›

etma Tube of the Year 2013 competition

July 2013 etma Tube of the Year 2013 competition Jury focuses on print, design and application   The winners of this year's etma Tube of the Year competition were again...  more ›

Growth in European tube industry bucks trend

March 2013 Growth in European tube industry bucks trend Total production again well over ten billion tubes The member companies of etma, the European tube manufacturers association,...  more ›

etma Tube of the Year 2012 competition

July 2012 etma Tube of the Year 2012 competition: Impressive designs and real innovations This year’s winners in the etma Tube of the Year competition were chosen in...  more ›

Change of leadership at etma: Members elect new president

 June 2012 Change of leadership at etma: Members elect new president Brussels / Düsseldorf. Dr Monika Kopra-Schäfer (Linhardt) is the new president of...  more ›

New service for packaging professionals from etma

May 2012 First issue of Tubes & TRENDS with news and innovations from tube industry   The european tube manufacturers association, etma, has intensified...  more ›


Properties of tubes


Be it cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, toothpastes, food, household or technical products, tubes excel by their outstanding properties. They meet with consumer needs and give the filler a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Protection of fillings

One of the key functions of a packaging is the protection of the filling. If a filling is spoilt for whatsoever reason, consumers confidence in the product gets lost and with it all resources needed for its production. An economic and environmental disaster.

Whether aluminium as absolute barrier or other multi-layer structures with plastic or ceramics barrier materials, flexible tubes offer effective protection of the fillings and thus safeguard the shelf life of products.


Through their efficient barrier properties the product is protected against
  • light
  • moisture
  • gases
  • germs
Since the tube is unbreakable it can withstand the rigours of transportation and handling.

back to top of page


User friendliness/Convenience  

Often tubes contain sensitive and valuable fillings. In these cases the economical dosage of the product is of predominant interest to the consumer. Tubes offer the possibility to apply valuable active ingredients sparingly in a controlled and hygienic manner. There are even pin hole orifices for low viscosity products.

Tubes are unbreakable, clean, light and small which allows the product to be safely, easily and hygienically dispensed in a controlled manner. They are also ideal for travelling when only limited space is available. The durable nature of tubes means that they are suitable for use in many different environments from the bathroom to the beach to the workshop.

 Environment friendliness    

Until the end of the 1980s tubes were packed in carton before offered on the shelf. This has fundamentally changed with the rising of the stand-up tube. The big cap enabled the tube to go alone and dispense with the carton thus minimizing packaging waste. Today – apart from pharmaceutical tubes - most tubes do not require a protective outer carton. In addition the thickness of aluminium, plastic and laminate layers is limited to the absolute minimum to secure indispensible packaging functions. On top of that aluminium is fully recyclable, and plastic materials are either recyclable or energetically recoverable.

Point of Sale Appeal
Often consumers decide spontaneously at the point of sale which product they buy. In these cases packaging acts as a differentiation instrument substantially determining the purchasing decision. Tubes offer all possibilities to create point of sale appeal and product differentiation which is needed to create or further develop a brand.

The wide range of shapes, colours, finishes and decorative effects on offer adds up to an attractive packaging solution which has a strong impact on the shelf and allows plenty of opportunity for product differentiation. Thus tubes add value to products through enhanced shelf appeal.

Available printing techniques are flexo printing, offset printing, silk-screen printing, roto-gravure printing, hot (foil) stamping, foil blocking and relief printing.

Further decorative options are, full or spot varnishing, marbling effects, pearly gloss or matt effects, frost effects, soft touch effects, holograms, iris printing with tapering off colours, optical surface (OS) tube laminates or tubes with a side window. In the last few years also labelling has made some inroads into tube decoration.

The appeal of the tube can be further enhanced with sophisticated caps. There is an ample variety of caps serving different purposes. The styles range from the ordinary screw or stand-up cap to the soft line cap, flip-top cap, twist-off openings to highly sophisticated one-hand closures such as snap-on flip top caps orientated to the tube design.

Tamper Evidence
For product safety and liability reasons tamper evidence has become a major topic in the packaging industry. On the filler’s request all tubes can be equipped with a membrane neatly fitted over the orifice of the nozzle before the cap is applied, and which subsequently can easily be removed by the consumer. The seal on the orifice is either a plastic or an aluminium foil.

An alternative method of protection can be added externally to the tube body linking tube body and screw cap through an automated sleeving process, which from the customer's point of view is clearly tamper evident. This mostly transparent sleeve can be removed by simply drawing on the identification strip which is set into the sleeve material.

In addition there are tamper evident closures with nozzle seal available which has to be opened with a spike included in the cap.

Another possibility to secure tamper evidence is a plastic rim which can be twisted off from the tube with a special tool included in the tube’s closure.


Packaging cannot be too careful these days. In times of tampering, counterfeiting and shoplifting, no area is immune from these brand-damaging, sales-sapping activities. Fortunately, there are steps they can take to protect their products from harm and keep brand equity intact. Several innovative advancements designed to counter threats to brands are offered by tubes.

Tubes with holographic materials are ideal for security purposes. Not only do holograms offer a distinctive appearance with shifting colours and patterns, but the production process presents a barrier to counterfeiters because it requires specialised equipment and is relatively expensive.