Aluminium tubes account for about 40 % of the overall European tube production. There are two types of aluminium tubes: cylindrical and conical tubes. Conical tubes are produced out of cylindrical tubes by widening the tube body by about 1 to 2°. Therefore, conical tubes can be easily stacked into each other which prevents deformation and allows to cut transport cost.
Aluminium tubes are used because of their excellent barrier properties. The filling is fully protected against light, moisture, gases and germs. In addition volatile components of sensitive products cannot escape and get lost. Moreover they are heat resistant and offer a sterilised environment.
The main areas of application are cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food as well as household and technical products. They are an ideal primary packaging material for all semi-liquid and pastel-type products.
Plastic tubes account for about 30 % of the overall European tube production.
They are made of PE, PP as well as of multi-layer structures. The predominant area of application are cosmetics. However, they are also used for packing pharmaceuticals, food, toothpaste as well as household and industrial products.
Plastic tubes are mainly used for products where decoration and design are deciding factors. They offer multiple decoration possibilities such as transparent layers and keep their original shape until the packaging is completely emptied.
Plastic tubes are manufactured in a diameter range of 13.5 to 50 mm according to EN 13045
European plastic tube producers have issued a position paper on "Plastic Tubes and Sustainability" which you can download here:
Position Paper Plastic Tubes and Sustainability
Laminate tubes account for about 30 % of the overall European tube production.
Laminate tubes are either aluminium barrier laminate (ABL, 20 to 30 µm layer of aluminium foil), plastic barrier laminate (PBL, 15 to 20 µm layer of EVOH) or ceramics barrier laminate (CBL) tubes. The predominant area of application is toothpaste. However, they are also used for packing cosmetics, food, pharmaceuticals as well as household and industrial products.
Composite packaging unites the useful properties of various materials. They combine excellent barrier effects with maximum printing quality. Because of the two-step production process the whole decorative potential up to photo realistic presentations is possible. Even transparent laminates with a polyester barrier are possible. Laminate tubes have excellent gas, water vapour and aroma barrier properties and are inert and physiologically harmless. The body laminate is pinhole free making the tube particularly suitable for products aggressive to aluminium.
Laminate tubes are manufactured in a diameter range of 13.5 to 40 mm according to EN 13461