News

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 ›

YOUR TUBE AWARD

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 ›


 


Production Process

Billions of tubes are used worldwide every day. But only very few consumers have ever questioned themselves how this packaging, which seems to be so simple at first glance, is produced. Behind this superficial simplicity a rather complex and highly sophisticated production technology is hidden.

Here you get the opportunity to learn more about the manufacturing of aluminium, plastic and laminate tubes.

Go to "Production process of aluminium tubes"

Go to "Production process of plastic tubes"

Go to "Production process of laminate tubes"

Aluminium Tubes

Aluminium slugs are fed from a reservoir into the vibrating feeder of the press and placed into the die one by one.

The forming of the slugs to make tubes is done by reverse impact extrusion with a force of 800 – 1.000 N/mm2 (cold forming procedure).

On the tube trimmer the tubes are cut to a certain length. (for movie click here)

In further working steps the thread is rolled, the tube shoulder is brushed and the thread neck at the tube opening is burred. (for movie click here)

The tube is annealed at high temperature so that it gets soft enough to be squeezed. The lubricant is completely burnt at these high temperatures.

In the internal lacquering machine the necessary internal coating of a defined thickness is applied to the tubes.

In the internal lacquer drier the solvents of the internal protecting lacquer evaporate at high temperature. During this procedure the internal protecting lacquer polymerises.

The accumulator’s function is to accumulate the tubes between the preceding machines and the decoration unit of the line. It compensates the asynchronous mode of working of the line parts. (for movie click here)

In the coating machine a base coat, mostly a white lacquer, is applied to the tube. After that the tubes are decorated in the printing machine and over-varnished. This print is dried in a separate drying oven at high temperature. (for movie click here)

In the capping machine a cap is applied to the tubes. (for movie click here)

In the tube latexing machine a sealing material (latex seal) is applied to the end of the tube interior. When the tubes is filled, the tube end is crimped over, and the sealing material makes sure that the tube is definitely tight.

The packing machine packs the tubes into cartons. Depending on the requirements of the filling machines, different packing configurations and different carton dimensions are necessary.

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Plastic Tubes

The prepared plastic granulated material is fed via a conveyor into the extruder where the mass is formed to a sleeve of a defined diameter. It is possible to make both mono-layer or multi-layer (co-ex) plastic sleeves. If co-ex sleeves are made, the material is fed via several extruders, it is laid upon another in the sleeve-forming tooling.

The unloading machine’s function is to unload the plastic sleeves continuously and steadily. The cutter cuts the endless sleeves to the required length.

The accumulator’s function is to accumulate the sleeve between the extrusion plant and the decoration plant. Furthermore, the accumulator compensates the asynchronous mode of working between the line parts.

In the decoration unit the sleeves are pre-treated in order to decrease the surface tension of the plastic material and thus to reach a better adherence of the inks. After the pre-treatment an offset printer prints the sleeves. The printing inks are cured by exposure to UV rays. After that the overvarnish is applied. The varnish is dried outside the machine in separate drying ovens.

The accumulator’s function is to accumulate the sleeves between the decorating line and the header.

By means of a melting process the header applies a tube head to the sleeves that have been cut to a certain length. After a short cooling phase the tool opens and the tube can be taken out.

Now the tubes are fitted with a cap in the capping machine. This cap can either be screwed or pressed on.

Furthermore, there are several stations for tube refinement. For example: The gate can be removed, a membrane can be welded (thermally or with high frequency) or a special foil can be imprinted on the tube.

The packing machine packs the tubes into cartons. Depending on the requirements of the filling machines, different packing configurations and different carton dimensions can be realised.

For movie click here                                                                      back to top of page

 


Laminate Tubes

The laminate web consisting of at least five different material layers (including aluminium or plastic barrier) is produced, decorated by the laminate supplier and delivered to the tube producer on a roll.

At the tube producer’s plant the laminate web is unrolled (picture above) and formed into a continuous tube by passing it over a tapered tube forming a sleeve (picture below).

 

 

 

The two longitudinal ends of the laminate are welded together. This welding process relies on the presence of aluminium within the laminate structure. The conductive aluminium metal becomes hot enough to melt the surrounding plastic and effect a strong weld. With plastic barrier laminate tubes instead of the direct welding method used for aluminium barrier laminate, the tube body seam is made by bringing a heated metal band in contact with the outside of the tube.

 

 

 

Individual tube lengths are cut off.

The shoulder is attached to the tube body. There are three different methods of producing the shoulder and fixing it to the body (Tuboplast patent, Maegerle process or AISA technology).

 

 

Depending on the production process either an outer rondelle (laminate disc) or an inner rondelle serve as diffusion barrier in the tube shoulder area. With the first procedure an outer rondelle is fixed on the previously formed tube head and jointly seamed with the laminate body and the shoulder. With the second procedure with inner rondelle the cut edges of the rondelle are embedded into the shoulder material while forming the tube head.

 

A device can be inserted in the shoulder of the tube to give a striping effect to the product.

 

 

Before the closure is fixed to the tube a membrane is applied to the orifice as tamper-proof device.

 

The fixing of the closure and the packing of the finished tube is done in the same way as for aluminium and plastic tubes.

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