Collapsible Metal Tubes

Collapsible Metal Tubes: A Convenient Packaging Solution


Collapsible metal tubes are a popular packaging solution used for a variety of products ranging from cosmetics and personal care items to foods. Though their usage dates back to the late 19th century, they remain an innovative packaging format that provides advantages over other containers.

Structure of a Collapsible Metal Tube
A collapsible metal tube consists of three primary components – a laminated tube body, cap or closure, and a shoulder. The tube body is made up of a thin laminated sheet that is spirally wrapped and welded to form a cylindrical shape. The most common laminate used is aluminum surrounded by plastic films on the inner and outer surfaces for protection and printing. One end of the tube body is left open while the other is fitted with a cap or closure made of materials like aluminum or plastic. A shoulder piece is attached at the open end to provide grip and facilitate dispensing of the product.

Manufacturing Process of Collapsible Metal Tubes
The manufacture of Collapsible Metal Tubes follows several steps. First, the laminate sheet made of aluminum foil and plastic films is fed into a tube-making machine. Here, the sheet is unwound, printed if required, and spirally wrapped around a mandrel to form a tube. The spiral seam is welded using a heat sealer. One edge of the laminate is left open while the other is folded to form a hem for the cap attachment. Next, the tube passes through an oven for curing of adhesives before the shoulder piece and cap are fitted. Finally, the filled, sealed tubes are cartoned or bundled for shipping to end-user industries. Modern production lines can produce thousands of tubes per hour.

Applications of Collapsible Metal Tubes
Given their strengths of barrier protection and dose control dispensing, collapsible metal tubes have widespread applications:
– Cosmetics: Products like creams, gels, pastes for face, lips, etc are commonly packed in tubes for their portability and prevention of wastage.
– Personal Care: Toothpastes, hair care products, deodorants, and other personal hygiene items use tubes.
– Foods: Condiments like ketchup, sauces, frostings are packed in squeeze tubes for home use.
– Pharmaceuticals: Ointments, gels, and certain tablets or capsules can be packaged in tubes for medical or home use.
– Industrial: Lubricating greases, adhesives, sealants are dispensed from collapsible tubes for construction and mechanical applications.

Advantages of Metal Tube Packaging
Compared to other containers, collapsible metal tubes offer numerous benefits:
– Aseptic and hermetic sealing: Tubes provide an effective barrier against moisture, oxygen, and microbes to protect product quality and freshness.
– Controlled and targeted dosing: Contents can be precisely dispensed when squeezed due to the collapsible tube format.
– Space and cost efficiency: Tubes utilize space optimally due to their flexible shape and use minimum material.
– Recyclability: Used tubes can be recycled as both aluminum and plastic are highly recyclable materials.
– Portability: Lightweight and compact tubes make products easy to carry and store.
– Sensory appeal: Tubes enable visual appeal through decoration and printability to attract consumers.

Notable Trends in Collapsible Tube Industry
A few of the notable developments in recent times include:
– Usage of laminates with higher barrier protection for extended shelf life of packed products.
– Development of tubes compatible with different nozzle or cap designs for customized dispensing experiences.
– Incorporation of tamper-evidence features and child resistance for safety-critical products.
– Production automation through Industry 4.0 technologies like robotics, IoT, and AI for higher output and quality.
– Eco-friendly tubes from renewable, recycled, and biodegradable materials reducing environmental impact.
– Digital printing allowing dynamic design, messaging, and tracking possibilities through packaging.

collapsible metal tubes have effectively served the packaging needs of numerous industries for over a century. Their inherent strengths and versatility continue attracting new applications. Advancements in materials, production, and supplementary technologies are further improving the sustainability and performance of metal tubes. With ongoing research and development, collapsible tubes are likely to retain their relevance as a preferred packaging medium in the coming years as well.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it