How Laminate Tubes are Made
Laminate tubes are manufactured by using the laminate feed stock that is simply a poly-foil-poly structure that has polyethylene on either side of a thin gauge of foil. Some laminate structures also incorporate paper. A subset of laminate is Polyfoil. The most popular way of decorating the laminate feedstock material is by either letterpress or rotogravure printing. Rotogravure printing is used extensively to provide a high quality print buried within the laminate structure. Letterpress printing is used to decorate the surface of the laminate feedstock just prior to tubing that is ideal for added flexibility or smaller quantities.
The laminate tubes are formed by placing the rolls of laminate material onto the needles of the machine. The material is then taken in a flat state and fed through the forming rolls, which very gently turn the tube and form it into a cylinder of variable size depending on the customer's needs. Heat generated by high frequency fuses the sides of the material together to form a solid cylindrical tube. After the tube has been formed, it goes to the cutting station that slices it into various lengths.
After the tube has been formed into the desired cylindrical shape and length, the tube is transferred to the heading operation. As with plastic tubes, several heading methodologies are available. One particular method uses a preformed head. The tube is then placed onto a mandrel, the preformed head and shoulder are fed down vibrator shoots and fused to the top of the tube by means of heat generated by high frequency energy. Other methodologies apply the head to the sleeve in a similar manner to plastic tubes - either by injection or compression molding whereby heat fuses the head to the tube body.
After the complete tube has been formed, it goes to the capping station. The cap -- flat style, fez style or pedestal style -- is chosen based on the customer's needs. The cap is applied and torqued to the desired torquing requirements. The tube is then ejected onto a conveyor and taken to a packing operation where it is packed into a carton and is ready for the customer.