What are laminate tubes?
The laminate tube is an evolutionary further development of tube packaging for paste and semi-liquid products. A laminate is a composite of several layers, each of which fulfils a special function. The laminate tube from Labelprint24 combines the individual and essential advantages of aluminium tubes and plastic tubes in a single tube type: a secure protection of the contents and a large design scope for a sales-promoting design.
Structure of laminate tubes
Laminate tubes consist of a tube body consisting of several interconnected substrate layers, the tube shoulder with the tube thread, and the tube cap. Each individual component of a laminate tube has its own individual specifications. Optionally, the tube closures can also be sealed with tube seals. The more layers a tube laminate has, the more expensive it is. The individual layers are laminated together, hence the name.
Of particular importance in the construction of a laminate tube is its tightness (protection against diffusion and gas permeation). The tightness depends on the barrier layer, the weld seam on the tube bottom, the shoulder seam, and the fit of the lid on the tube opening.
What types of laminate tubes can I order?
There are two variants of printable laminate tubes: the ABL tube made of aluminium barrier laminate and the PBL tube made of plastic barrier laminate. Both variants provide the tube contents with efficient protection against environmental influences. They have an effective barrier layer against water, UV light or oxygen. This barrier layer also has the taself-adhesive of maintaining the substrate inside for a long time without loss of quality.
Aluminium barrier laminate (ABL) tube
The ABL tube is a laminate tube that has a thin aluminium layer between the individual plastic layers. The aluminium layer with its barrier properties serves to protect the contents of the tube. The barrier properties of aluminium are very effective. The ABL tube is a combination plastic-metal tube that meets the requirements of high-quality pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.
The plastic barrier laminate (PBL) tube
The PBL tube is a laminate tube without aluminium, i.e. completely plastic. This type of laminate tube has multiple layers of high density polyethylene (HDPE), including a barrier layer of EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) to protect the tube contents and prolong its life. EVOH is a copolymer with optimal barrier properties against UV light, oxygen, and aromas.
ABL and PBL in comparison
PBL tubes with EVOH already offer very good barrier protection. ABL tubes with aluminium have sufficiently high barrier and removal properties to optimally protect sensitive cosmetic products, essential oils, or foodstuffs. When laminating ABL tubes, a copolymer protective layer is applied to the inside of the aluminium layer so that the contents do not come into contact with the aluminium. This is especially necessary for some food tubes. However, there are also laminates without barrier layers.
The material in laminate tubes has another very important advantage: it can be printed and refined in high quality using digital printing!
Examples of printed laminate tubes, finishes, and metallic lettering
What are the delivery times for Labelprint24 laminate tubes?
Our PBL tubes special
offer products are ready for shipment after 3 weeks following print release. All other tubes that you can configure with our laminate tubes - ABL and PBL quote calculator
are already produced, according to arrangement, 4 weeks following printing approval.
I have additional requirements with regard to the laminate tubes
If you have a special requirement or your wishes are not covered by the online calculator, Please feel free to contact us.
Further information on properties, application, and manufacture
When choosing the optimal type of laminate tube, it is crucial to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each laminate and select the type of tube that best fulfils the packaging function and purpose for the individual product. Laminate tubes, for example, need to remain soft and elastic even after repeated squeezing to avoid wrinkles that might disrupt the look.
Laminate tubes also need to offer sufficient protection of the product and prevent migration of particles and resist chemical penetration. Laminate tubes with high barrier materials are best suited for sensitive products because they offer strong oxygen, aroma, and water vapour barriers. However, if this material is too stiff, it can lead to marks or cracking wher squeezed.
The shoulder of the tube is a weak point for the oxygen barrier. If, for example, a toothpaste tube (ABL laminate) has been left unused for a long time after it was previously opened, there will likely be dried, oxidized toothpaste at the opening. The toothpaste inside will often still be intact. This weak point can be avoided by thickening the tube shoulder or by adding the aluminium barrier to the tube shoulder.
Application of laminate tubes
Laminate tubes are used for packaging cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, paste-like foods, and other tube products such as lubricants or adhesives.
About 20% of all tubes manufactured in Europe are used to package toothpaste and other dental care products. In the past, toothpaste tubes were made exclusively from aluminium because only this material provided the barrier properties to keep toothpaste fresh, pasty, and effective. Nowadays, only a few dental care products, such as prescription toothpastes, are sold in aluminium tubes.
Toothpaste tubes made of ABL laminate today have the same barrier properties, are lighter and, above all, can be printed with a high-quality design without pinch marks. Granules, foaming agents, humectants, and binders are important components of toothpaste. In addition there are flavourings, fluoride, and colourings. These ingredients cannot age or break down.
More than 40% of all tubes produced in Europe are used for cosmetics. In the cosmetics industry, aluminium, laminate, or plastic tubes are used, depending on the contents. Important examples are hair dyes and hair care, self-adhesivein care products, as well as soap, shaving cream, shower gel, peeling and other cleaning products, some of whose ingredients are very precious and expensive.
Today, laminate tubes are increasingly being used in the pharmaceutical sector. However, aluminium tubes still dominate the sensitive medical field.
The food sector accounts for slightly less than ten per cent of the tubes produced in Europe. In this segment, too, laminate tubes are increasingly regarded as a modern and contemporary form of packaging. They are convenient, easy to open and close again, make portioning easy, and are lightweight and unbreakable. They are often used for mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup, but also for fish pastes, cheese and butter products, and creams.
Laminate tubes are used for a wide range of products
Production of laminate tubes
Tube with shoe polish
Tube for hair dyes
Laminate tubes are not printed on the finished cylindrical tube body, but instead on a flat laminate roller. At labelprint24, laminate tubes with a diameter of 35 or 50 mm are digitally printed on the roll and then UV coated.
The tube laminate can be embossed with gold or silver foil as an additional finish. This gives the surface a noble metallic look.
After the printing and finishing of the laminate roll, the laminate is shaped formed into small tubes in our tube line and the seams of the tube body are firmly welded. In the next step, the tube line attaches the tube shoulder and thread for either a flip-top or screw-top cap. The last step is to attach the tube cap.
The printed and sealed laminate tubes are still open at the bottom when delivered to the customer, where they are filled with the respective product in a tube filling machine. After filling, the tubes are welded airtight with hot air and under pressure. The heated plastic layers fuse to form a solid composite.
Do you have any further questions about labelprint24 laminate tubes? Please feel free to contact us.