In 2007, the manufacturers of flexible aluminum, plastic and laminate tubes who are organized in the european tube manufacturers association (etma) broke through the 10 billion barrier of tubes produced for the first time. With a total of 10.1 billion tubes, the industry recorded growth of approximately 2%.
The volume of the total European market is estimated to be roughly 13 billion tubes. With a 42% share of total production, aluminum tubes retain their leading position, followed by plastic tubes with 30% and laminate tubes with 28%. The markets for cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and dental care products remain the most important market areas for tubes. In 2007, the tube industry once again benefited from the vigorous demand from the cosmetics industry, which is increasingly focusing on tubes for the packaging of products.
"There is a trend towards high-quality finishing, which can be seen in sophisticated closure caps, embossing, special shapes and the combination of different printing processes," says Gregor Spengler, secretary general of etma. "Customers and consumers appreciate the advantages of tubes: they are light in weight, can't be broken, easy to use, offer optimum hygiene, and the right amount of product can be dispensed."
The European tube industry is expecting market growth to continue in 2008. Production capacities continue to be well or even very well utilized, with the result that delivery times for individual tube diameters and specifications may be as long as 12 weeks.
In 2007, worldwide sales of aluminum aerosol cans also enjoyed unrestrained growth to a volume of around 5.3 billion cans. This corresponds to a further impressive increase of 11% over 2006, which was already a record year for the aluminum aerosol can industry, and gives aluminum cans a 41% share of the global aerosol can production of approximately 12.7 billion units.
Once again, the cosmetics market was the driving force behind this expansion. 80% of all shipments are to this dynamically growing market. The key market areas in cosmetics in 2007 were deodorants with a 45% share of total shipments, hair sprays with 15%, and mousses with 12%. The remaining non-cosmetic shipments were accounted for by household and chemical/technical products (7%), pharmaceuticals (5%), food (3%), and other products (5%).
Healthy demand from the cosmetics industry was driven in particular by the growing trend for shaped cans, which feature a more ergonomic design and give the brand a distinctive appearance at the point of sale. The good malleability of aluminum and the flexibility of the impact extrusion manufacturing process can be used to their full advantage here.
Imaginative innovations have been introduced outside the key cosmetics market. One example is the spray can for toothpaste developed for the Odol brand. When the can is pressed, pure nitrogen pushes the fine gel out of the container. An aluminum bag inside the can ensures that the filling and propellant remain separate from one another. Cooking oil, too, has been packaged in aluminum aerosol cans recently with the light and slim "Less Cal Easy Action Cooking Spray” can from the Euro Fine Foods company.