Aluminium tube marks 100th birthday

The European tube manufacturers association (etma) mark the 100th of the aluminium tube today (8 August).

The unique success story began in 1913 exactly one hundred years ago a new technical development made the industrial scale production of aluminium tubes feasible.

In 1913 Alfons Mall, who was 28 years old and living in Baden in Germany at the time, developed and constructed a range of machines for the mass production of tubes.

And in the same year, tests were carried out to manufacture tubes from aluminium, first in Switzerland and then in Germany.

The First World War then put a temporary stop to any further development of the aluminium tube. But a promising start had been made and the foundation stone for the modern tube industry had been laid.

Development of the large-scale production of the aluminium tube took place in Germany after the war, in the twenties and particularly in the thirties.

A spokeswoman for etma said, “Metal tubes had previously only been made from tin, lead or tin-plated lead.

“But tin was very expensive, and it required foreign currency; and just like lead, it was subject to controls for a time. Furthermore, food legislation limited the use of lead for tubes.

“By 1939, more tubes were produced from aluminium than from the soft metal. The triumphant advance of the aluminium tube had begun, and it continued unabated after the Second World War.

“Production figures for the aluminium tube still top the list of tubes produced even today.”

Member companies of etma represents more than 80% of all tube production in Europe and reported a record result in 2012, with over 10 billion tubes produced.

Of these, slightly more than 40% were aluminium tubes, with plastic and laminate tubes accounting for the remaining production, each with a share of roughly 30% of total volume.

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