World market leader installs new production lines for food and pharmaceutical packaging
With the commissioning of two new aluminium tube production lines from Hinterkopf, the Alltub Group is pursuing a global modernization programme and thus responding to an increased demand for its products even during the Covid-19 pandemic. "Thanks to the broad positioning of our Group, our sales in 2020 were resilient and we are currently continuing to record a growing order book. That's why we decided to invest in the new lines," reports Mark Köllmann, CEO of Alltub. Currently, the Alltub Group manufactures about 1.6 billion units per year on 75 lines, which are delivered to more than 750 customers located in over 50 counties around the world from the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics and industrial sectors.
The new aluminium tube lines are deployed at Alltub’s plants in Cividate al Piano (Italy) and Kirchheimbolanden (Germany) and are intended to significantly expand the production capacities and capabilities of the world’s market leader in the field of collapsible aluminum tubes. Alltub's plant in Italy is also the birthplace of the Alltub Group’s multi-award winning green tube, produced from >95% PCR aluminium. Alltub’s sustainable aluminium green tubes, which are fully recycled and fully recyclable, have been awarded the European Tube Manufacturer’s Association (ETMA) tube of the year 2020, as well as the 2021 WorldStar Global Packaging award of the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) in the category "Packaging Materials & Components".
Both aluminium tube lines are based on the basic H210 machine from Hinterkopf, one of the leading German manufacturers of machines for the production of aluminium and plastic tubes for packaging. Thanks to its high level of flexibility, the H210 machine has already laid the foundations for efficiency increases with numerous customers.
Despite the common platform, the target markets for the two new lines differ significantly, as Köllmann explains: "In Cividate al Piano, large tubes in diameter 40 and 50 millimeters are required for food products such as tomato concentrate, mustard or mayonnaise. In Kirchheimbolanden, on the other hand, we manufacture small diameter tubes for a wide variety of customers in the pharmaceutical industry."
But it is not only in the dimensions of the products that the two machines differ. Due to its essentially monoformat production, Alltub’s plant in Italy is a "marathon runner", as Alexander Hinterkopf, managing director of the traditional machine building company based in Eislingen in southern Germany, emphasizes: "All components must be designed in such a way that the line performs economically in long-term continuous use with maximum reliability. In this case, the long term means a period of more than 20 years." The order for the line also includes a 9-color printing unit, which enables almost photo-identical decoration of the tubes.
The H210 in Kirchheimbolanden, on the other hand, is designed for other extremes: "A short-distance runner", describes Alexander Hinterkopf. In Kirchheimbolanden the new line is primarily required for short production runs with a wide range of formats and a wide variety of caps. For the caps, Hinterkopf has equipped the system with an in-house automated cap application machine. In total, the Alltub Group offers its customers over 600 different cap variants.
The H210 already offers the possibility of saving a large number of different line set-up formats. For every defined tube format, the production line in Kirchheimbolanden enables a fully automated set-up conversion in the shortest possible time. This also increases the cost-effectiveness of production. Just as important in this context: the exact positioning of the tubes at all times in order to minimize the risk of waste. Set-up wastage drives up production costs for small series above the average. Despite these demanding requirements, the system allows a fast start-up as well as precise production at high speed - and this with a controlled product transfer in every phase of the production process. For the printing unit, Alltub has opted for a proven 6-color machine for this system.
What both systems have in common is the focus on sustainable production. With the H210, the developers have, among other things, made sure that it has minimum energy consumption, especially when in production standby mode. "Compared to earlier generation production lines, the energy consumption is only half as high," emphasizes Mark Köllmann.
With the purchase of these two new aluminium tube lines, Alltub is continuing its long-standing close partnership with Hinterkopf. "Over the past 40 years, we have developed many milestones with Alltub and the group's predecessors. With our H150 machine, for example, we paved the way for the company from workshop production to in-line production," says Hinterkopf. The entry of a new shareholder just over two years ago was also the starting signal for a comprehensive modernization programme at Alltub. The main objective of the investment programme is to double output across the Alltub Group in the coming years – also in order to optimally meet the continuously growing demand for aluminium tubes. In addition to the two new aluminium lines, the purchase of a new laminate tube printing machine from Gallus is also part of this investment programme. With it, Alltub increases its capabilities and the efficiency of production at its plant in Langenfeld, Germany.
With six production facilities around the world (France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico) and more than 75 production lines, Alltub produces 1.6 billion units annually (aluminum tubes, laminate tubes, aluminum cartridges and aluminium aerosol cans). The company employs more than 1,300 people worldwide and generates sales of more than 140 million Euros per year.