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plastic cosmetic tube manufacturing process

2021-05-09

The most common way of packaging a cosmetic product is by using a plastic cosmetic tube, also known as PE (plastic extruded). This is by far the safest as well as the most suitable way of skincare packaging. 


These plastic cosmetic tubes replaced the traditional ways cosmetic bottles, containers, and jars. Plastic cosmetic tubes are easy to apply and more convenient to keep even while traveling. 


A plastic cosmetic tube is also known as a refillable squeeze tube. The PE plastic used by plastic cosmetic tube manufacturers is environmentally friendly and can be recycled.


Platic cosmetic tubes are designed in many shapes and sizes with various material densities to protect a specific cosmetic product. These innovative plastic tubes have many benefits, such as; prolonging the shelf-life and making a cosmetic or skincare product shelf-stable.


The plastic refillable squeeze tube is known to retain its shape after every squeeze. Different types of PE are used according to the inner fillings and the type of product. Moreover, layers such as mono-layer, two-layer, and multi-layer tubes are also available in the wholesale market. 


Different types of labeling and printing give these plastic cosmetic tubes an appealing look. The process of manufacturing a plastic cosmetic tube is all mechanical and requires no laborers. It's simple and requires less hard work and money. 

Plastic squeeze tubes are usually supplied in bulk and not in two or three items. If you are thinking of starting a plastic cosmetic tube wholesale business, then the article is the best for you. Let's now take a look at the manufacturing process of a plastic squeeze tube. Two kinds of packaging are made, primary plastic packaging and secondary plastic packaging.


Extrusion 

The very first phase of manufacturing a plastic cosmetic tube is extrusion. Plastic extrusion is used to manufacture high-volume plastic tubes. Raw plastic material in the form of resins, pellets, granules, powder, or flakes is added to the barrel of the extruder. The mixture of raw plastic and a color concentrate is mixed together.


The material starts melting as heaters are arranged in the barrel by turning on the screws. A typical temperature is maintained to melt the mixture of resin and color perfectly. The resin is fed continuously as bulk production of plastic cosmetic tubes is needed.


During the plastic extrusion process, you can also choose different color dies being pushed through different shapes. These sizing dies are encapsulated. The extruder is attached to a right-angle cross-section to provide a basic shape and color.


The next important phase is cutting. Plastic cosmetic tubes are available in all shapes and sizes. After passing through high temperatures, the plastic is passed through a water-cooled sleeve, and a variety of colors dies where cutting takes place.

  • The accurate cutting lengths are fed into the machine according to the consumer's demand. The sleeve eventually goes through rotating knives to be sliced. While the sleeve is being sliced, a specific set of dies are fed through them.

  • The benefits of this process include removing any contaminants and inconsistencies while it's still in a bubbly gum consistency. If this process is not following, the plastic won't be safe enough to use. 

  • By the end of this process, a plastic tube is formed in a semi-formed way. Usually, consistency is hard to be achieved in this process. It's mostly used when bulk orders of cosmetic tubes are given. For smaller orders, it is very inconsistent. 


Heading 

Three kinds of heading processes are done in the USA; one is by injecting molding, the head is attached to the plastic sleeve. The other one is an additional compression method that is used to mold the head by a donut of molten resin material other than the traditional methods. Out of all three methods, the one listed below is the most common one. 


A heading method most commonly used in the US is also known as the downs process of compression. Before this process, the semi-formed tube is already present, and only the head has to be placed inaccurately. The head is molded over the body of the plastic cosmetic tube. In this process, the plastic sleeve passes through the conveyor; then, it passes through a heading operation process where the shoulder of the head is attached to the body of the plastic cosmetic tube.


  • While this process happens, another process takes place side by side, which is the threading process in which a thread is formed. Next, the mandrel takes the sleeve, which is then passed on to the slug pick-up station. Over there, a high temperature is maintained. The slug of plastic is forced into a hot metal tube, or a hot-melt strip is fused inside the sleeve. It then passes through a mold station to achieve an accurate shape. All parts of the plastic tube are carefully molded onto one another, giving a perfectly formed plastic squeeze tube. 

  • The squeeze tube manufacturers are very careful at this point as in this part, the orifice, the angle of the shoulder, and the thread all are molded together on the sleeve of the tube. After that, the head is placed to be cooled down. Once cooled down, it is removed from the mold and lastly transferred into a pin conveyor. 


Decorating

Decorating again is a crucial step. During this step, the beaded tube is fed through the accumulator, and the accumulator is then used to design and decorate the plastic cosmetic squeeze tube. 


After passing through the accumulator, it goes through a decorating operation where other decorating steps take places, such as flexographic, silkscreen, or cold foil printing and offset printing. 

A print mandrel is then used to spread the ink and gives the first stage of surface treatments. These treatments include plasma treatment, flame treatments, or corona treatment. This process helps to prepare the plastic cosmetic tube for the infusion of ink. 


How is the ink spread after that? A rubber blanket attracts the plate and then picks up the ink to the entire plastic tube. The ink is infused onto the entire circumference of the plastic squeeze tube. All squeeze tube manufacturers need a different type of rollers and inks to spread the ink all over the surface of the tube. 


The ink is wet ink; to dry it out, ultra-violet light or heat is used to dry up the ink on the refillable plastic squeeze tube. 



Labelling

Empty cosmetic tubes have many benefits. When you buy empty cosmetic plastic tubes at wholesale, you can easily get your own brand's labeling printed on it as we all know that the first thing people notice before buying any cosmetic product is its packaging. For example, if you are looking for the best face cream for yourself, the first thing you will notice is it's an outlook or the kind of packaging it has. 

Labeling your own brand's name, logo, and product's name will increase the customer base for your cosmetic brand.

The best process of labeling a plastic squeeze tube is through silkscreen printing. Silkscreen printing is a commonly used technique used by most cosmetic packaging brands. In this process, the ink is transferred through a

mesh of porous fabric, which is also known as a screen. This screen is the most basic part of silk screen printing. As we go way back in history, actual silk was used in this process, but today as pure silk becomes very expensive, polyester is used instead of silk. 

The screen printing process has three major parts. One is a screen printing machine, then screen plates are used, and lastly, a good quality screen printing ink should be used. Silkscreen printing is a cost-effective way. The labeling done through silkscreen printing is also durable and doesn't wear off easily. 

  • Capping

  • Capping is the final step of manufacturing a perfect plastic squeeze tube. The capping of a refillable squeeze tube should be durable and made out of PE or PCR plastic to promote an eco-friendly environment. The cap of a squeeze tube provides protection to any cosmetic material filled inside the cosmetic tube. Sometimes a sharp pin is also injected inside the cap to open the seal of any cosmetic product.

  • Caps come in all shapes, sizes, designs, and materials to suit the needs of a cosmetic brand. 

    The conveyor passes the tube through a capping station. In that capping station, the cap is applied to the tube through torque according to the consumer's specifications.It actually depends on the size and type of tube. Some squeeze tube manufacturers apply the cap first and then pass the tube through a decorating process. The orientation of the flip flop closure is according to the customer's demand. It is aligned accordingly with the front of the tube's artwork. 

  • Packaging

  • After the final process of caping is done, the plastic tube is fully ready to be packed and exported to its customers. The plastic tube is placed in a conveyor belt that takes it to a tray to be packed in. Cartons and cartons of those trays are then exported to different cosmetic brands. 


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