Paper TubesPaper Tubes

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This article provides comprehensive information about paper tubes, paper core and composite cans. You will learn how these paper and paperboard products are made and their materials of construction as well as paper tube applications, advantages and drawbacks.

Read further to answer questions like:

What‘s the difference between paper tubes, paper tubes and composite cans?

Why should you select paper tube containers instead of plastic, glass, or metal packaging?

What types and sizes of paper tubes are available from leading manufacturers?

How do I specify paper tubes when ordering or submitting an RFQ?

How is the quality of paper tube products I am buying tested and assured?

How easily can I dispose of or recycle used paper tubes and paper cores?

And much more...

Paper Tubes

Paper Tubes from Ace Paper Tube

I. What is a Paper Tube?

Paper tubes consist of paper or paperboard sheet layers wound together to form strong, hollow, and usually cylindrical shapes. The paper layers are laminated or bonded together using adhesives. The wall thickness of the tube can vary depending on the number of layers wrapped during manufacturing.

Paper tubes are also known as paper cores, paperboard tubes, paper cans, fiber drums with paper drum machine, fiber tubes, paper tubing, wound tubes, composite cans, coreboard tubes, and cardboard tubes. While widely used everywhere, the term "cardboard tube" is a misnomer. Cardboard consists of three kraft layers with the central layer corrugated.

II. Paper Tube Types and Shapes

Paper Tube and Core Types

While paper tubes, paper cores and related products are all made from wound plies of paper or paperboard. Paper tubes with paper tube cutting machine or cores can be constructed from one, two or many plies of brown kraft paper or paperboard.

The innermost layer or ply, the liner, and the outermost layer, the wrap, can consist of different materials (foil, film, etc.) or specialized paper. The specialized paper and materials can provide water resistance, graphics or labeling, or a specific color.

The two main types of paper tubes and cores include spiral wound and convolute or parallel wound paper tubes. Convolute wound tubes are used in applications requiring high bend strength, crush resistance and dynamic strength.

A spiral wound tube has the paper ply or plies wrapped around at an angle to the tube's axis. In convolute tubes, the outer two edges of the paper strip are wrapped parallel or at a 90-degree angle to the tube‘s axis.

Paper tubes have thinner walls and are widely used as containers or packaging for products with paper packaging machine.

A paper core is essentially a heavy-walled paper tube. The much thicker wall of paper cores enables their use in winding webs or sheets of flexible material into rolls in converting operations.

Paper machines produce extremely large rolls (also known as machine, jumbo, tambour or mother rolls), which are rotary slit or converted into many narrower smaller rolls on a winder with a paperboard core. Similar jumbo rolls are converted in plastic film, foil, textile and coated abrasive plants.

You will be surprised that not all paper tubes are geared toward packaging applications. Paper cores can be machine elements. Paper cores used for winding large rolls in a paper mill or plastic film production plant are machine elements and require extremely high strength paper cores, which are often convoluted.

Paper cores for retail or small diameter width rolls of adhesive tape, label, foil, paper, tissue or plastic film are a packaging and dispensing product, which can consist of a thinner, spiral wound core.

The paper tube material is rotary or saw cut into paper cans or composite cans, shipping tubes, push tubes, pyrotechnic tubes, display poles, converting cores, concrete piling forms, and other paper tube products.

Large fiber or composite drums and even paper straws are manufactured in a similar winding process. Convolute winders are typically used to make composite drums, which are a more eco-friendly alternative to steel drums. Paper straws are spiral wound at very high speeds.

Paper Tube Shapes

You will find that most paper tubes have a cylindrical shape or round cross-section, but paper tubes can be made with square, oval, hexagonal, triangular, and other custom shapes by using a square, oval and custom shaped winding mandrel. Custom shapes are useful for fitting the tube specifically to a part or product shape while eliminating wasted space and additional spacers or packing material.

Tapered paper tubes or paper cones are wound with a cone-shaped mandrel. Paper cones are used as yarn carriers in the textile industry.

For certain applications, you may want your paper tubes slit or cut along their length to make half-shells such as facilitates covering large rolls for protection. They can be reconnected with tape or h-profiles. You will find covering a paper roll or coiled steel roll easier with half-shells compared to sliding a roll into a large protective paper tube.

III. How Are Paper Tubes Made?

Paper Tube and Core Manufacturing

Paper tube and core manufacturing is a paper converting process combining web slitting, web winding and lamination or adhesive bonding steps. Through multiple wraps or revolutions of one or more paper webs or ribbons around a steel mandrel, several layers or plies of paper or paperboard are laminated together around a steel mandrel to form rigid, high strength tubes or fiber cores with paper core making machine.

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