- Gokhan Aktas
How are decorative tin cans manufactured?
As a custom tin manufacturer, we get a lot of calls and emails for all kinds of metal packaging. If we aren’t manufacturing a certain product, we direct them to companies that do. For everything else, we try to come up with a solution. Most of the time, we have to describe parts of our production process to our clients so that they can understand our capabilities and limitations. If you are here, you must be interested in tins and a brief description of our process would probably be beneficial to you as well.
The first step in our process is actually getting the raw material, tinplate. We only use premium tinplate with certain specifications and we very rarely change suppliers. That gives us a similar performance and a similar look in every job which is very important for fancy tins. We buy our tinplate in coils and they are cut into specific dimensions for each project to minimize the scrap rate.
Once the raw material arrives in our plant, we go into printing. There are three parts of a tin can; lids, bodies, and ends, and several of those are placed on the tinplate. First, we apply a food-safe lacquer on one side of the tinplate and then we apply a white base on the other side. These processes take place on our lacquering line. Afterward, the colors are printed over the white base on our offset printing press. We need to print a certain quantity of tinplate to achieve good quality and that is why we have a minimum order quantity. After colors are printed, a glossy or matt lacquer is applied over them on our lacquering line again. With that, the printing is finished.
Now the printed plates can be transferred over to canmaking process. Slitters are used to cut the tinplate into smaller plates of individual bodies and strips of lids and ends. These strips are then fed into multiple presses to be formed into individual lids and ends. If there will be hinges or embossings, this is where they are performed as well.
Flat plates of individual bodies are processed in the canmaking line. This production line has many machines performing different processes. First, the small plates are formed into bodies with a side seam. Then the sharp edge on top of bodies are curled in to prevent injuries and the ends are seamed onto the bottoms. Lids are placed on the tins and then they are packed into cartons, onto pallets, or both depending on the product and where it is going.
Generally speaking, this is how we manufacture customs tins. Machinery, toolings, and line setups change all the time as we manufacture so many different shapes and sizes in various quantities, and depending on the project, you can see machines ranging from manual to fully automatic. One thing that doesn’t change is, we always look for ways to improve our production.
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