Equipment Strength and Application Status of Metal Container Manufacturing Industry in China，Application of Aluminum Can Materials。The origin of the aluminum can can be traced back to the United States, the largest producer and consumer of aluminum cans globally. In 2005, the United States produced approximately 130 billion all-aluminum cans, with consumption exceeding 100 billion cans and exports accounting for around 23%. The aluminum used amounted to over 2 million tons, constituting about 41% of its total production of aluminum sheets and strips (4.65 million tons). The industry was in a stable development phase, with an annual growth rate of 1% to 2%.
In the same year, Japan’s aluminum can production and sales volume reached approximately 440,000 tons, including 140,000 tons for can lids and pull rings and 300,000 tons for can bodies. The industry also experienced steady growth with an annual growth rate of around 2%. In Europe, the aluminum can production and sales volume was about 1.2 million tons in 2005, with South Korea and Brazil producing 115,000 tons each. Other countries and regions contributed around 100,000 tons. The annual growth rates for these countries ranged from 5% to 10%.
Globally, the total production of aluminum can materials has reached around 4.3 million tons per year, with can bodies accounting for 2.89 million tons per year and can lids and pull rings accounting for 1.41 million tons per year. While the United States, Japan, and Europe have entered a relatively stable development phase, China, Brazil, India, and other developing countries are experiencing high-speed growth. The global annual growth rate is expected to remain above 8%.
Currently, aluminum accounts for approximately 25% of the aluminum consumed in the packaging industry in the United States, representing around 40% of rolled products. All-aluminum two-piece beverage cans occupy over three-quarters of the total beverage can market, making up 80% of the beer market and 60% of the soft drink market. In Australia, aluminum used in container packaging represents over 28% of its total aluminum semi-finished product consumption. Aluminum cans account for 75%-80% of the beer can market and over 72% of the beverage can market.
The consumption of all-aluminum cans has stabilized in the United States, with a slight decrease, while Japan has experienced a relatively stable period with minimal fluctuations, showing a slight overall increase. Europe has entered a phase of steady growth, with an average annual growth rate of 5.5%. Developing countries such as China and Brazil are in a high-speed growth period, with an average annual growth rate of 17.5% in China. This growth is expected to continue until around 2010.
Quality Requirements for Aluminum Can Materials in the Container Packaging Industry in China
In China, the modernized cap production line uses coil material with 20 to 24 working positions, and the material width ranges from 1500 to 1550 mm. For block production lines, the sheet width is between 850 and 970 mm, with a cap material thickness of 0.27 mm. Currently, all pre-coated cap materials used in China are imported. There are approximately 50 companies in China engaged in cap production, utilizing both coil and block processing methods, with a total production capacity exceeding 40 billion pieces per year.
Production Characteristics and Quality Requirements for Pressure Vessels (Spray Cans)
The main production process for pressure vessels involves producing aluminum billets (aluminum ingots), high-speed extrusion of the billet to form the can body, edge cutting and trimming, internal and external painting, printing, doming, necking, and curling, followed by inspection and packaging. To produce high-quality aluminum cans, high-quality aluminum billets are essential. In the high-speed automatic production line for can manufacturing, from the entry of the aluminum billet into the cavity to the exit of the can body, the process is enclosed and rapid. It demands special deformation properties, meaning that the extruded can body must undergo three stages of work hardening without breaking. Additionally, the can body should be free from defects such as inclusions and porosity, and specific deformation pressures (≥1.2 MPa) and burst pressures (≥1.4 MPa) should be withstood.
Therefore, stringent requirements are imposed on the material, necessitating excellent plastic formability, low planar anisotropy, low earing rate, suitable hardness (HB19±2), and a fine grain structure (100–130 grains/mm²). It is evident that the production of aluminum billets for pressure cans is a high-tech process with significant processing challenges.