How are Aluminium Cans Made?

Before becoming the aluminium cans we’re familiar with. There are production processes they must go through. Ever wondered how the aluminium cans holding your drinks are made? What’s the production process they go through? Let’s dive into it together in this article.

Starting from the raw material preparation like Aluminium Coil, which is over 69% recycled aluminium melted, cast into logs, and then rolled into sheets, these aluminium rolls then undergo several steps before being sent to the can manufacturing plants.

The production process of aluminium cans is divided into 2 main parts: the can body and the can end, each with its separate production process, which are then assembled after the drink has been filled.

Production process of the aluminium can body
  • The Aluminium Coil is fed into an Uncoiler machine to unfold the aluminium sheet from the roll. Then it goes through a process where a Food Grade lubricant is applied to aid in the cutting and forming process of the Cupper Press machine.
  • The Cupper Press starts the can forming process, a key part of aluminium can production. It’s different from other metal packaging that usually has three parts and requires welding the components together later. Aluminium cans only have 2 parts, and the forming process begins by cutting the aluminium sheet into a round shape and then forming it into a cup shape. The leftover aluminium from this process is recycled.
  • The formed can base is then moved to a process where it’s stretched to achieve the desired thickness and height. The top of the can is trimmed to make it even, and the bottom is pushed inwards to form a dome shape to increase the can’s strength. This dome structure can support weight well, allowing it to withstand the pressure from the beverage inside. This also saves on the amount of aluminium used because there’s no need for additional aluminium to reinforce the can’s strength.
  • Once the cans have reached the correct height through stretching, they undergo a 7-step cleaning process, starting with 2 chemical washes, followed by a rinse with water, then a specific coating for products like beer, retort, and energy drinks, another rinse with water, and finally a wash with RO (Reverse Osmosis) filtered water to ensure the cans are clean and hygienic. The cans are then coated with a Food Grade lubricant to make their surface slippery before being dried.
  • Next comes the printing process, where designs can be printed seamlessly 360 degrees around the can, with the ability to print in 6 colors simultaneously. This is followed by an external coating to prevent scratches and enhance the can’s shine, and then the cans are baked to dry the paint.
  • In addition to the external coating, the inside of the aluminium cans is also sprayed with a special type of coating, such as BPA free or BPA NI (Non-intent), to prevent reactions between the beverage and the metal. The cans are baked again to ensure the coating is thoroughly dry.
  • The top part of the can (the neck) is then narrowed to fit the can end, which will be sealed after the beverage is filled.
  • In the final step of the production process, all cans must undergo a leak test using a special light that can efficiently detect even the smallest leaks.
  • Cans that pass the leak test are then packed onto pallets to be sent to the beverage filling plants.

*Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical added to various products and food containers, like plastic milk bottles, where it helps make the plastic stronger and more flexible. BPA is also used as a lining inside canned food containers to prevent erosion and corrosion. However, BPA can leach into the body from food that’s been in contact with containers using this substance, causing various health issues, whether through inhalation (headaches, nausea), skin contact (redness, itching), or ingestion (nausea, vomiting), leading to various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

**BPA Free means the product doesn’t contain BPA, making it safe for consumers eating food from these containers. You can be confident that BPA Free containers are safe for food and drinks, and no harmful substances will leach into the food, even when heated.


Production process of the aluminium can end
  • The production process for the aluminium can end start similarly to the can body. The Aluminium Coil is fed into an Uncoiler machine to unroll the aluminium sheet, which then goes through a lubrication process with Food Grade lubricant to ensure smooth forming. It’s then taken to a Shell Press machine to cut the aluminium into the correct size for the can ends.
  • These can end sheets are then shaped to form a rim and sealed with a special adhesive to ensure a tighter seal when attached to the can body. They are then checked with a camera to ensure the adhesive has covered the rim 100% before being baked to dry.
  • Next, the pull rings and opening scores are added to the can ends to make them easy to open.
  • Every can end must pass a leak test using a special light that can efficiently detect even the smallest leaks.
  • The finished can ends are then packaged together for transportation to the beverage filling plants.

Aluminium cans and their ends are sent separately to the beverage filling plants and are assembled after the beverage is filled using a Can Seamer machine in an overlapped manner, ensuring a tight seal between the can body and the end.

Making each new aluminium can is not an easy task. However, aluminium can manufacturers are highly aware of consumer safety and experience, giving significant importance to every step of the production process.

Despite the numerous steps involved in the production of aluminium cans, the result helps significantly reduce the use of natural resources through 100% recyclable used aluminium cans, leading to new cans ready for use in an endless cycle, known as “Closed Loop Recycling.”

Thanks for the valuable information from Thai Beverage Can Co., Ltd.

– อาจวรงค์ ป๋องแป๋ง จันทมาศ, ทำไมกระป๋องน้ำอัดลมเป็นทรงกระบอก, 2019
– Mittwater, ระบบน้ำ RO (Reverse Osmosis) คืออะไร เรื่องที่ต้องรู้ก่อนการติดตั้งระบบน้ำอุตสาหกรรม, 2020
– Meriarts, BPA คืออะไร?, 2019
– Micronware, ไขข้อสงสัย ! BPA Free คืออะไรกันนะ, 2021