While Hydro Cell bottles are made of stainless steel rather than aluminum, there are plenty of aluminum bottles available in the market. Are aluminum water bottles any good? Can they keep up with stainless steel bottles? This may make you think, how are aluminum water bottles made?
We're going to look into the process of creating an aluminum water bottle and see if this procedure makes the bottles as durable and convenient for storing liquids as Hydro Cell bottles.
How Are Aluminum Water Bottles Made?
To make aluminum water bottles, an extruding machine press stretches small pieces of aluminum into a long cylindrical shape. The insides get fitted with insulated material before being heated and solidified in an oven. The finishing touches include anodizing or spray painting the exterior with aluminum coating and chosen color.
An aluminum water bottle is an excellent alternative to using single-use plastic containers. However, this benefit comes from a meticulous process. Let's go deeper into how an aluminum water bottle undergoes a series of steps to ensure it can effectively store drinks.
Process of Manufacturing Aluminum Water Bottles
An aluminum water bottle needs to undergo an impact extrusion process to form the shape and include insulation materials. It also requires protective coating, exterior colors, and designs. Let's look into the step-by-step process of making aluminum water bottles.
1. Gathering of Aluminum Alloy
First, an aluminum water bottle consists of recyclable aluminum alloy, which is similar to those in beverage cans. This malleable material is also resistant to rust and corrosion.
2. Forming the Cylinder Using an Impact Extrusion Press
Impact extrusion is a manufacturing process used to form metallic containers with unique shapes. A backward extrusion process flows aluminum slug into several millimeters thick, then stretches into a long cylindrical shape.
A cold slug wall helps form the shape while a punch mechanism compresses the aluminum alloy confined in the container.
The press machine creates a stable sliding motion to ensure a smooth yet quick formation process. The machinery goes over the cylinder several times until the bottle's opening cuts to half the original diameter.
Necking is the process of placing a sleeve on the bottle's neck. Most manufacturers use a custom-engineered double-turret necker that can shape the aluminum bottle's neck into a narrow or wide mouth. This may extend the neck approximately 2 to 3 millimeters in length.
Despite the pressure, the carefully balanced pressing provides a threaded closure to the bottle's neck.
This process also puts an extra piece of metal to the top of the bottle to help the cap twist firmly in place. It's important the cap screws follow the measurements of the bottle's neck to ensure it can screw tightly and nothing leaks out.
4. Washing the Bottles
An automatic scrubbing station washes the aluminum bottles to remove metal debris and excess lubricant.
5. Lining with Polymer
After washing and drying the bottles, the next step in making aluminum bottles involves using a spray nozzle to incorporate high-tech polymer plastic. This process puts insulating material in the interior.
The powder polymer would solidify when the bottle undergoes a heating process at 365 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven for 10 minutes. This stage is crucial because the insides need an internal coating to prevent the raw aluminum from interacting with the bottle's contents.
6. Anodizing or Epoxy Spraying
There are 2 ways of adding a protective coating to aluminum water bottles: spray painting and anodizing.
- Epoxy Spraying: Once the polymer solidifies, the next phase is spraying the bottle with a sleek aluminum coating for a smooth yet rich metallic appearance. However, epoxy is more prone to scratching and peeling.
- Anodizing: Anodizing is an acid bath with an electrolytic process that thickens the aluminum oxide layer. This also serves as the aluminum's protective barrier for abrasion, corrosion, and rust.
About 8 million metric tons of plastic go to the ocean every year, with experts predicting that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 unless we make conscious and sustainable changes.
This is why the coating process is vital because it makes the aluminum bottles resilient, and consequently, more reusable than plastics.
7. Adding Colors and Designs
The worldwide reusable water bottle market expects a 4% growth from 2021 to 2028. The increasing threat of plastic pollution drives committed brands to offer consumers different options and styles of reusable water bottles to help save the environment and have a healthier lifestyle.
Depending on the manufacturer’s marketing efforts, the coating also includes full-color printing or adding personalized designs. These finishing touches give an aesthetic appeal that caters to various preferences.
- Screen printing: Screen printing uses an emulsion to transfer the design onto a bottle.
- Laser engraving: A high-tech laser etches design onto the bottle's surface.
- Pad printing: This printing method uses a giant stamp covered in ink to transfer a 2D design.
After spraying the intended color, it's time to place the bottles again in the oven to solidify further and ensure a smooth exterior. Once the bottles are cool and dry, all there's left to do is pack and deliver the items.
How Long Can I Keep Water in an Aluminum Bottle?
Most aluminum water bottles can keep drinking water cool for 24 hours and hot water for up to 6 hours. However, it's best not to store water for more than 24 hours, as you also need to wash the bottle to prevent bacteria and mold growth.
What Are the Benefits of Aluminum Water Bottles?
Aside from being reusable, aluminum water bottles are lightweight and generally won't rust. They also tend to be resistant to odor, shock, and deformation.
What Are the Disadvantages of Using Aluminum Water Bottles?
Among the most notable disadvantages of using an aluminum water bottle is that it tends to build condensation in the exterior when carrying cold drinks. This also means you can directly feel the heat when storing hot beverages. Besides that, aluminum water bottles are not suitable for dishwashers.
The production of aluminum water bottles involves an extruding press process that forms aluminum alloy into a long cylindrical shape. It also needs insulation materials and finishing touches, including protective coating, colors, and designs. This careful craftsmanship ensures you're getting quality aluminum water bottles for daily use.