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The Can Making Process, continued

End and Tab Making Process

Different plants (machines) make can ends and tabs, and can bodies. There are four stages in making the end of a can:

Stage 1 - Blank and shell formation - A circular piece of aluminium is cut and the “countersink” and “pre-curls” formed. This makes the shell.

Stage 2 – Curling - A curler machine continues to form the pre-curl until the correct curl height is obtained.

Stage 3 – Compounding - A small quantity of compound or sealant is applied inside the curl. This ensures a pressure-tight seam when the end is attached to the can after it has been filled.

Stage 4 – Conversion - During the conversion process, the shell is put through a 'progression' where a bubble is formed in the metal to create a rivet. The end is scored (scratched), which allows the end to open around the scoreline (called the aperture).

At the same time, the conversion press is also manufacturing the tabs from a separate tab strip. Tabs can come in different colours, such as blue, green or gold. The tab is staked onto the rivet. This flattens the rivet and attaches the tab to the end.

During the progression stage, the end is also embossed with words such as 'Do not litter' and 'Please recycle'.

The finished end is then bagged, put on pallets and sent to the customer.

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