4 min reading time
Story 199 – 1930 – Innovation Business model Products

Light metal tubes - also economical lightweights

The production of aluminium tubes remains an intermezzo

The forced concentration on light metals in the 1930s was the reason for the pipe production in the Vöhringen plant. These quantities remained small, customer requests with special requirements were met predominantly. At the end of the 1960s, the production of light alloy tubes was discontinued.

Wieland's entry into the production of light metal tubes in the 1930s was mainly due to the centrally planned targets of the Nazi regime: In an effort to become as independent as possible from raw material imports, the government opted for the use of aluminium. While considerable capacities were developed in the sections and sheet sector at the Vöhringen plant, the production of light metal tubes played a rather subordinate role.

However, this new product branch led to the establishment of a first tube drawing plant in Vöhringen, in addition to the foundry, press shop and wire drawing plant. Initially attached to wire drawing and mainly responsible for the further processing of the aluminium tubes produced in the extrusion plant, the workshop was moved to a specially built hall in 1942. In addition to light metal tubes for heat transfer, this was where mainly extruded profiles were finished. The term "tube drawing" was therefore not entirely appropriate.

From 1943 onwards, experiments were carried out with rolled light metal tubes together with Mannesmann – unfortunately without any significant success. After the Second World War, light alloy tubes continued to be produced in Vöhringen – mainly with so-called TRC tube rolling machines for cold pilgering. However, the quantities remained manageable: due to the high costs, mainly sophisticated products were produced in small quantities. In 1965 the monthly output of all TRC machines in the light metal branch was 6 tonnes. The plan to roll titanium tubes using the same cold pilgering process was quickly abandoned after initial trials.

In 1966 the chapter of aluminium tube production came to an end: As part of the complete reorganisation of the tube drawing department in Vöhringen, the TRC machines were dismantled. Two of them were then rebuilt in the new tube drawing hall – but two years later they were finally dismantled and scrapped.

The 1938 brochure clearly reflected the importance of light metal tubes: they played a rather subordinate role alongside profiles and sheet metal.