Metal Tube Suppliers

Special Metal Alloys are leading metal tube suppliers and we are globally renowned for our extensive knowledge and unprecedented contacts. We provide professional solutions to the aerospace, nuclear engineering, chemical, petroleum, architectural, construction and heat-treating materials industries.

Contact us for a quote online, call +44 (0)161 278 2386 or email sales@specialmetalalloys.co.uk.

The quest for tough and durable lightweight materials has led to a radically growing demand for metal tubes, especially in the automotive, construction, medical, defence, oil and petroleum, and nuclear industries.

The proliferation of manufacturers and distributors has made it essential for businesses operating in these industries to carefully discern and select metal tube suppliers they can trust.

How do you know which metal tube suppliers to trust?

We recommend several criteria to judge the trustworthiness of metal tube suppliers, to reliably and consistently meet the strict demands and standards of your industry and specific projects.

Expertise

The leading suppliers of metal tubing and pipes such as Special Metal Alloys, have a wealth of knowledge and experience in providing suitable solutions applicable to industry-specific projects. 

Expert knowledge and experience of metallurgy, challenges of the various industries, and supply chain demands, will contribute an immense amount of value to your distinct requirements and specialist metal tubing for large projects.

Network of specialist manufacturing mills across the globe

Your needs can seldom be adequately met by a single entity. The leading suppliers have a trusted network to offer customer-specific unique solutions.

A large variety of stock 

Each project differs and consists of a myriad of different tubing products of different shapes, sizes, specifications, grades, and materials. Items for a variety of applications and industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, and industrial, in various sizes. should be kept in stock or be quickly accessible and delivered from industry partners.

Suppliers like Special Metal Alloys also have focused on specific industries, commercial, and military markets. 

One-stop solution 

It is great if you can buy exactly what you need off the shelf, but in the real world, you need customised work done, such as laser or saw cutting service, bending, rolling, and welding. 

You will also need advice and supply of appropriate fittings and accessories from your trusted supplier.

Reputation

Select suppliers with an established track record of customer satisfaction, reliable service, timely delivery, highest quality materials, and affordable prices.

What is a metal tubing?

Metal tubing is made from different metals, or metal alloys, in different shapes, sizes, wall thicknesses, diameters, etc. according to the applications and requirements of each industry and specialist project. 

The major groups are classified according to their metallurgical structures, shapes, sizes, finishes, features, or performance specifications.

What are the different types of metal tubes? 

Selecting the correct metal for the specific purpose is one of the most important factors in ensuring relevance and correct application.

Some metals offer exceptional strength-to-weight ratios, while others will excel at chemical and corrosion resistance, thermal stability, or rigidity.

Aluminium tubing

It is exceptionally light, yet strong and highly resistant to corrosion and absorbs heat well. To enhance specific qualities, it can be alloyed with zinc, copper, silicon, manganese, or other metals.

It is perfect for temperature control applications like solar power, refrigerators, and air conditioning systems. hydraulic systems, braces, fuel lines, and frames.

Copper tubing 

Copper tubing is made from a pure, non-ferrous metal that naturally occurs in the earth’s crust. It is highly corrosion-resistant with excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. 

It is highly suitable for plumbing, heating, refrigeration, HVAC systems, and transporting hot and cold liquids.

Brass tubing 

Brass tubing is made from an alloy of copper and zinc to attain greater strength, corrosion resistance, aesthetics, and electrical conductivity.

It is often used in hardware, plumbing, radiator, gas, air, and hobby applications.

Bronze tubing 

Bronze tubing is created by alloying copper and tin for good toughness, tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and electrical and thermal conductivity. To enhance the desired qualities, it can be further alloyed with phosphorus, manganese, aluminium, or silicon.

The different bronze alloys are mostly used in the boat industry, as component parts, heat distribution systems, or as an alternative for copper pipes.

Stainless steel tubing 

It is made from steel alloyed with chromium, silicon, nickel, carbon, nitrogen, and manganese.

It has remarkable corrosion resistance, chemicals and other aggressive fluids, tensile and pressure strength, sanitary and aesthetically appealing.

Some specialist stainless steel tubing is known as duplex, lean duplex, or nickel alloys.

It is one of the most commonly used metal alloys, suitable for chemical and high-temperature applications, medical purposes, the pharmaceutical industry, the food and beverage industry, and decorative and design purposes.

Steel tubing 

Steel tubing is usually made from an alloy of iron and carbon. It is highly durable and strong with a high resistance to heat, abrasion, and knocks. It can also be alloyed with other metals to improve specific qualities or it can be coated with zinc, creating galvanised steel tubing with greater corrosion resistance.

Steel tubing is commonly found in structural applications, transport of fluids, gasses, and liquid waste, as components of industrial machines, hydraulic lifts, and mills.

Titanium tubing 

It can either be provided as extremely expensive commercially pure lightweight titanium with exceptional strength and corrosion resistance, or alloyed with other metals such as aluminium, and vanadium.

Titanium’s low density means it weighs less than half what steel tubing weighs, but with its strength multiplied, making it the metal tubing of choice in a diverse range of applications, including in aircraft, shipping, hydraulics, marine, nuclear plants, and the medical, chemical and petrochemical industries.

Sizing 

Arguably the next most important consideration when selecting the appropriate metal tubing is the dimensions required for the particular project. 

The various applications require different inside and outside diameters, wall thickness, lengths, and fitting into inaccessible or limited spaces. 

For example, transporting bulk liquids will require mega tubes, while for medical purposes they can be almost microscopically small, each presenting its own challenges because some metals can be formed in smaller dimensions but not large proportions, for instance.

Shape

The shape in which metal tubing is manufactured may be important for various reasons, like rigidity, free flow of liquid or air, etc. Metal tubes are therefore manufactured in a variety of shapes, including round, square, rectangular, oval, hexagonal, or customised shapes. 

For some applications, metal tubes need to be coiled, spiralled, finned, or fluted, while other applications require straight lengths from a few metres to ultra lengths. 

  • Round tubing is widely used in structural and industrial environments, such as columns, scaffolding, and automotive frames, to transport liquids and gasses, in heating or cooling apparatus and appliances, or in plumbing.
  • Rectangular tubing is found in several environments, including construction, industrial applications, engineering and more. 
  • Square tubing is commonly used in the manufacturing and construction industries, as steel fencing, rails, security gates and doors; and many others.
  • Oval tubing is often used in tight spaces and is popular for its aerodynamic and decorative qualities.

Finish

Some metal tubes may need to be processed to a bright finish, while others need to be galvanised, painted or plated. As an example, certain applications will require a perfectly smooth inner or outer surface to minimise friction, abrasion, and resistance, or it may need to be non-reflective, decorative, etc.

Not all metals can be finished in the same manner and when this is an important factor, it may be necessary for the inner or outer surfaces of the tube to be finished by polishing, anodising, galvanised, powder coated, painted, or plated in a certain way. 

Important features of metal tubing

Flexibility

For some applications, the tubing has to be flexible enough to coil in long continuous runs in either a wrapped reel or spring format.

Heat dissipation 

Especially in applications like heat exchangers, refrigeration, and air conditioning, cooling, metal tubes with characteristics like malleability, conductivity, heat retention, heat dispersion, weldability, etc., is required. Some types of tubing have fins or flutes formed or attached to the exterior surface to increase the surface area for quicker dispersion of temperature.

Tubing has fins or flutes formed on the exterior surface which greatly increase the surface area for heat dissipation. This is particularly important for tubing used in heat exchangers, refrigeration, and air conditioning applications.

Multi-layered metal tubing 

Used in particular for transporting or heating fluids, it is constructed of multiple concentric or matrix layers of the same or different materials, including other metals, and thermoplastics, for sealing and insulating the metal tube. 

Sterilizability

Metal tubing used in the medical, chemical and pharmaceutical industries in particular, need to be sterilized by autoclaving, dry heat, gamma irradiation, and chemical disinfectants. Some metals will react adversely to these conditions.

Seamless or Welded tubing

  • Seamless metal tubes can withstand much higher internal pressure, making them imminently suitable for use in industries like aerospace, chemical processing, instrumentation, medical, shipbuilding, and oil and gas conveyance.
  • Welded Steel Tube is a more affordable option and is mostly used in industries such as construction, food and beverage, automotive, and civil engineering.

Re-Drawn & Precision Nickel and Stainless Steel Tubes

When non-standard sizes,  thin-walled, or a tightly toleranced welded or seamless stainless steel or nickel tube is required, it can be manufactured by Special Metal Alloy’s specialist mill partners on short lead times.

Performance Specifications

Metal tubes can also be selected according to the performance specifications required for the project or application.

  • Pressure rating for the maximum inner pressure the tube can withstand carrying fluids. 
  • Maximum vacuum pressure that can be created in the tube for use in vacuum systems and electronics.
  • Minimum bend radius rating is particularly important in the construction industry and determines the acceptable amount of deformation the tubing cross-section can tolerate.
  • Temperature range rating is particularly important when conveying fluids or gas in the tubes, including both the temperature of the fluids and ambient temperatures within which the tubes are used. 

What is metal tubing used for?

There are more than a hundred types and grades of metal tubes making it incredibly versatile. The different types are used widely in construction; industrial purposes; medical equipment; nuclear industry; oil, gas and petroleum industries; design, decoration, and ornamentation; and to manufacture automobiles and bicycles. 

Metal tubing in the aeronautical industry

Metal tubing is widely used for precision and high-performance purposes in aircraft for airframe and engine applications, fuel, oil, coolant, oxygen, instrument, and hydraulic lines.

Metal tubing in the nuclear industry

The nuclear industry is a harsh environment that requires a variety of pressure tubes made of stainless steel, titanium, nickel-alloy, carbon steel,  and copper-nickel tubes, especially for cooling systems and transporting corrosive or radio-active materials. This would include both low-pressure and low-temperature; and high-pressure and high-temperature tubes. 

Metal tubing in the mining industry

Steel pipes and tubes are used for a variety of unforgiving mining purposes, including casings, structural supports, ventilation and transporting liquids, gas, and minerals.

Metal tubing in the petroleum industry

Used in wells, petroleum plants, and for transporting gas, oil, or petroleum and other fluids, the petroleum industry uses a variety of metal tubes of different metals, but especially carbon steel.

Metal tubing in the oil drilling industry

Classified according to various features and qualities such as tensile strength, pressure and temperature rating, corrosion resistance, etc. steel pipes are indispensable in the oil drilling industry, in particular large diameter casings, tubing, drill pipes, and line pipes. 

Metal tubing in domestic applications

Tubing made from a variety of metals finds its way into homes as part of the design and décor, structural and functional elements, and in various appliances.

Metal tubing in industrial applications

Sanitation, transportation of drinking water or liquid wastes, and transporting gas are just some of the industrial applications of tubes and pipes. They are also components of industrial machines, conveyor belts, hydraulic lifts, and mills.

Metal tubing in the construction industry

Used as structural supports in walls, floors, and roofing, as well as in construction equipment such as scaffolding, stairs, hoists, etc.

Metal tubing in the automotive industry

It is used in vehicle frames, suspension, fuel injection, cooling systems, and control systems. 

Metal tubing in the medical industry

In the health, pharmaceutical, and medical environments where sanitation and precision are some of the utmost requirements, tubing of various sizes, shapes, and metals, finds application in everyday items such as beds and rails, transporting oxygen and other gasses, and in highly sophisticated equipment such as surgical tools, stents, needles, spinal cages, and many more.

Contact Us

Special Metal Alloys are leading metal tube suppliers and we are globally renowned for our extensive knowledge and unprecedented contacts. We provide professional solutions to the aerospace, nuclear engineering, chemical, petroleum, architectural, construction and heat-treating materials industries.

Contact us for a quote online, call +44 (0)161 278 2386 or email sales@specialmetalalloys.co.uk.

29 Riding Fold Lane
Worsley
Manchester
United Kingdom
M28 2UR

Contact Us
Contact Us