2 Piece Vs 3 Piece Cans: Choosing the Right Packaging - Industrial Physics 2 Piece Vs 3 Piece Cans: Choosing the Right Packaging - Industrial Physics

Product Enquiry Cart

Product/s I am interested in

You currently have no products in your enquiry cart, please continue browsing and select more products.

Get a Quote

Continue Browsing


2 Piece Vs 3 Piece Cans: Choosing the Right Packaging

The two most popular can manufacturing processes dominate the industry. But which is right for your packaging needs?

Dating back to the 19th century, 3 piece cans are reliable and easy to produce. However, the more recently developed 2 piece can offers great benefits in terms of production and material consumption. So, which is the right choice when it comes to canning food and beverages?

The difference between 2 piece and 3 piece cans

A 3 piece can is created using a seamed body with an end and lid attached. A 2 piece can is produced by molding a piece of material into a body with an integral end, a seamed lid is then attached to close the can. Find out more about the manufacturing process in our guide to how beverage cans are made .

3 piece can pros and cons


  • Good rigidity
  • Easy to scale size
  • Can be adapted to different can shapes
  • Adaptable to a variety of different material types



  • Side and top seams equal higher material consumption
  • More potential weak points

2 piece can pros and cons


  • Excellent sealing
  • High production efficiency
  • Low raw material consumption
  • Straight-forward production


  • More limited material options
  • Need of specialized technologies, equipment and dies

Where 2 piece and 3 piece cans perform best

2 piece cans dominate in the beverage industry, thanks to the excellent sealing properties and the fact the manufacturing process particularly suits lightweight aluminum and alloys. These materials have the added advantage of helping beverages cool quickly. The beverage industry is changing quickly. Find out more about the drive for innovation and quality control in the industry in our recent report, The Thirst for Perfection in Beverage Fillers.

One big benefit to 2 piece cans is the fact that they have fewer seams, and therefore fewer potential weak points.

In food packaging, there is a more even split between 2- and 3 piece cans. The 3 piece design can offer a variety of easy opening options and typically requires less advanced machinery to produce. 3 piece cans are also used for industrial packaging, thanks to the simplicity and versatility of the manufacturing process.

Testing and precision in can production

In particular, 2 piece cans require advanced technologies and precise measurements to create optimal packaging, but all can production lines benefit greatly from a good QA testing regime. Can inspection is a multi-layered system, allowing you to measure and test cans pre- and post-production, to ensure integrity.

While a specialized system is needed to fully test each can type, there are many pieces of testing equipment that are common to both, including double seam and implosion testing.

Testing for 2- and 3 piece cans from Industrial Physics

Find out more about the beverage can testing products we offer or give us a call to talk through your requirements. Our expertise encompasses 2 piece and 3 piece cans as well as alternative options. Reduce wastage, save time and create a testing solution you can rely on.

With 50 years of experience in the beverage and canning industry, we can help talk through your needs and find the testing solution to suit your production lines and process. Get in touch to speak with our team.