Tips for ordering metal tubing

ERW tubesWe’ve all seen metal tubing in one form or another. It could be furniture, shop fittings, vehicle frames, handrails, or many other things. But, do you know how to order ERW tubes if you need them? You have to be specific here because there is so much choice. As one of the UK’s leading suppliers, we want to offer a little advice.

Start with the materials

You may think all you need to do is specify that you want steel tubes. However, that is not enough. There are actually lots of steels to choose from. It could be different alloys entirely or specific designations of an alloy. You need to think about the specific chemistry and the type of properties it will offer.


ERW tube is the most common type and is suitable for a huge array of uses. However, it is not the only option and there are times when you may want to look at alternatives. The thing to keep in mind is ERW has a weld seam. Alternatives like hot drawn seamless (HDS) or cold drawn seamless (CDS) may be better if the seams will create an issue. There is also DOM tubing which is a welded tube but one that uses a mandrel and dies to improve accuracy.


This is probably the easiest element to decide on. Do you need circular, oval, square, or rectangular tubing? Think about what you are using the tube for and which shape will be best for this. Ordering direct from us gives you more options here than many suppliers because we have our own mills.


It is often crucial that you choose the right diameter for your tubing. However, you need to keep in mind that the measurements can be different depending on the type of tube. When you choose ERW tubes the designation is usually the outer diameter (OD) plus the wall thickness. DOM on the other hand usually has the OD plus the inner diameter (ID).

Wall thickness

The thickness refers to the gauge of steel that has been used to create the tubing. You need to get this right for your application as it will affect things like the strength, flex, and stress tolerance. You also need to keep in mind that thicker walls are harder to work with.


A final thing you need to look at is whether you need standard straight tube or need to adapt it. Many projects will require some sort of bending, whether it is a gentle curve or a tight angle. You need to think about this when you order tubing.

There are some vital details to look at here. For example you must consider the number of bends, the degree of each bend, and the plane. These details can help you to decide exactly what type of tubing to go for.

Talk to us about ordering ERW tubes

Union Steel Tubes is proud to be one of the best manufactures of ERW tube in the UK. We have very high standards for quality and deliver excellent customer service too. In fact, we are an ISO 9001 company.

So, if you need to order ERW tubes for any kind of project, speak to us. We can help you through the ordering process, offering recommendations if you need any.