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The Plastic Profile Extrusion Process Explained

Plastics are a popular raw material used in making a wide array of products, ranging from tubing to energy-efficient vinyl window frames. The plastic profile extrusion process is a comm­on procedure in the plastic-making sector because it’s readily available and easy to deploy. Many companies prefer handling plastics to other materials because petroleum-based products are easy to model. Read on to learn more about the profile extrusion process.

plastic profile extrusion processUnderstanding Plastic Extrusion

The plastic extrusion process is a straightforward procedure that involves melting down resin beads (raw thermostat material), filtering it and then designing it into a given shape. The rotating screw helps in pushing down a heated barrel to a given temperature. The molten plastic is passed through a die to give the final product its shape or profile. Filtering provides the final product with uniform consistency. Here’s a quick breakdown of the entire process.

Step 1:

The process begins by introducing raw plastic products such as granules and pellets into a hopper and feeding into an extruder. Colorants or additives are added if the raw materials don’t have some. A revolving screw facilitates the movement of raw resin through the heated cylindrical chamber.

Step 2:

The hopper’s raw materials then flow through the feed throat to a sizeable spinning screw within a horizontal barrel.

Step 3:

Different materials have different properties, including melting temperatures. As the raw resin passes through the heated chamber, it’s heated to its specific melting temperatures, ranging from 400 to 530 degrees Fahrenheit. The resin is thoroughly mixed by the time it ­gets to the end of the screw.

Step 4:

Before the resin is passed through a die to create the end product’s shape, it passes through a screen reinforced by a breaker plate. The screen removes the contaminants or inconsistencies that may be in the melted plastic. The resin is now ready to die as it’s fed into the cavity for cooling and hardening. Water bath or cooling rolls can help in fastening the cooling process.

Step 5:

The plastic profile extrusion process should be in such a way that the resin flows smoothly and evenly in the numerous stages. The quality of the final product depends on the consistency of the entire process.

Raw Materials Used in Plastic Extrusion Process

Different plastic raw materials can be heated and created into a continuous profile. Companies use a wide range of raw materials, including polycarbonate, PVC, recycled materials, nylon and polypropylene (PP).

Temperature Maintenance

Temperature plays an essential role in the entire extrusion process. Maintenance of the optimal temperatures is necessary to produce quality products. Failure to maintain the right temperature may minimize the uniform fluidity of the resin. There’s also the risk of the final product warping.

You can tell if the temperatures are not constant when pressure, friction and other variables start to develop in the extruder. It’s essential to keep an eye on the heater to ensure no increase or drop in temperature. You can manage the heat within the extruder by lowering, raising or shutting off the heaters appropriately.

Screw Design

The screw plays a crucial role in the plastic profile extrusion process as it facilitates resin movement in different stages. There’s no other moving part in the system. You should consider the design of this device as it determines the heating and feeding rates.

The melting rate, the resin size, the raw material type and the pressure required to maintain uniformity are crucial determinants of the diameter and length of the screw. You may even use two screws depending on the extruder you’re using to enable adequate mixing.

Products

Plastic extrusion is about using molten plastic to produce different shapes. The process can be used for industrial purposes or domestic uses. The technology can produce various products such as plastic films, medical packaging, hose mandrels, wire insulations, tubes and rods.

  • Electrical equipment

Extrusion is used in electrical products like the insulation of electrical wires. During this process, insulation is extruded around the wire when it’s pulled through the die. The wire must possess features such as abrasive resistance and strong electrical insulation capabilities. Insulation helps in preventing electric shocks and corrosion.

  • Profile shapes

The primary process used in the production of long cross-section shapes is extrusion. Most new homes today have vinyl slidings, developed using this procedure. The production of other profile shapes such as rain gutters and windshield wipers also uses the process.

  • Polycarbonate sheeting

Extrusion is used in the production of the impact-resistant glass replacement. Window glazing and machine guards can be made from polycarbonate sheeting. The sheeting comes in different thicknesses, depending on the purpose.

  • Solid shapes

Extrusion can produce solids in different shapes such as round, square or rectangular, and different lengths. Recycled plastics are ideal in the production of plastic decking and lumber. Extracted plastics are commonly used in fencing and outdoor furniture, such as benches. They’re better than timber because they’re weather-proof, splinter-proof and durable. You don’t have to worry about maintenance when you use these plastic pieces.

  • Pipes

Water and sewerage systems rely on extruded pipes in the form of PVC. The pipes come in different diameters depending on the need. For instance, the sewer pipes can be several inches wide, while others like taps have much smaller diameters. You can also get medical products like plastic medical tubes.

Benefits Of The Plastic Extrusion Process

Plastic extrusion has a multitude of uses in different industries. The procedure facilitates the creation of plastic products in different shapes and sizes. Some of the advantages of this procedure are discussed below.

  • One of the reasons why extrusion is widely used at the industrial level is because it has a high production capacity. Companies involved in the production of plastic products can scale without any difficulty.
  • Plastic extrusion is also cheaper than most of the other molding processes. It enables companies to manufacture different plastic products cheaply and sell them at lower prices.
  • In terms of design, this process offers flexibility that’s difficult to achieve with other molding procedures. You can get any shape from the molten plastic depending on the die used.
  • Extrusion allows for the production of a continuous profile.
  • Plastic products are recyclable. The plastic profile extrusion process not only allows for the manufacture of recyclable plastic products but also recycling of waste plastic products.

Get Plastic Extrusion From Experts

Petro Packaging Company Inc. is the best place for you if you’re looking for bulk orders of plastic extrusions and packaging solutions. We specialize in satisfying our clients’ varying extrusion and packaging needs. You can contact us or call us at 908-272-4054 even when you’re not sure what you want and we’ll be happy to walk you through the options.

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