Plastic extrusion is the process of creating plastic profiles and tubes by forcing melted plastic through a die. The process is used to create a wide range of products and component parts that are utilised for both industrial and domestic purposes. Due to the need to force these plastics into a shape, thermoplastics will be used, as they are the best type of material for melting down and cooling to form a rigid shape. Polypropylene and PVC are two of the most commonly used thermoplastics for plastic extrusion purposes. In this blog post, we take a look at a few ways in which plastic extrusion can be used.
Plastic extrusion can be used to create a diverse range of pipes and tubes. On one end of the scale, tubes can be extruded to transport large amounts of liquids or gasses, such as sewerage pipes or water pipes. Conversely, tubes can be created with a much smaller diameter to be used for things such as medical tubing or straws! Tubing is one of the primary products created by plastic extrusion and is one of the easiest types to produce, as the tube can be extruded to any length and cut to the size required. Extruded tubes can not only be designed to be a specific diameter but can also be produced to be thicker or thinner as required.
Depending on the type of plastic used, extruded tubes can be either rigid or flexible. This means that plastic tubes can be created to stay as they are for use in plumbing and sewerage, but can also be made to be more supple. More flexible plastic extrusions will be used to create garden hoses, medical tubing or tubes which move food, chemicals or gasses in a factory setting.
Cross-section shapes can be extruded in a variety of different plastic types to best suit the intended design. Profiles are shapes, as opposed to simple tubes, and can include such products as rain gutters, railing, and trims and seals for windows and doors. Co-extruded parts can also often be added to such profiles, adding another type of plastic to the extrusion, for example, rubber seals on window trims.
Extrusions do not have to be hollow tubes or profiles, but can instead be formed as a solid shape. Plastic planks and decking can be produced in this manner, as well as a variety of shaped bar stock for industrial or automotive use. Solid shape extrusion is particularly useful for creating outdoor furniture, such as benches or fences, as the plastic provides a weatherproof and largely maintenance-free alternative to wood and tends to last a lot longer.
The insulation found around electrical wire can also be produced using plastic extrusion. To achieve this, wire is passed through the die, and plastic is then extruded around it to form an insulating layer. Other forms of cable can also go through this extrusion process to ensure that they are weatherproof and safe from corrosion and abrasion, as well as to make them easier to handle.
Sheets and Film
Sheeting and film can also be extruded and can be used as part of window glazing, or as a protective screen. Plastic film can also be extruded to create plastic packaging, such as blister packs.
If you think that your business could benefit from our plastic extrusion services, then please get in touch to find out more information about what we can do for you! If you would like to learn more about these processes, then you can check out our guide to plastic extrusion or learn more about the different types of plastic extrusion processes!