Acrylics and the Extrusion Process

Getting great results from acrylic materials in the extrusion process simply means taking advantage of the innate characteristics that acrylic possesses. Understanding a bit about that process will help you to know if acrylic is the best choice for your next project. Read on for more information about how extrusions are accomplished using acrylic materials.

Acrylic requires the same basic extrusion process as many other materials. A hopper full of raw acrylic stock is placed just above the beginning of the extrusion processing machinery. This start of the process is common to a wide variety of materials as they are extruded. The materials in the hopper are released at a rate that is designed to assist in the extrusion process. At this point, the raw acrylic materials are spread out onto the belt at which point the extrusion process gets its start.

As the acrylic moves down the table, it is necessary to heat it to allow it to soften. To do so, the raw material is fed down into a tube using a shearing screw, which creates some heat through the friction of the process. This can be amended depending on the amount of heat required to melt the plastic down to the correct consistency. As the acrylic is heated, it turned into a soft state, where it can be molded.

Once the acrylic is the right consistency to take on the shape required, the stream of softened materials is generally pushed through a die. Dies are used to create standard shapes and can also be developed to modify acrylic extrusions into a specific size, depth and length. These metal pieces can withstand the heat from the plastic and cause the material to flow around and through it, leaving the acrylic in a new shape.

The final step in forming acrylic for extrusions is to cool and cut the pieces. Determined by the specs of the project, the acrylic stream is cut while it is still warm and then cooled to be prepared for handling, packaging and delivery.

Want to hear more about how acrylic extrusions are made? Call Extrudex today to learn more about custom acrylic plastic extrusion options.