How Are Extrusions Made?

When clients order a plastic extrusion, unless they are familiar with the process, they may not understand how these parts can be processed so easily. Over time, the plastic extrusion process has changed and improved the different amount of parts and shapes that can be produced.

The overall process of plastic extrusion is one that makes channels in a plastic material. Different types of materials – from soft plastic to rubber materials to hard plastic – can be used to create different surfaces within an extrusion to suit the application. The type of material chosen can be coordinated during the engineering process and can be dependent on material availability, performance and cost.

The reason that plastic channels can be so easily constructed using the extrusion process is that it is a continuous process. Creating a channel means carefully selecting the materials that are going to be used for the process and then they are assembled in a hopper. These raw plastic materials are what will make up the eventual plastic extrusion. To get the raw plastic into the process, the hopper is placed above the conveyance channel. At just the correct rate, the plastic is released onto the belt at which point the processing begins.

To turn the plastic into a material that is soft enough to mold, the raw material is fed down into a tube using a shearing screw. The friction is usually enough to heat the material, although additional heating may be required to mold the plastic. With the heat, the raw materials are totally plasticized. Once the material has been plasticized, it is pushed through a die which shapes the plastic into the correct form. Dies can be standard or can be specifically designed to create a particular shape. Once the shape is formed, the extrusion is cut and cooled for packaging.

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