Plastic Extrusion Tolerances

When you are considering ordering a custom manufactured part, one question that always comes up is the level of tolerance.  What is tolerance in manufacturing?  Tolerance is the amount of size away from the ideal that is acceptable in final production.  Simply put, it is the amount of play that the manufacturing company has where the product or part will still work the way it was meant without being too big or too small.

Each manufacturing industry has a different set of working tolerances.  This is due to the materials and processes being used to create the parts.  Even within a particular industry, in this case, for plastic extrusions, every different type of machinery and process can cause changes with tolerances.

One important point to remember is that tolerances are largely dependent on the material.  Overall, metal products tend to have much tighter tolerances than those used in the plastic extrusion process; which is an important characteristic to know during the design process.  In fact, most tolerances in the plastic extrusion industry are based on the raw material rather than the finished material.

When calculating tolerances for plastic extrusions, in addition to taking into account the characteristics of the raw materials, as well as how detailed the final design will be and any processing that may happen during manufacturing, such as creating hollows, holes or other spaces.

Cooling is also another aspect of the tolerance process that needs to be carefully calculated.  Some materials hold to their tolerances better than others, which will be determined by the rate in which they cool.

Need clarity on plastic extrusion tolerances?  Call Extrudex today for more information on how we can meet your budget, timeline and production tolerance needs.