What Is Plastic Extrusion? | Preferred Plastics

What Is Plastic Extrusion?

Have you ever wondered how composite windows, vinyl fencing, or freezer gaskets are made? These products and many others are produced using a high-volume manufacturing process called plastic extrusion.

An extruder is the piece of equipment at the heart of this manufacturing technique. Extruders consist mainly of these components:

  • A manual or vacuum hopper, which holds and feeds the raw plastic materials.
  • A long barrel with a screw-like mechanism that pushes the plastic through the barrel.
  • External heaters that help maintain desired temperatures inside the barrel.
  • A die that forms the profile of the plastic part being manufactured.

what is plastic extrusion

The Preferred Plastics Extrusion Process

The plastic extrusion process begins when polymer compounds and additives in the form of pellets, flakes, granules, or powders are continuously fed through a hopper into the extruder. The screw gradually moves these materials along the barrel, and in the process, enough heat is generated to melt the plastic compounds. External heaters help to maintain the desired temperature as the melted plastic moves through the barrel.

When molten plastic exits the barrel, it is forced through a die that shapes it into the desired profile. A cooling section helps to maintain the profile while the plastic sets and hardens.

Benefits of Plastic Extrusion

Plastic extrusion is continuous and capable of high volume output, making it a more economical plastics manufacturing method than other processes. In addition, tooling costs are relatively low.

Plastic extrusion works particularly well for the production of plastic parts that have consistent wall thicknesses, and for profiles that are wider and longer than those produced by other types of manufacturing. Plastic films, bags, piping, tubing, rods, weather stripping, and deck railing are just a few of the many products that are successfully and economically produced by plastic extrusion.

Custom Plastic Extrusion Capabilities

Preferred Plastics is an industry-leading custom plastics extruder offering turnkey extrusion and finishing services. Over the past 40 years, we have earned a global reputation for extruding high-quality plastic parts to the most exacting specifications. Our innovative extruding processes are supported by superior customer service and a commitment to producing parts that meet the highest quality standards and are delivered on time and on budget. Contact us today!

We offer:

  • Profile extrusions – custom shapes and sizes to meet the requirements for a wide range of industries and applications
  • Tube extrusions – custom tube profiles for a wide range of industrial and consumer applications
  • Co-extrusions – using two or more resins to manufacture parts that meet exacting performance requirements
  • Crosshead extrusions – providing reinforcement for the part or encapsulation of metal pieces within the extrusion


Contact Preferred Plastics Today

If you are looking for a plastics manufacturing method that delivers high quality, high volume, large profile capabilities, and good economy, consider plastic extrusion by Preferred Plastics. Contact our team today to request a project estimate: 269-685-5873.

Plainwell, MI

800 E Bridge St
Plainwell, MI 49080

(269) 685-5873

Louisville, KY

8301 Cane Run Rd
Louisville, KY 40258

(502) 935-3070