What is Profile Extrusion?
Plastics play a pivotal role in making daily tasks better, healthier, and safer. They are used to make bicycle helmets, child safety seats, and automobile airbags. These materials are also found in cell phones, televisions, computers, and other electronic equipment. Additionally, plastics are a part of the roofs, walls, floors, and insulation that improve building efficiency, and the packaging that helps keep food safe and fresh.
One way that plastics become the products we use every day is the profile extrusion process. This process is a high-volume, low-cost, and incredibly efficient method of plastics manufacturing.
Profile extrusion explained
Plastic profiles come in a wide array of forms, which consumers might just call plastics products. No matter the name, every plastic item we use begins as raw material called resin. In the extrusion process, resin beads are melted down, filtered for uniform consistency, pushed through a die to obtain the final product shape, and then cooled. While the process may vary from one situation to another, here’s a basic breakdown:
- Raw plastic is fed into a hopper, along with any colorants or additives.
- The beads flow from the hopper down through the feed throat, which dispenses them onto a large spinning screw operating within a horizontal barrel.
- The beads pass through the barrel on the screw while being heated to the melting temperature specific to that plastic type. By the time it reaches the end of the screw, the plastic is thoroughly mixed.
- At the end of the screw, the extruded plastic flows across a screen and breaker plate, which serve two functions. The screen removes any contaminants or inconsistencies in the plastic, and the breaker plate changes the motion of the plastic from rotational to longitudinal.
- The plastic flows smoothly and evenly from the cylindrical profile of the extruder into the die, which is often but not always the shape of the final product, where it cools and hardens. The newly formed plastic might receive a sealed water bath to speed up the cooling process.
Profile extrusion benefits
Whether it’s hundreds of yards of tubing or thousands, profile extrusion is one of the leading ways to produce plastic parts. It offers a range of advantages, which include:
- High production throughput
- Low tooling costs
- Inexpensive process
- Product combinations possible
- Design freedom
The profile extrusion process is incredibly versatile. Operators can create products with complex shapes of varying thicknesses, strengths, sizes, colors, and textures. Additionally, additives make it possible to improve the performance characteristics, such as durability, fire resistance, and anti-friction or static properties.
Profile extrusion uses
- Recreational products
- Water and wastewater
- Sealing sections
- Window profiles
- Decorative trim
- Cooler bumpers
- Modular drawer profiles
The profile extrusion experts
The role of plastics in society has never been more influential. Changing consumer habits are driving demand for more affordable, lightweight, and resilient products. Preferred Plastics is passionate about leveraging the benefits of the profile extrusion process to make better-performing plastic parts.
We are an industry-leading custom plastics extruder offering turnkey extrusion and finishing services. Our team can manufacture standard and custom extruded plastic profiles for just about any application.
If you’re looking for a fabricator of high-quality extruded plastic profiles, Preferred Plastics is here to help.
Give us a call to learn more about the profile extrusion process.