Many products are created through profile extrusion, including PVC pipes, drinking straws, commercial components, window trimmings, and so much more. This manufacturing process can produce solid and hollow products by melting plastic and shaping it into a continuous profile or shape, finally cutting it to length.
Profile extrusion is a high-volume manufacturing process, meaning you can create high-quality parts in a short timeline. The process is well known for its minimal waste production, lower cost, fast turnaround times, and versatility with many raw materials. It also allows for certain properties to be achieved, such as fire resistance, durability, chemical resistance, and heat resistance.
So, how exactly does the profile extrusion process work?
The Profile Extrusion Process
To start the profile extrusion process, raw plastic pellets are fed into the hopper or extruder. The rotating screws within the machine move the plastic through the heated barrel that is set to its specific melting point. After the plastic is melted, it is filtered and fed into an extrusion die that is in the shape of the desired product. If the product is meant to be hollow, a pin/mandrel is placed in the die, and air is sent through the middle of it to keep the product hollow.
After the product is extruded, it is run through calibrators and is cooled under water. Once fully formed after cooling, the product is cut to the desired length. After it is cut, the product may need to be assembled and finished. This can include thermoforming, off-line punching, metal embedment, ultrasonic welding, custom packaging, kitting, and routing.
Types of Profile Extrusion and Their Processes
There are four primary types of extrusion processes, each of which serves its own purpose and has its own benefits.
This extrusion method simultaneously extrudes two or more different compatible metals or plastics through the same die. This allows each material to maintain its desired characteristics, such as rigidity, flexibility, or resistance to heat or chemicals. Co-extrusion is generally used to create fences, handrails, food and cosmetic containers, packaging, and plastic insulated wires.
Dual Durometer Co-Extrusion
Dual durometer co-extrusion fuses two materials with different areas of hardness together by extruding the two materials through the same die. This allows the product to have structural integrity and flexibility. Products that are created through this extrusion method include window and door seals, appliance seals, and other industrial applications.
The process of tri-extrusion simultaneously extrudes three different, yet compatible, metals or plastics through the same die. Each metal or plastic retains its original properties, however, they will combine into a compound part. This process is great for creating medical devices, medical catheters, and more.
During this extrusion process, a metal or wire material is crossed with melted plastic, creating a plastic-coated metal or wire product. As the plastic is melted, the chosen metal crosses with it and they are extruded together and left to cool. Crosshead extrusion is particularly useful when manufacturing coated cable and wire, gaskets and seals with metal, and profiles that require support.
Trust the Experts at Custom Profile with your Profile Extrusion Processes
Our profile extrusion services are a high-volume, low-cost, efficient way to create a wide range of plastic products for a wide range of industries. We offer co-extrusion, dual durometer co-extrusion, tri-extrusion, and crosshead extrusion services for numerous industries, like construction, lighting, and medical.
For over 30 years, Custom Profile has wanted to ensure that all of our customers get the exact product they need and want. Not only do we offer profile extrusion, but we also offer tubing, in-line operations, assembly and finishing, and tooling services. Our team of experts will work closely with you to ensure your product meets all of your requirements and is of the highest quality.
Contact us today to see what we can do for you.