extruded tubing

What is Extruded Tubing?

Extruded tubing is a type of tubing produced by forcing a material through a die. At the beginning of the process, plastic or metal material is heated, before being fed into a machine where it is melted and pushed through a specially designed die to create the desired shape and size of the tubing. The extrusion process can make a wide range of tubing shapes, including round, square, rectangular, and even custom shapes. No matter the size or shape, the resulting tubing is typically uniform in thickness and has a smooth, consistent surface finish.

It’s important to note that there are many different types of tubing, each with their own unique applications. For example, tubing can either be rigid or flexible. The type of tubing you use will depend on the specific application requirements, like the operating temperature range, chemical resistance, mechanical strength, and environmental factors.

Rigid Tubing

Rigid tubing can be made from a wide variety of materials, including plastics, metals, and composite materials. Some common materials used to make rigid tubing include PVC (polyvinyl chloride), HDPE (high-density polyethylene), LDPE (low-density polyethylene) acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, aluminum, and stainless steel.

PVC tubing is most commonly used in the plumbing and electrical industries due to its high resistance to chemicals and the ability to withstand high pressures. Polycarbonate tubing, on the other hand, is mostly found in the aerospace industry because of its high strength and impact resistance. Other types of rigid tubing can be found in automotive and construction applications, among others.

Flexible Tubing

Flexible tubing can also be made from a wide range of materials, including plastics, rubber, silicone, and thermoplastic elastomers. Some of the most common materials include PVC (polyvinyl chloride), polyurethane, latex, silicone, and neoprene.

Silicone tubing is most often used in medical and food processing applications because of its biocompatibility and ability to withstand high temperatures. Polyurethane tubing can also be found in many pneumatic systems because of its high flexibility and resistance to abrasion. However, you can also find flexible tubing in many other industries, like the automotive, consumer products, and industrial sectors.

Outside vs. Inside Diameter Considerations

When discussing extruded tubing, you must also consider the difference between outside and inside diameter. The outside of the tubing will always have a larger diameter than the inside — an important consideration, especially for projects that require tight tolerances. Unlike piping, tubing is always specified by its outside diameter, with the thickness defined by a gauge number.

Applications of Extruded Tubing

We’ve briefly touched on the applications of extruded tubing above, but here we’ll break them down even further to give you an idea of just how important these products are to a variety of industries.

Electrical Wiring and Cable Management

Extruded tubing is commonly used to protect and organize electrical wiring and cables in a variety of applications, from home electronics to industrial machinery.

Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables heavily rely on the extruded tubing industry. These cables are typically made of thin strands of glass or plastic that transmit light over long distances. They are designed to carry large amounts of data at high speeds, making them ideal for telecommunications and computer networking.


Extruded tubing is perfect for transporting liquids and gasses, making it a staple in the plumbing industry.


Catheters, IV tubing, and other medical devices all rely on this type of tubing to keep patients healthy and safe.


Tubing is used for fluid transfer in automotive systems such as fuel lines and brake lines. This tubing is crucial to the safety of consumers, and you must work with an experienced tubing manufacturer to ensure the wellbeing of the end-user.


Tubing is a big part in aerospace hydraulic and pneumatic systems, as well as structural applications in aircraft and spacecraft. As such, it must be of the highest quality to ensure safety.

Food and Beverage Processing

Tubing is often used in food and beverage processing applications, such as dispensing machines and beverage lines.


Extruded tubing can commonly be found in window frames, door frames, and trim.

Consumer Products

From toys to furniture and home appliances, extruded tubing is imperative to keeping consumers happy and safe within their homes.

Industrial Equipment

Finally, extruded tubing is used in various industrial equipment applications, such as conveyor systems and material handling machinery.

Other Applications

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the uses of extruded tubing, but it covers a majority of the big players.

Types of Extrusion and How They Affect the Process

There are various types of extrusion, and the process you choose will depend on your unique needs. We’ll go over the types of extrusion processes and help you determine which is best for your application.


Regular extrusion creates tubing out of one material. Usually, this tubing will either be flexible or rigid, depending on your need.

Co-Extrusion and Dual Durometer Co-Extrusion

Unlike extrusion, co-extrusion and dual durometer co-extrusion allow you to produce tubing with two different types of materials. If you need tubing with one rigid section and one flexible section, this is the best process for you.


Tri-extrusion allows you to create tubing with three different kinds of materials. You can achieve different finishes, colors, and combinations of rigid and soft materials in the same part.

Crosshead Extrusion

You likely won’t need crosshead extrusion for regular tubing, as this is meant to encapsulate a metallic wire or strip into a plastic profile. However, it is a type of extrusion, and is important to include here.

Work with Custom Profile for Your Extruded Tubing Needs

When you need quality extruded tubing, turn to Custom Profile. With more than 30 years of experience providing a variety of profile extrusion services, we are the best choice for your tubing needs. We partner with some of the biggest companies across North America to design, develop, and manufacture pieces for various applications.

At Custom Profile, we’re focused on providing high-quality products and the best customer service. With three robust locations, state-of-the-art equipment, and an ISO certified class 8 clean room, we’re ready to take on everything from a small prototype trial to a large production run.

Let’s Get Started

Reach out to our team for a custom quote today.