All the Applications of Plastic Extrusion (2021 Guide)
The extrusion of plastic materials aims to produce finished products for industry or applications dedicated to the final consumer.
The extrusion of plastic materials is one of the most economically advantageous conversion methods, given the high productivity levels that can be achieved.
In the past, we have discussed the benefits of plastic extrusion. Today, we will talk about the various applications of plastic extrusion. Let's take a look!
Plastic Extrusion: Production Process
Let's start by briefly introducing the extrusion process:
l Plastic extrusion: Plastic is heated and pushed by a screw through a heated barrel.
l Molding: the plastic is pushed through a mold, which gives the part its final shape.
l Cooling: The extruded plastic is allowed to cool.
l Cutting: The continuous shape is cut into the necessary lengths.
Extrusion machines are relatively inexpensive compared to other industrial process machines such as CNC or injection molding, as they are less complex. They do not require high levels of precision. Since the shapes used in this process have simple shapes, their cost is a fraction of that of injection molds.
Similar to injection molding, extrusion molding is an almost continuous process, making extruded parts' prices very low.
Plastic Extrusion: Materials
Talking about the materials, almost all types of thermoplastics can be extruded. Some of the prominent examples include:
l Acrylic (PMMA)
l Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
l Polyamide (PA)
l Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)
l Polystyrene (PS)
l Polycarbonate (PC)
l Polypropylene (PP)
l Polyethylene (PE)
l Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Plastic Extrusion: Applications
Plastic extrusion is used mainly to produce plastic profiles or sections. The wide range of applications goes across many sectors, including:
The extrusion technique allows creating from a simple twine (as in polymeric compounds) to objects with even very complex geometric shapes.
In the case of two-dimensional productions, we consider thin films with compact flat plates of quite high thicknesses (e.g., 20mm).
In the three-dimensional, we move from profiles with simple geometric shapes (U to L to C, etc.) up to profiles for windows, characterized by numerous internal partitions useful for thermal insulation. The final product always has a longitudinal development.
Among the three-dimensional profiles with large surfaces, we find honeycomb sheets for greenhouses, engineered panels, and flooring. As for the window profiles, these also have many partitions inside, which make them structurally resistant and thermally insulating.
Thanks to the research carried out through the years by the producers of fossil polymers, we find the most suitable version for this technology within each family of polymers.
PC, PS, PMMA are the most utilized amorphous materials for mechanical or aesthetic needs. Besides, with PVC solutions, the resistance to external agents is an essential property.
Amorphous PET has recently found a place in the construction sector to produce compact corrugated and transparent sheets.
Among the semi-crystalline materials, PE is the most utilized to satisfy the need for chemical and mechanical resistance to cold.
PP is used for consumer goods. Some examples are tubes and honeycomb sheets for packaging, where the cost can also be a significant variable.
In the profiles for the thermal break of windows, we find profiles instead in PA6 or 66, reinforced with glass fibers that guarantee the necessary thermal and mechanical resistance.
To achieve a high standard of production, the equipment is as important as the raw materials.
If you are interested in streamlining and improving the efficiency of your plastic production process, you are welcome to contact us!