Due to the high caliber of finished products, custom plastic extrusion companies are in high demand. If you have never had the need for an extruded product before, you probably have a lot of questions. For a better understanding, a reputable plastic extrusion manufacturer follows a precise process.
Learning the Basics
Whether needing thousands of drinking straws or hundreds of yards of plastic piping, manufacturers rely on the extrusion process outlined below.
- Machinery – To facilitate the plastic extrusion process, the operator uses an extruder machine, which consists primarily of a barrel, hopper, screw drive motor, and screw drive.
- Raw Material – To ensure a high-quality finished product, the manufacturer uses raw thermoplastic material for the extrusion process. Typically, they use resin plastic such as PVC, polystyrene, ABS, polypropylene, and polyethylene.
- Die – The die is a type of mold that shapes the finished product according to the customer’s specifications. However, the die also allows for the even flow of the molten plastic. In most cases, dies are custom made based on the shape of the finished part or component. Because of that, the manufacturer may need more lead time before starting the actual extrusion process.
- Producing a plastic extruded part or component starts by placing raw resin inside of the machine’s hopper. At that phase of the process, the manufacturer can add additives to create unique applications, including colorants, UV inhibitors, and so on.
- Then, the resin is gravity-fed through the hopper’s feed throat down into the barrel. Inside of the barrel is a long screw that rotates, pushing the resin forward toward the die.
- While moving through the barrel, extremely high temperatures are reached to melt the plastic resin. Once the plastic melts, it moves toward the end of the barrel and is forced through a screen pack. Because pressure inside of the barrel is so high, the screen has a reinforced breaker plate that eliminates any contaminants in the molten plastic.
- From there, the resin moves into the feed pipe that leads to the die.
- After the resin enters the feed pipe, it goes into the die cavity. While in the die, the resin cools and hardens. If necessary, a water bath is used on the resin to speed up the cooling phase of the extrusion process.
At RPM Industries, we manufacture high-quality products and work closely with trusted plastic extrusions suppliers. To learn about our company and the services we provide, please call or visit us online.