How Does Plastic Extrusion Work?
Much like any other form of extrusion, plastic extrusion begins by passing raw plastic materials and any additives (like chemical supplements for UV resistance) through a heated chamber or heated zones. Sometimes, heat is not needed, and the raw materials are melted through friction and pressure at the beginning of the manufacturing process.
After reaching the breaker plate, which removes impurities, creates back pressure and straightens the plastic, the molten material is pushed through a die to be shaped into the profile of your product or part. These dies can be any shape or pattern desired, depending on the kind of product you want to create. The Bonnot Company has an entire R&D facility dedicated to developing the right die and extrusion solutions for your unique needs.
Cold feed extrusion and plastic injection molding are also methods that can be used to create plastic products. Cold extrusion can be performed using a plastic extruder machine, while injection molding forms products by clamping together two hollow cavities and allowing the plastic to cool and harden.
Check out the video below to see a Bonnot plastic extrusion machine in action.
Which Plastics can be Extruded?
Several kinds of plastic can be extruded, although varieties of thermoplastic are used most often since they can withstand extreme changes in temperature without losing quality. Commonly extruded plastics include:
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): A durable, corrosion resistant plastic used for bottles, piping and plastic lumber.
- Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): A durable and flexible plastic that is resistant to both basic and acidic chemicals; it’s commonly used for dispensing bottles, plastic bags and computer components.
- PETG: Also known as polyester, this plastic resin is used to make food and beverage containers.
- Polypropylene: A popular thermoplastic polymer with great thermal and acid resistance; it’s used in the automotive industry, consumer packaging and more.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Also simply known as vinyl, this insulating plastic is used for electronics parts, the home industry, piping and more.
What Products can be Created with Plastic Extruders?
Just about any industry you can think of benefits from extruded plastic products in some way: automotive, industrial, food and beverage, medical, chemical processing, plumbing, electronics, water treatment and more. These are only a few of the almost limitless products that could be reated using a Bonnot plastic extruder.
- Cross-Sectioned Pieces: Extrusion is used to create common profile shapes like windshield wipers and vinyl siding for home construction.
- Hollow Pieces: Hollow plastic tubes such as industrial piping and drinking straws can be easily and efficiently made using a plastic extrusion machine.
- Insulated Wiring: To protect delicate electrical filaments from damage, plastic insulation can be extruded around them. Plastic can keep wiring safe from liquids, gases and other corrosive elements it may come in contact with, while also giving the wires greater flexibility.
- Plastic Sheet: Acrylic and polycarbonate can be extruded in thin sheets as a replacement for glass; both are often used for commercial glazing applications on commercial properties.
- Solid Pieces: Large pieces of solid plastic can be extruded for plastic lumber applications, such as park benches or other structures that need to be resistant to water and other elements.