5 Advantages of Plastic Extrusion
Extrusion is one of the most common processes used in the plastic industry. It has many manufacturing advantages, which have earned the trust and preference of manufacturers from all over the world. In particular, plastic extrusion is often considered one of the most economical manufacturing options. It combines high efficiency with less waste.
In this part of our wider series on plastic extrusion, we will review not only what we mean by “plastic extrusion” but also some of its main advantages. Of course, there’s not such a thing as the perfect process. So, we will also look at some of the disadvantages to take into consideration.
What is Plastic Extrusion?
Plastic extrusion is the manufacturing of raw plastic material into a continuous profile. It uses new or recycled plastic along with hear, often in high volumes. Plastic extrusions are then molded to a specific application shape, including plastic sheeting and piping.
During the plastic extrusion process, plastic materials are converted from solid to liquid and then reconstituted into finished products. In other words, plastic is first melted down and then reshaped into the desired item. Plastic extrusions are used widely and across a range of industries, including construction, manufacturing, transport, retail, and events.
The extrusion process is used to manufacture a whole variety of plastic products, including:
1. Electrical wires, pipes, tubes;
2. Collapsible tubes, gear blanks, aluminum cans, and cylinders;
Plastic extrusion is only one of the different manufacturing processes for plastics. Here’s the complete list:
o thermal forming
o solid-phase forming
Thermoplastics are used in a series of processes, including injection molding, extrusion, and blow molding. The methods of high-pressure lamination, reaction injection, and compression molding use thermosets.
5 Advantages of Plastic Extrusion
Extrusion is a method that can be used to produce all sorts of plastic items, from the simplest toys to the most advanced medical products. It is no wonder that companies of all sizes decide to rely on this method for their manufacturing processes.
Here are some of the main advantages of plastic extrusion:
1. Low production costs
2. High volumes at high speed
3. Easier post-production operations
4. More flexible design
5. Low impact
6. Consistent results
Let’s review each of them in more details:
1. Low production costs with continuous operations: the costs for materials and disposal for an extrusion operation are lower than with any other molding process. The reason is that the extrusion process uses thermoplastics, which can undergo different operations - from melting to molding and hardening - several times non-stop;
2. High production volumes at high speed: the extrusion method relies on a continuous plastic transformation process. This trait makes plastic extrusion a very efficient process where the mixing of the ingredients is also optimal;
3. Post-production operations: with plastic extrusion, you won’t need to waste time curing the extruded roll stock, which is automatically ready for thermoforming. In other words, since the product is still in a heated condition, it will be easier to perform all sorts of post-execution alterations. In particular, rollers, dies, and shoes can be used to alter the product while it’s still warm;
4. Design flexibility: plastic extrusion is a process that allows you to use a wide range of die profiles with different lengths and other characteristics. You can then create parts and products spacing from simple to more complex, including those with continuous cross-sections;
5. High versatility with a low impact: different types of raw materials can be used in the extrusion process. Plus, thermoplastics used can also be re-used several times, resulting in less waste and damage to the environment;
6. Consistent cross-section and finish: the surface finish of the extruded products is usually pretty good. Not to mention that you can obtain a consistent cross-section of the components you want to produce;
An extra advantage:
The plastic extrusion process can also allow for the option of co-extrusion, where two or more extrusion materials are fed at different speeds and widths into an extrusion head.
The co-extrusion method allows you to combine different plastics and compounds into a single product. This way, you can take advantage of the different properties of each material and create your preferred aesthetics.
3 Disadvantages of Plastic Extrusion
There are several advantages to plastic extrusion, but there are also a few disadvantages that must be considered:
1. Material thickness: the materials produced through plastic extrusion can only be extruded to a maximum thickness of 0.60”;
2. Limits to design: plastic extrusion can produce a wide array of products, but it still has its limits. For example, this method is not suitable for producing highly complicated parts. With plastic extrusion, you can manufacture parts with uniform cross-sections. Plus, you can only obtain one type of cross-section at a time;
3. High initial costs: setting up your extrusion machinery is an investment that might weigh on your budget at the very beginning. However, in the long term, it won’t take you long to retrieve the money you spent on the first setup;
When it comes to different manufacturing processes using plastics, extrusion ranks among the highest in demand. It’s no wonder that many manufacturers from multiple industries depend on advanced extrusion machinery. With the right plastic extrusion machine, there’s no better way to produce superior quality products.
As with all machinery, there are advantages and disadvantages to an extrusion machine. From reading this quick guide, we hope you learned both sides of what makes the extrusion process so popular and efficient.
Plastic extrusion is indeed such a versatile manufacturing process. By talking to an industry expert, you can find out which type of plastic extrusion machines best suits your needs. At Boyu, we have a wide array of plastic extrusion equipment, be it for flooring plastic extrusion or for meltblown extrusion.
Our machinery allows you to extrude profiles in a wide range of thermoplastics while saving a big chunk of your production costs. For example, our flooring production lines are perfect to be used in hospitals, home decoration, sports events, kindergartens, and all sorts of industrial applications.
Contact us to speak to one of our extrusion specialists and get started with plastic extrusion today!