First of all, what is plastic extrusion?
Plastic extrusion is the process of manufacturing raw plastic material into a continuous profile, usually in high volume. Using heat, “virgin” (new) or recycled plastic is formed into the desired shape. Plastic extrusion is used to make items such as piping/tubing, weather stripping, deck railings, wire insulation, fencing, plastic films and sheeting, and thermoplastic coatings.
Plastic extrusion can be done with a wide variety of materials, including nylon, ABS, rigid and flexible PVC, elastomers, and more. Depending on the material used, the plastic product can be either rigid, semi-rigid or flexible, as well as have any number of interesting properties. At Keller, we can even manufacture your profile using specialty materials, such as biodegradable plastics or glow-in the-dark ones.
In addition to “simple” or standard extrusion, we can offer you alternative manufacturing processes such as coextrusion or hollow profiling. These processes add even more available options to your extrusion project.
The exciting thing about extrusion is that, despite the fact it has been around for years, it is still evolving. That’s why we focus so much of our business on innovation—because there are always new methods, technologies, and materials out there to make use of, such as nanotechnology. We stay at the cutting edge of plastics technology so we can deliver the best product to our customers.
The Advantages of Extrusion
From the simplest toys to the most advanced medical products, plastic extrusion is viable for companies of all sizes for a few key reasons:
- High speed, high volume at low production cost
- Inherent versatility
High Speed, High Volume Production at Low Cost
The many production capabilities of plastic extrusion allow us to manufacture a high volume of parts both quickly and inexpensively. Combined with eliminated tooling costs and multiple machining centers, we’re capable of an even higher degree of cost efficiency and speed.
Unlike other forming technologies, the plastic extrusion process includes the option of coextrusion. Unlike a single-layer extrusion, coextrusion involves two (or more) extruders. With coextrusion, liquid molten plastic is fed from two extruders at different speeds and thicknesses into a single extrusion head. This then forms the materials into the required shape.
At its core, co-extrusion allows us to incorporate different plastic materials and compounds into a single product to meet various functional requirements ranging from UV treatment to glow-in-the-dark polymers.
As a process, plastic extrusion is incredibly versatile. This enables us to create products with complex shapes and varying thickness, hardness, size, color, and texture.