Plastic extrusion is the process of manufacturing plastic products with a continuous cross-section, such as pipes, curtain rails or plastic insulation for electric wires. The end “shape” that is created from this process is known as a profile. The manufacturing process of these extrusions is generally the same, except for one key difference: there are extrusions and co-extruded plastic extrusions. Mojak Plastics, based in Melbourne, Australia, explains the difference below.
Extrusion is a process in which plastic is fed into a plastic extruder, melted and pushed through a die – a specially-shaped piece of metal which gives the molten plastic a specific form. Simply put, co-extrusion is the process of pressing two or more materials through the same die to create a single piece.
Co-extrusion allows the manufacturer to use more than one type of plastic in the construction of a profile. This involves combining different plastics to produce layers, or to create a compound which combines the properties of its varying ingredients, depending on whether the plastic is merged before or after extrusion.
The end result can provide all sorts of benefits for a variety of industries. For example, in the vinyl fencing industry, co-extrusion can help tailor the end product for varying amounts of weather exposure, with plastic containing weather resistant additives layered over a different type of plastic that offers impact resistance. Another example can be found in the medical industry, where a piece of radiopaque plastic can be extruded into a catheter to improve its x-ray-ability without lessening its effectiveness as a catheter. This technology can also be used to insert a flexible hinge between two rigid surfaces, or create a seal or a functional tab on a co-extrusion profile.
Whatever your business, the Australian plastic custom extrusion specialists at Mojak can help design and produce co-extrusion profiles to suit a variety of applications and industry needs. Contact us today to get started.