The Co-Extrusion Process
Co-extruded plastic comprises two different plastic materials or different colored plastics into one extruded plastic profile. In the standard extrusion process, raw thermoplastic is diverted around a screw and pushed through a die to create a custom profile and extruded out of the machine. The Co-Extrusion Process is similar to the standard extrusion process, with the main difference being the number of plastic materials and extruders being used to form layered or encapsulated parts. When co-extruding, the individual materials will retain their original properties, but they will be combined into a compound-material part.
With Co-Extrusion, correct and complementing materials must be used. Certain plastic materials will not work with others due to improper adhesion. However, this can be solved by introducing another layer of material between the original two. Many plastics have vastly different melting temperatures, making them unsuitable to be used with plastics that have a large difference in melting temperature due to degradation in the lower melting temperature plastic. Potentially violent reactions can also occur if using PVC and acetals, so it is best to avoid joining the two.
There are many benefits of using co-extrusion, but the biggest advantage is the ability to add different finishes, colors, and materials to one extruded profile. Co-Extrusion allows for a streamlined extrusion process involving a singular production line. This leads to lower costs associated with facility resources and time spent extruding, and increases productivity and efficiency. Co-extrusion adds additional functionality unavailable to standard single extruded profiles. By utilizing different plastics together, a profile can achieve increased stability, flexibility, or protection from heat or chemicals.
Co-extrusion applications are widely used across many industries. In the medical field, co-extruded colored tubing can be used to quickly identify what is flowing within. Co-extruded tubing is quite popular due to all of the added characteristics provided by the different plastics combined as well. Co-extrusion is also a popular method used in creating wood composite decking for similar reasons.
Reschcor is the industry’s leading supplier for quality, custom-engineered plastic extrusion manufacturing. We pride ourselves on our ability to create a custom solution for even the most challenging of problems. We utilize the highest level of care to assure that the features of all co-extruded plastic profiles are accurate according to our customers’ product specifications. If you are looking to partner with a company that puts the customer first, contact Reschcor today so we can learn more about your company and understand how we can help your business succeed.