Plastic extrusion: What is it?

Plastic extrusion, often referred to as plasticating extrusion, is a continuous, high-volume manufacturing process where a thermoplastic material is uniformly melted and then compressed out of the shaping die. The thermoplastic material might be in the form of powder, pellets, or granulates. The pressure in screw extrusion is generated by the rotating of the screw against the barrel wall. The plastic melt takes on the form of the die hole as it exits the extruder and goes through the die. Extrudate is the term for the extruded product.

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An extruder usually has four zones:

Feed Zone

The flight depth is constant in this zone. The flight depth is the separation between the screw’s main diameter at the top of the flight and its minor diameter at the bottom.

Zone of Transition or Compression

In this zone, the flight depth begins to diminish. The thermoplastic substance is essentially squeezed and starts to plasticize.

The Mixing Zone

Once more, the flight depth remains constant in this zone. There can be a particular mixing device in place to guarantee that the substance is thoroughly melted and evenly combined.

The Metering Zone

Compared to the mixing zone, this zone’s flight depth is lower yet stays constant. Additionally, in this zone, the pressure forces the melt through the shaping die.

The Heat Transfer

The energy that is passed from the extruder motor to the extruder shaft is known as heat transfer. Additionally, the screw profile and residence duration have an impact on the melting of the polymer.


The powder’s internal friction, the screw profile, the screw speed, and the feed rate all contribute to this.

The Extruder Barrel

The temperature of the barrels is maintained by three or more separate temperature controls.

Pioneering Extrusion Machines for Plastic

In the US and Canada, there are several machinery available for making plastic extrusions. These devices are vital to modern civilization because they make it possible to produce a wide range of plastic items that are utilized in consumer goods, automotive, building, and packaging sectors in an efficient manner, fostering innovation and economic progress. Below, we examine a number of these top devices.

Extruders Davis-Standard DS-RE

Extruders from the Davis-Standard DS-RE series are renowned for their dependability and adaptability. Their versatility and ability to process a wide range of materials make them well-liked in sectors with a variety of plastic extrusion requirements. Davis-Standard is a prominent producer of plastic extrusion machinery, with its headquarters located in the United States.

Milacron Extrusion Machines in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Milacron manufactures a variety of extrusion equipment, such as profile and pipe extrusion machines, that are suited for certain uses. Their sophisticated control systems and well-known accuracy make their equipment highly sought-after by manufacturers in the US and Canada.

The PAK Series Milacron

High-performance plastic extrusions are commonly performed using extruders from Milacron’s PAK series. Because of their extensive customization choices and maximum energy efficiency design, they are the preferred alternative for companies looking to increase productivity and sustainability.

Berstorff Krauss-Maffei Extrusion Lines

Reputably, KraussMaffei Berstorff is a producer of superior extrusion lines. Their unique features, superior product quality, and reliable production make their machines a top option for a range of plastic extrusion applications.

Extruders from NFM/Welding Engineers, Inc.

With a focus on extrusion technology, NFM/Welding Engineers, Inc. provides a variety of equipment appropriate for different plastic extrusion processes. Their extruders are renowned for their accuracy, robustness, and superior engineering.

Note that the plastic extrusion market is always changing, so newer models and producers may have become more well-known after this page was published. It is advised that you examine manufacturer websites, industry-specific publications, or industry specialists for the most recent information.

Simple Screw Extrusion Method

The stored polymeric feed is combined with a variety of additives to increase the quality and processability of the final product before the primary extrusion process begins. These additives include stabilizers for heat, oxidative stability, UV stability, color pigments, flame retardants, fillers, lubricants, reinforcements, etc. A further aid in achieving the desired property profile standards is the mixing of polymer with additives.

An extra drying step is typically used for some resin systems in order to stop moisture-induced polymer breakdown. However, some materials may still need to be dried before being used, particularly if they were previously stored in a cold room and are now put in a warmer environment, which causes moisture to condense on the material’s surface.

The mixture is gravity fed into the feed hopper and through the extruder throat once the polymer and additives have been combined and dried.

The flowability of solid materials, such as polymer powder, is a frequent issue. There is a chance that material will occasionally bridge inside the hopper. In order to ensure a proper flow of the material, extra procedures can be used, such as intermittently injecting nitrogen or any other inert gas, to disrupt any polymer buildup on the feed hopper’s surface.

The substance descends into the annular gap that exists between the barrel and the screw. The screw channel binds the material as well. Frictional forces act on the polymer as it is moved forward by the screw’s rotation.

Usually, the barrels are heated with a temperature profile that increases gradually. The material is plasticized, uniformly mixed, and kneaded together as the polymer mixture moves from the feed zone up to the metering zone due to frictional forces and barrel heating.

Finally, the melt goes through a screen pack before reaching the extruder’s terminus. Any extraneous components in the thermoplastic melt are filtered out using the screen pack. Additionally, it prevents clogging of the die plate hole. After then, the melt is pushed out of the die to take on the form of the die. It cools down right away and is steadily removed from the extruder.

After cooling, other procedures can be carried out, such as flame treatment, printing, cutting, annealing, deodorization, etc. If the extrudate satisfies all product requirements, it will next go through inspection before being packaged and shipped.