What exactly are stock plastic extrusions?
According to Thomas Net:
Plastics extrusion is a manufacturing process that involves melting raw plastic material and forming it into a continuous product. Stock plastic extrusions are common sizes, shapes and angles of plastic that can be readily bought from an extrusions company. This is in contrast to custom plastic extrusions, which must be manufactured to the customer’s unique size and shape requests. Comprising a wide variety of merchandise, common stock plastic extrusion products are piping, tubing, window framing, plastic extrusion and wire insulation.
A Brief Overview of the Plastic Extrusions Process
Plastic extrusion begins when a rotating screw gathers small beads of thermoplastic resin, which may include additives like coloring, into an extruder. The resin melts down and the extruder forces the beads into a new shape, at which point a water bath cools them. When the plastic has properly cooled, the final product is removed from the die.
Benefits of Stock Plastic Extrusion
Manufacturers who choose to purchase stock plastic extrusions open themselves up to a number of benefits.
Fast turnaround: Since stock plastic extrusions are already manufactured at the time of ordering, shipment of your order is incredibly quick
Reduced workload: Ordering standard extrusions means one less in-house manufacturing step.
Large pool of suppliers: There are many companies offering stock plastic extrusions.
Large product mix: Supplier inventories carry virtually all of the most popular sizes, shapes, colors and applications.
Cost-efficiency: Because extrusion is a high-volume manufacturing process, large quantities can be purchased relatively cheaply
Buying Stock Plastic Extrusions
The numerous product categories of stock plastic extrusions allow buyers to tailor their purchase order to their exact needs. When buying stock plastic extrusions, products are typically broken up based on end-product classification. These product categories include:
Flat strip plastics
Plastic furniture profiles
Stock Plastic Tubing Extrusions
Plastic tubing is one of the more popular plastic extrusion products. Stock shapes of plastic tubing include round, square, rectangular and triangular. Furthermore, each shape is commonly available in “J,” “L,” “U,” and “Z” configurations. Stock inner and outer diameters of rounded plastic tubing traditionally range from 13mm to 50mm, while stock sizes of square, rectangular and triangular plastic tubing tend to run even larger, with external dimensions of up to 118mm being commonplace.
Angled Stock Plastic Extrusions
Angled stock extruded plastics are popular for corner protection in many construction applications. The product category is well-suited for applications such as DIY, display and exhibition. Right angle plastic is the most widely available product type and is typically offered in both sharp and rounded angle varieties. Common thicknesses of angled plastic extrusions generally range from 1.5mm to 2.0mm, and various options in stock colors and sizing should also be available.
Channeled Stock Plastic Extrusions
Three-sided stock plastic extrusions are called channels. There are several types of channeled stock plastic extrusions, including:
Clip-on channels which are used for quick assembly of construction products.
Single-sliding tracks have a shallow bottom and deep top section, which make this type of channeling well-suited for furniture manufacturing.
Double-sliding tracks, which are also used for furniture manufacturing, come in variations including T-shaped tracks and straight leg tracks.
Stock Plastic Flat Strip and Edging Extrusions
Specialty edging plastic extrusions such as radiused edges and lipped edges are widely available. Stock plastic edging extrusions can be purchased in a wide variety of lengths and thicknesses. Common edging widths include 12mm, 19mm, 25mm, 38mm and 50mm, and thicknesses typically range from 2.6mm to 3.0mm.
Stock Plastic Furniture Profile Extrusions
The furniture industry utilizes numerous standardized plastic extrusion shapes for applications such as sliding door tracks, panel joints and screen link profiles. Trunking boxes and wire management sections are popular types of furniture profile extrusions. U-channels and decorative profiles are still other extrusions in this product family.
Materials Used in Stock Plastic Extrusions
Choosing the right type of stock plastic extrusion material for your project typically comes down to rigidity. For applications that require a rigid plastic material, you should evaluate these plastics:
For applications that call for more flexible plastic materials, the following options are common:
EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate)
How to Choose a Stock Plastic Extrusions Supplier
To ensure maximum value, quality and satisfaction for your unique manufacturing needs, it is important to forge a partnership with a plastic extrusions supplier that provides the right level of resources. Things to consider when selecting a stock plastic extrusions supplier include:
Types of extrusion processes: Does the supplier offer sheet extrusion, blown film extrusion, overjacketing, coextrusion, extrusion coating and/or tubing extrusion?
Secondary operations: Would you like your supplier to provide additional services such as belling, cutting, drilling, foaming and packaging of your stock extrusions?
Color options: Do you need a specific stock plastic color?
Experience level: How long has the supplier been in the industry?
Costs: Are the supplier’s costs similar or better than comparable products from other suppliers?