Today, there are many common items that are made into a certain custom shape. With the advantages of technology, manufacturers are able to produce a lot of inventions and conveniences today using custom extrusion. These common items include rain gutters, straws, and PVC pipes, to mention a few. Using this kind of technology allows many advantages and benefits not just for manufacturers but also for individuals.
What is Custom Extrusion?
Before anything else, you need to know what exactly extrusion is. Extrusion is the process of forming objects by pushing materials such as plastic or aluminum onto a mold to form a particular shape. Custom extrusion is an extrusion that is bespoke to form certain shapes and materials.
Usually, the best material for custom extrusion is aluminum. This is because aluminum has a property that resists corrosion. On top of that, when you use aluminum with another kind of metal, you will get something called galvanic corrosion. Forming an electrolytic bridge from putting two different metals in contact and aluminum being a noble metal, it gets susceptible to galvanic corrosion.
Extrusion can be done either continuous for long material or semi-continuous for producing a lot of pieces. The process can also be done either cold or hot. Aside from aluminum, some of the other common materials used include molding clay, concrete, ceramics, polymers, metals, ceramics, and other materials. Learn more about custom extrusion, and you will be astonished by the technology.
What are the Types of Extrusion?
There are a few types of extrusion that you can customize to make custom extrusion, and here are just some of them.
1. Cold Extrusion
During cold extrusion, the material used for extrusion is being extruded below the recrystallization temperature. This is usually at room temperature. The process is used to shape cold metal by striking the slug. Because you must strike the billet or slug, the act of striking will force the metal to go upwards right around the strike. This is usually used for impact extrusion, extrusion pressing, cold forging, and cold pressing.
While this process is going on, deformation heating needs to happen first, which is the process of converting deformation work to heat. The punch is used to apply some pressure to the enclosed billet in the die. After the punch, cold extrusion will be classified into 3 processes: lateral extrusion, backward extrusion, and forward extrusion.
- Lateral extrusion – Lateral extrusion is usually used on liquids. Imagine an injection and your punch is the suction. Then, the liquid is the vaccine. In a lateral extrusion, liquid material will be pushed like the suction in an injection to fit the die. Therefore, when you punch the material, it will form in the shape of the die.
- Forward extrusion – Forward extrusion usually produces solid shapes. In this case, the space between the punch and the die is very much close together. That’s why when the punch is thrust into the metal, the metal will just wrap itself on the punch. The result is a solid shape that will form the shape of the die.
- Backward extrusion – On the other hand, backward extrusion is usually used to produce shapes that are hollow. This is because the punch is usually solid. Then, the punch is used to thrust the material into the space between the material and the die. This makes a hole in the shape of the die.
2. Hot Extrusion
Hot extrusion, on the other hand, is done at a temperature above the recrystallization temperature. This is the more popular method of extrusion that has a fixed cross-sectional shape. Since this is done at a higher temperature, the materials are kept from hardening and make the process of pushing the material onto the die faster and simpler.
Hot extrusion is usually done with materials such as copper and aluminum along with other alloys. Products developed by using this method are bars, tubes, and electrical wires. Things that you use for your electronics and even to build homes and buildings.
3. Friction Extrusion
Friction Extrusion uses billets that rotate relative to the die to force its passage through the die. This kind of rotation will cause your material to be cut in very fine pieces. It uses a thermo-mechanical process to form various things such as rods, tubes, wires, and other non-circular metal shapes. This kind of motion of rotation will produce large shear stresses. Because of its nature, it can also produce flakes and chips.
What are the Benefits of Custom Extrusion?
Custom extrusion has truly made its mark in the world. There are many benefits that come with custom extrusion, and here are just some of them that you might want to know about.
1. Low Cost
One of the benefits of custom extrusion is the low cost that it carries as compared to other ways of molding. Because the process is so efficient, economies of scale are achieved, and costs are brought down. The technology allows you to produce more products of the same quality with the same energy. This means that your costs are brought down lower because you are maximizing the time spent to create your products. Economies of scale also allow for large volumes of production.
In the case of plastic extrusion, thermoplastics are used for molding because it can undergo hardening and melting repeatedly. Whereas, the by-products, which are usually regarded as waste, can also still be reused. Because by-products have its uses, it lowers the costs as well. In addition to that, the machines operate non-stop. Because the machines can run 24 hours a day, it prevents chances of losses and improves efficiency as well
So, you are given the flexibility to use any shape of materials. In addition to that, you can do minor alterations to the process, and it can also mold plastic sheets. This extrusion process also allows you to manufacture products with soft or hard surfaces.
You can also make molds to your exact specifications. Molds can even be patented to you and only used by you. This is how versatile the custom extrusion is. You get the opportunity to make anything out of the material you use according to your own specifications. You can even customize the color, thickness, and hardness of your product.
Custom extrusion also offers much flexibility in the manufacturing of products having a consistent cross-section. This consistent cross-section is a very clean cut. It does not matter what piece you use for the mold. The product will come out with the same shape all the time.
Flexibility also comes with the ability to use different types of raw materials to mold your product. You can either use plastic, aluminum, or other metals, just to name a few. You have the chance to choose from a wide array of different kinds of material according to your liking based on the availability and cost of raw material.
4. Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable
Everything that you do to manufacture goods needs to be safe for the environment and sustainable. The products that custom extrusion can produce are some of those materials that people use a lot every single day. This is why it is best that during the process of production, manufacturers are also mindful of the environment.
With custom extrusion, you can protect the planet by reducing greenhouse gases and low energy consumption during the production of consumer components and products. For instance, one of the most used materials in custom extrusion is aluminum.
Aluminum is very friendly to the environment because it can be recycled repeatedly. On top of that, it can also be recycled repeatedly without losing its properties. It is also a substance that’s very abundant in the world. It also uses a small fraction of energy to do the custom extrusion process.
5. High Quality
The process of custom extrusion will also give you good quality products because of its fine surface finish. Even though products are rolled out in volumes, the design and engineering are impeccable.
Because it is a machine, it provides spotless precision on the shapes made. You just need to have a mold made that will fit your specifications. Then, it will produce similar things every time the machine runs a round. The products of custom extrusion are also very tough and strong.
6. Wide Range of Products
Custom extrusion can produce so many things for you. Part of these wide arrays of products are rods, wires, simple tubes, just to name a few. This process can also produce lots of shapes and sizes whether solid, complex, or hollow. Because of this, you can use these products for a lot of things. Products made from custom extrusion are being used in our pipes, appliances, electronics, and architecture.
Here are just some examples of industries where custom extrusion has made an impact.
Automotive Manufacturing Industry
In the automotive industry, the products made from extrusion are used to manufacture doors, frames, and windows. Without custom extrusion, it would not be possible to produce these things for cars.
Aluminum is usually used for extrusion on automotive parts to reduce the weight of the vehicle without having to compromise safety. There are also many companies that offer a wide range of options for fabrication to meet the design of the particular automotive.
This has seen to be an efficient way to make the parts of a car while incorporating its design and meeting the standards of its customers. There is efficiency throughout the process of custom extrusion that allows the parts to be mass-produced with the least cost possible while limiting harmful emissions to the atmosphere.
Food Production Industry
The food industry also benefits from custom extrusion. In manufacturing, extrusion is used in making instant food and snacks as well. Extrusion’s capabilities and technology were developed to be able to process functions such as conveying, separation, cooling, shaping, shearing, heating, mixing, and such.
Custom extrusion was used to make products such as pasta, french fries, baby food, cereal, pet food, and snacks. Given the technology, instead of using metals, food ingredients were used and molded into specific shapes according to the specifications of the factory.
Using high-temperature extrusion, manufacturers were able to make ready-to-eat snacks. On the other hand, cold extrusion was used to make pasta and products that were meant to be consumed later in the future. Products that were made using cold extrusion had low moisture and thus a longer shelf life.
The process begins with raw materials being grounded in particulate sizes. Then, this dry mix will be pre-conditioned. During this phase, other ingredients will also be added. Then, steam will be injected. Mix that was steamed will then be passed to an extruder and forced into a die. Without custom extrusion, food normally enjoyed by the masses wouldn’t exist.
One of the benefits of custom extrusion also made an impact on the pharmaceutical industry. It was the technology of custom extrusion that allowed for blended materials and broken up particles to be compressed into tablets. Without custom extrusion, medicine in tablet form probably would not exist.
Hot-melt extrusion was used to enable drugs with poor solubility to be made into a pharmaceutical solid oral dose. Hot melt extrusion has been seen to disperse poorly soluble drugs in a polymer carrier. By putting it inside a polymer carrier, biodiversity and dissolution rates are increased.
Custom extrusion has definitely left its mark in the pharmaceutical industry. It is the reason why so many are still benefiting from it today. Without it, the conveniences that the pharmaceutical industry brings just wouldn’t have as much of an impact.
With all the benefits that you can get from custom extrusion, manufacturing was made even easier and more efficient than ever, not to mention the cheaper costs. A lot of the things that people know to use today were built using custom extrusion. If you have a factory, you need to use custom extrusion to be able to make your own molds.