What is Plastic Extrusion?

Custom Plastic Extrusion Process Using a Play-Doh Plunger

Plastic extrusion is a manufacturing process that involves the creation of continuous plastic shapes, excluding sheets and tubes, through the method of extrusion.

Key Plastic Extrusion Process Steps

Raw Material Preparation

In the initial step, raw plastic beads or pellets are prepared for the extrusion process. Additionally, colorants are thoroughly mixed with the raw plastic material before the extrusion process begins.

Extrusion Process Initiation

As the extrusion process begins, the mixed plastic material enters the extruder cavity through an opening. A rotating screw mechanism is employed to propel the plastic material seamlessly through the cavity.

High-Temperature Melting

Within the cavity, the temperature rises significantly, reaching about 400°F (200°C). This elevated temperature causes the plastic material to melt, transforming it into a molten state.

Contaminant Filtration

To ensure the quality of the final plastic extrusion, the molten plastic travels through a special screen designed to effectively filter out any contaminants present in the material.

Profile Formation

The filtered molten plastic then moves through a die, a critical component responsible for imparting the desired profile or shape to the plastic. This shaping process defines the various channels and profiles that the plastic extrusion will take.

Cooling and Finalization

Following the shaping process, the product undergoes a cooling phase. Once cooled, the plastic is cut to the desired length, spooled, or coiled, finalizing the plastic extrusion process.


The culmination of these steps produces a distinctive plastic channel, profile, or tube through the plastic extrusion process.    

Photo of Heated Extruder
In this process, raw plastic is fed into a heated extruder cavity or cylinder. Typically, the raw plastic is in bead form and may be mixed with colorants before the plastic profile extrusion process begins.
Photo of Extrusion Manufacturing Process
Jifram extruded plastic profiles. Plastic Profile Extrusion is a manufacturing process through which plastic is melted, shaped into a continuous profile, and cut to length. This process is used in the production of a wide variety of shapes and channels.