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Why are Plastic Co-Extrusion and Tri-Extrusion so Popular?

Custom extruded plastic tubing is essential for the daily operations of a wide range of industries. From oil and gas to construction to automotive engineering, the most prominent methods to manufacture contemporary custom plastic tubing are through the plastic “co-extrusion” or “tri-extrusion” process.

Extrusion-based plastic tubing is found in a variety of products, including pipes, fencing, and even thermoplastic coating. Due to the ubiquity of plastic tubing throughout a myriad of industries, it’s extremely important that individuals who work in these industries have access to the right type for their specific needs.

Read on to learn about the specifics of both co-extrusion and tri-extrusion plastic tubing, and how Inplex is the best custom plastic tubing manufacturer for all of your custom extrusion needs.

What are Co-extrusion and Tri-extrusion?

Extruded plastic tubing is designed to have a fixed cross-sectional profile. When creating extrusion-based plastic tubing, manufacturers will push melted plastic through the barrel of an extruder to fix the eventually hardened plastic in its desired cross-section shape.

Co-extrusion plastic profiles and co-extrusion plastic tubing involve the creation of custom plastic tubing when two different types of material are extruded together. To create a co-extruded plastic tube, a manufacturer will push two different types of melted plastic through a single barrel.

Once hardened, these plastics will merge together in the preferred cross-section. Within this framework, the two different types of plastic will work together in a single tubing unit while still retaining two separate layers inside the tube.

Tri-extrusion follows a similar process to co-extruded plastic tubes, except that tri-extruded tubes use three different types of plastic materials in a single tube. When creating tri-extruded tubes, manufacturers will usually feed each type of plastic through different extruders, though some tri-extruded tube designs use a single barrel for different types of plastic.

To gain a better understanding, visit our blog to see how a custom plastic profile is made and why it could be useful to you.

What is the Co-extrusion & Tri-extrusion Manufacturing Process?

In order to choose which style is best for your custom profile plastic extrusion project, it is important to understand the formation process and materials used.

In most co-extrusion and tri-extrusion manufacturing processes, each plastic begins in the form of solid pellets. These pellets are melted down and fed into the desired barrel form, after which they are forced through a single extrusion head.

This head, commonly known as a “die,” will produce a custom plastic tube that consists of discrete layers of each type of plastic used in the process. A major benefit of extruded plastic in the creation of custom plastic profiles is that each material retains its original chemical structure in a single layer, while at the same time forming part of a single tube.

In fact, one of the main benefits of both co-extrusion and tri-extrusion in plastic tubing is that manufacturers can add different layers of different degrees of rigidity to one single product. For example, a tri-extruded plastic tube design might include: a flexible plastic (such as polyurethane, santoprene, or low-density polyethylene), a semi-rigid plastic (such as polypropylene or high-density polyethylene), and a rigid plastic (such as polycarbonate, rigid vinyl, or polyethylene terephthalate).

Inplex offers a diverse, high-quality assortment of custom plastic profile materials. Whether you’re looking for flexible tubing that holds its shape, or rigid clear plastic tubing, this comprehensive list is sure to have the materials you need.

Which Main Industries Use Co-extrusion and Tri-extrusion?

It may come as surprise, but many different industries use co-extrusion and tri-extrusion. Custom plastic tubing is found in many products which means lots of different industries use the co-extrusion and tri-extrusion processes. Each industry uses the custom manufacturing plastic tubing process differently. Some of the industries you may not have realized.

Are Co-extrusion & Tri-extrusion Used in the Biomedical Industry?

Both co-extrusion and tri-extrusion are frequently used in biomedical industries, where different colors and chemical properties of types of plastic are used to denote the specific functions of tubes in pieces of medical equipment.

In addition to biomedical engineering, custom extruded plastic tubing has proven to be an essential resource in the energy industry, especially in terms of achieving the energy efficiency desired for green energy.

Food Production & Packaging Industry Uses of Co-extrusion and Tri-extrusion

Both co-extruded and tri-extruded plastic tubing are also important components of food production and packaging. The combination of energy efficiency, design specifications, and different layers of rigidity has proven to be an essential element of operational efficiency.

Once the food production and packaging co-extrusion and tri-extrusion process is over, point of purchase (POP) displays are usually to follow. In fact, many POP displays are co-extruded. A POP display may use extruded rail strips, display channels, and price tag holders to show product and pricing information to customers.

Does the Automotive Industry use Custom Plastic Tubing?

The automotive industry uses the co-extrusion and tri-extrusion processes for custom plastic tubing. The automotive industry uses a variety of materials for custom plastic tubing. Plastics that are commonly used in the automotive industry are Polypropylene, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polyurethane, and many more.

Apart from the automotive industry, Inplex also has experience manufacturing custom extrusion for the transportation industry. These two industries fall hand and hand with each other. Read Inplex’s educational blog discussing the custom extrusion process for the transportation industry for more information.

What’s The Best Plastic Material For Extruded Plastic Tubing?

The best plastic material to use when manufacturing custom plastic tubing is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). ABS material is a common lightweight thermoplastic polymer that is commonly used for injection molding.

ABS is a high-impact plastic that is widely known for its rigidness and versatility. ABS is the best material for custom plastic tubing because it can be used for many mechanical purposes. ABS material has the capability to be in a variety of custom colors, nearly any shape, or size.

What is ABS plastic used for?

ABS plastic material is used in many industries including the following:

  • Use in automotive manufacturing
  • Use ABS material for pipes and fittings
  • Used to create household appliances such as vacuums and refrigerators

As professional plastic tubing manufacturers, Inplex can offer information or solutions for your extrusion project. For more information on Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) read the Inplex blog on Custom Extruders discussing Why ABS Plastic Is The Best For Your Custom Plastic Project.

Why Inplex is the Best Plastic Co-extrusion and Tri-extrusion Manufacturer

When it comes to co-extrusion and tri-extrusion custom plastic tubing, most industries will need to work with extruded plastic tubing manufacturers that can provide reliable products while adhering to complex, industry-specific specifications. Inplex has more than 50 years of experience producing the industry’s best plastic tubes for all extrusion designs.

By working closely with all clients, Inplex can meet any and all specification needs when it comes to extruded plastic tubing. These specifications include color designs, plastic material types, and extrusion profiles. In addition, Inplex’s excellent customer service and support will assist you at every level of the design and manufacturing process.

So if you’re wondering “where to find plastic extrusion companies near me”, contact the extruded plastic experts today to see the customized solutions Inplex has available for your custom plastic tubing needs!

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