Plastic manufacturing processes

There are many processing methods for polymers. Commercial processing equipment can range from a few thousand dollars to many millions of dollars. In addition to the equipment itself, tooling is generally required to make a particular shape. Most processes involve melting or softening the material and then forcing it into the desired shape. Other processes force a monomer or pre-polymer mixture into the right shape, then polymerize it in-place.

Main processing methods

  • Extrusion
    Process of forming a continuous piece of plastic by forcing it through a shaping orifice with or without the presence of heat. The opening through which the resins are forced gives the product its form, resulting in consistent thickness and gauge control.
  • Molding
    A processing method which forms the rubber in the mold by the application of pressure and heat which shapes and cures the parts.
  • Thermoforming
    Process of forming a thermoplastic sheet into a three-dimensional shape by clamping the sheet in a frame, heating it to render it soft and flowable. Then applying differential pressure to make the sheet conform to the shape of a mold or die positioned below the frame.
  • Recycling
    All plastics can be recycled. The extent to which they are recycled depends upon both economic and logistic factors.
  • Coating
    Plastic coating is the process of applying a thermoplastic to the surface of metal items to provide long-term corrosion, impact and chemical resistance whilst offering an attractive decorative finish.
  • Other processes that can be done to plastics