In the refrigeration industry, plastic extrusion is a cost-effective fabrication method for creating a range of products from sturdy shelving to high-quality door trim and bumpers. BD Custom Manufacturing Inc. works with clients in this industry to create custom plastic extrusions that optimize the design and operation of commercial refrigeration systems while keeping service costs low. We specifically design our components to maintain their quality and integrity in low-temperature settings.
Plastic Extrusion Process
What are plastic extrusions? Plastic extrusion is a fabrication process in which manufacturers melt a thermoplastic material and form it into a desired profile using a custom-shaped die. The steps include:
- Mixing. Extruding equipment gravity-feeds a raw plastic compound from a hopper into the barrel-shaped extruder. During this step, the plastic mixes with a custom blend of performance- or appearance-enhancing additives, such as colorants, UV-inhibitors, and adhesion promoters.
- Melting. A combination of friction generated by the barrel’s rotating screws and controlled heat zones along the barrel’s surface heat the mixture. This ensures a gradual rise in temperature, which allows the material to melt without exhibiting polymer degradation.
- Extruding. Once the molten plastic sufficiently heats and filters through a screen pack to remove any contaminants, the pressurized material exits the extruder barrel.
- Shaping. To prevent bubbles, a smooth, even flow of molten material enters a die. Manufacturers will have designed the die carefully so that the shape of the final component meets all required specifications without any resulting warping or stress points.
- Hardening. As the plastic cools, it takes the shape of the profile. Plastic cools quickly due to its thermal insulation properties, and so formers maintain the profile’s shape as the die passes through cooling water baths to speed the hardening process.
Extruded Plastic Profiles in Commercial Refrigeration Applications
The plastic extrusion process can create durable components of nearly any shape, length, size, and color, making it ideal for several commercial refrigeration applications. For example, strong and lightweight PVC materials often form custom molding profiles for refrigerator doors. Other common applications include:
- Refrigeration and freezer units
- Ice machines
- Large appliances
- Household appliances
- Door trim
- Bumper trim
Types of Plastic Extrusion Profiles in the Refrigeration Industry
Plastic extruded profiles for refrigeration applications generally consist of durable, easy-to-clean materials that can resist swelling or warping in high-moisture, low-temperature environments. When choosing a material for an extruded profile, it is important to consider the profile’s intended function and the amount of flexibility or rigidity the application will require for optimal performance. The main types of profiles that the refrigeration industry uses include:
- Rigid profiles. Often composed of ABS or rigid PVC, rigid extruded profiles are characterized by their hardness, strength, and relative inflexibility. Their ability to hold their form makes them ideal for structural, supportive, or protective applications such as shelving or kickplates.
- Flexible profiles. Flexible extruded profiles utilize softer materials such as flexible PVC or polyethylene. Offering a combination of flexibility, strength, and abrasion resistance, these profiles are ideal for creating seals, connecting sections, and other components that require a high level of elasticity.
- Co-extruded profiles. Manufacturers create co-extruded profiles by extruding two or more plastic materials through the same die, resulting in a multilayered structure. With this process, manufacturers can combine rigid and flexible materials in various proportions to create extrusions with unique properties.
Plastic Extrusion Services From BD Custom Manufacturing
Plastic extrusion allows for the fabrication of high-quality custom plastic profiles for a range of refrigeration applications. At BD Custom Manufacturing, we offer custom-engineered tooling and one-stop-shop services including production, assembly, and packaging. With access to vacuum calibration tooling and diverse material options, BD Custom Manufacturing can create application-specific extruded profiles at tight tolerances that can withstand cold-temperature refrigeration environments and heavy use. We utilize materials such as PVC and polyethylene for simple to complex rigid, flexible, or co-extrusion profiles. For small or large production runs and profiles of various sizes and colors, we have the experience and resources to ensure excellent quality and fast turnaround times.