Extrusion and its IT connection


Have you ever thought how the plastic coating that covers the RJ45 cables are made?

The coating is made from a process called Extrusion.

“Plastics extrusion is a high volume manufacturing process in which raw plastic material is melted and formed into a continuous profile. Extrusion produces items such as pipe/tubing, weather stripping, fence, deck railing, window frames, adhesive tape and wire insulation

In the extrusion of plastics, raw thermoplastic material in the form of small beads (often called resin in the industry) is gravity fed from a top mounted hopper into the barrel of the extruder. Additives such as colorants and UV inhibitors (in either liquid or pellet form) are often used and can be mixed into the resin prior to arriving at the hopper.

The material enters through the feed throat (an opening near the rear of the barrel) and comes into contact with the screw. The rotating screw (normally turning at up to 120 rpm) forces the plastic beads forward into the barrel which is heated to the desired melt temperature of the molten plastic (which can range from 200 °C (392 °F) to 275 °C (527 °F) depending on the polymer). In most processes, a heating profile is set for the barrel in which three or more independent PID controlled heater zones gradually increase the temperature of the barrel from the rear (where the plastic enters) to the front. This allows the plastic beads to melt gradually as they are pushed through the barrel and lowers the risk of overheating which may cause degradation in the polymer”

Read more from this wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastics_extrusion

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Definition of a Extrusion machine from the Wisegeek site:

source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-extrusion-machine.htm

An extrusion machine is a device which pushes or pulls a material through a shaped die to form a continuous length of product with a preset cross section. The extrusion process is used to produce a large number of commercial products which include steel or copper wire, plastic tubing, plastic sheets, and many food types. Extrusion as a manufacturing process offers many benefits such as the wide range of complex cross sections possible and the ability to form brittle materials. Depending on the material used, an extrusion machine may form the material cold or hot with some types of materials being completely melted prior to extrusion.

An extrusion machine can be used to produce a wide variety of products from an equally large range of raw materials. It is also an attractive alternative to other manufacturing processes as it allows for a larger selection of profiles and is suitable for use with brittle materials. In industrial applications, plastics are extruded to produce food packaging film, cladding sheets, insulation, automotive parts, and tubing products such as electrical conduit and plumbing pipes. Steel and alloys are extruded to form rods, pipes, and wires as well as steel conduits and construction members for light engineering. The food and pharmaceutical industries also make extensive use of extrusions in the production of products such as pasta, cereals, cookies, and several drug carriers.

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