Capability Spotlight: Dual-Durometer and Tri-Extrusion

Posted on: August 10, 2021

Capability Spotlight: Dual-Durometer and Tri-Extrusion

Selecting the appropriate plastic extrusion process yields more functional products, and it’s critical to identify which capabilities are required to achieve the desired outcome. When plastic extrusion companies offer advanced capabilities to enhance performance and function, their clients can procure superior products that significantly reduce assembly costs down the line. 

In addition to facilitating more cost-effective solutions, extrusion processes that can seamlessly combine multiple materials help clients of thermoplastic extrusion companies get their specific needs met more precisely. State-of-the-art extrusion capabilities like dual-durometer extrusion and tri-extrusion create opportunities for products to add greater value in innovative ways.

Before choosing a partner for a complex plastic extrusion process, it helps to learn about the processes, applications, and advantages of dual-durometer extrusion and tri-extrusion.

Dual-Durometer Extrusion Combines Two Plastics With Different Qualities

Dual-durometer processes, also known as co-extrusion, provide the ability to make a plastic extrusion with materials that have different physical properties. Continuously filling one material with another increases function and eliminates the need for combining multiple parts on an assembly line. Because of the advantages of dual-durometer extrusion, thermoplastic companies use it for many different applications. 

Companies may create a cohesive part with dual-durometer extrusion to add any of the following properties:

  • Rigidity
  • Softness
  • Flexibility
  • Stiffness
  • Heat Resistance
  • Chemical Impermeability

As many of those qualities are mutually exclusive, it would be impossible to achieve some combinations of them with any thermoplastic extrusion process that included only one material. Dual-durometer extrusion essentially allows thermoplastic companies to design and create pieces that possess twice as many qualities as a part made with a single material.

Tri-Extrusion Combines Three Materials or Colors in One Plastic Extrusion

Tri-extrusion is very similar to the dual-durometer process, but with the addition of one more raw material. Combining three thermoplastics provides even more options for different finishes, color combinations, and blends of rigid and soft materials. Each layer can impart different characteristics on the finished part. When creating a part with tri-extrusion, companies have the option to add more properties without sacrificing assembly costs, performance, or function.

Dual-Durometer and Tri-Extrusion vs. Other Plastic Extrusion Processes

Dual-durometer and tri-extrusion capabilities add significant value to the plastic extrusion process. Such processes for thermoplastics provide greater flexibility in terms of the finished pieces that can be created. When pieces made with a single material can’t meet the requirements of a client, plastic extrusion companies leverage these more advanced processes to create unified parts for specialized functions.

Advantages of Dual-Durometer Extrusion and Tri-Extrusion

The primary benefits of each of these thermoplastic extrusion capabilities is that multiple extruded layers can add their unique properties to the same completed part. As a result, companies experience numerous benefits:

  • Cost. There is less need for production hours, adhesives, or additional components to combine parts because multiple materials can be seamlessly combined during the extrusion process. This expedites the workflow and generates cost savings.
  • Quality. Parts formed by dual-durometer and tri-extrusion are often more durable and dependable. If multiple materials are combined downstream in the assembly process, there are more parts that might potentially fail. Because these advanced thermoplastic extrusion processes result in only one cohesive part, there are fewer pieces to inspect, diminished opportunities for breakdowns, and minimal quality control procedures to manage.
  • Productivity. The entire supply chain benefits from extrusion processes that combine two or three materials. There are fewer pieces to ship, store, and assemble. Enterprise resource planning (ERP), inventory management, and production workflows are all simplified as a result.
  • Efficiency. Processes are more sustainable when less machinery, energy, and equipment are required to create a finished product.

The technical advantages of extrusion processes are tied to business outcomes, and leaders can maximize their benefits by choosing the appropriate extrusion process for each part.

Know When to Apply Each Plastic Extrusion Process

A thermoplastic extrusion with a single material is sometimes unable to meet all of the requirements demanded by a completed part. As such, it often becomes necessary to combine multiple materials. Plastic extrusion companies may leverage their dual-durometer and tri-extrusion capabilities in many different situations:

  1. A dual-durometer extrusion combines a hard material with a softer material. The hard material may function as the base or means of attachment, while the softer material serves to complete the seal.
  2. Multiple polymers may be extruded together for cosmetic purposes, such as to combine multiple textures, colors, or opacities. In the case of a rigid tube with three different colored stripes, tri-extrusion is the best solution for combining the colors in one cohesive part.
  3. Dual-durometer extrusion or tri-extrusion may be used to create rigid parts with hinges, eliminating the need to assemble the parts and hinges at a later step in the workflow.
  4. A plastic extrusion process that combines multiple materials makes it possible to create a part with an incorporated skin, whether that skin is soft for comfort or rigid for protection, without the need to apply the skin with an adhesive.

Irrigation companies, automotive companies, and windows or doors manufacturers are among those who rely on products produced with dual-durometer and tri-extrusion. While these examples represent some of the most common needs for advanced extrusion processes, the list above is not comprehensive. One of the primary benefits of advanced extrusion processes is that they lend themselves to the creation of unique, innovative, customized parts.

How Plastic Extrusion Companies Refine Processes

Custom Profiles Incorporated invests in some of the world’s most advanced plastic extrusion machines to gain access to capabilities like dual-durometer extrusion and tri-extrusion. This state-of-the-art equipment is critical for optimizing the performance of high-quality engineering resins and other plastic materials. By combining multiple materials in a single extrusion process, we’re able to ensure that custom products meet all requirements for flexibility, durability, and temperature limits.

To learn more about our custom plastic extrusion services or form a partnership for your most challenging plastic requests, call us at 229-423-2929 or contact us online

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