Plastic extrusions can be found just about anywhere you look—in cars, homes, and even our cell phones. These plastic components are found within our everyday products helping them seal better, look better, last longer, and function safely. However, not all plastic extrusions are created equal. Some are made from a stock profile die and mass produced with standard material, while others use customized profile design and tooling, and specialty plastics, to achieve the right shape and compatible function for the end-product that’s being produced.
When Stock Profiles Work, and When They Don’t
Today, there are a variety of off-the-shelf profile dies available for standardized applications. The piping trim found on many couches and pillows, for example, uses a type of a mass-produced stock profile called a welt cord. In order to achieve a sturdy, uniform, long-lasting trim style that’s still comfortable to sit on, fabric is wrapped around a lightweight, cylindrical welt cord extrusion. This particular extrusion’s versatility means it can be sufficiently made and sold off-the-shelf for any size of couch, cushion, or other upholstered item. Plus, it can be made from a standard plastic material since it doesn’t require special properties to function well.
As you might imagine, there are many cases where a standard profile shape or material won’t work. That’s where custom profiles come in.
The Process Behind Custom Profiles
Custom profiles are thermoplastic extrusions made with custom profile shape. Custom tooling is designed to achieve unique specifications. Once the custom profile is created and tested for quality, it can be used to produce large lots of extruded components.
In the custom profiling process, a multitude of specialized plastics are available that offer a wide range of material properties. Choosing the right plastic will help to improve function and extend the life of your product. Some plastics will help your product stand up against extreme temperatures and high humidity levels, for example, while others are known for being more resistant to chemical exposure and UV light.
When to Opt for Custom Profiling
The need for custom profiles can arise at any point during production. Some manufacturers know in the early design phases that a custom profile will be needed because they’re designing for unique circumstances or proprietary products that will require innovative, and sometimes complex plastic configurations.
Other manufacturers turn to custom profiling to optimize part performance, like when a specific plastic component in cars is failing to keep the car battery from shorting out. In times like this, it can be beneficial to start from the drawing board and pursue a new (custom) profile design for production.
Finding the Right Custom Profile Partner
It’s important to find a custom profile partner you can trust that has expertise in advanced materials and tooling. Our team at Custom Profiles uses the industry’s latest design tools along with creative engineering to find innovative thermoplastic extrusion solutions for everyone we partner with.
Connect with us today to learn more about the Custom Profile process and how we can help on your next project.