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Prior to beginning the plastic extrusion process, the proper machinery and supplies must be obtained, specifically a plastic extruder machine. This device is a fairly simple machine that facilitates the extrusion process from start to finish. The main components of a plastic extruder include a hopper, barrel, screw drive and screw drive motor.
The second most important component is the raw thermoplastic material intended for extrusion. The majority of extrusion operations rely on resin plastic (small solid beads) to allow for simple loading and quick melting times. Common plastic materials used in the extrusion process include high impact polystyrene (HIPS), PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene, and ABS.
The final component necessary for plastic extrusion is the die. The die serves as the mold for the plastic—in plastic extrusion, dies allow for even flow of the molten plastic. Dies typically must be custom made and may require additional lead time prior to beginning the manufacturing process.