Tubeway Sales Ltd have been manufacturing Plastic extrusions from its factory in Ipswich for over 60 years, since 1957 you can imagine we’ve built up a fair bit of experience.

We get asked about our uPVC manufacturing process, so we thought it might be useful to break it down and explain the process from start to finish with the key elements highlighted as we go. We would always recommend talking though your questions with our experienced Sales team, but the detail below is intended as a useful adjunct.

Some of the technical terms that occur during the process are further outlined on our Tooling page, these could have implications should you be looking to design a custom profile or where we are explaining the implications of a custom profile looking to utilise existing tooling.

On the most basic level there are 4 phases of a Plastic Extrusion line:

  • Extrusion Machine
  • Water Bath
  • Haul Off
  • Inline Saw

Overview of a Plastic Manufacturing Extrusion Line

Extrusion Machine of Plastic Manufacture Process
  1. 1 A pelletised compound is placed in the hopper
  2. 2 A combination of heat and pressure melts the compound into a pliable state
  3. 3 The screw(s) moves the material along the length of the barrel and into the head
  4. 4 A beaker plate and screen packs are used in the head to create pressure and help mix the material thoroughly
  5. 5 The pliable material continues through the sleeve and out of the die - which has the profile shape cut into it
The water bath used in the Extrusion of Plastic Profiles
  1. 6 Once leaving the die, the profile enters the water bath passing through a Former or Forming Plates
  2. 7 Cold water cools the profile as it is held into the correct shape by formers
Haul Off used in Plastic Profile Manufacturing
  1. 8 The Haul Off pulls the profile through the production line, maintaining a steady and regular size
  2. 9 Secondary Operations such as inline tape application can be applied
  3. 10 Profile shape as the Die is generally 10-15% larger than the finished profile, the Haul Off helps stretch this down to a constant size
  4. 11 Large profiles run very slowly while smaller ones as produced at greater speed
Haul Off used to pull Plastci Profile through extrusion line
  1. 12 Rigid Extrusions are cut using the inline saw which moves with the extrusion to ensure a straight and accurate cut - Discuss your requirements with the sales team at point of ordering
  2. 13 Smaller profiles can be cut to shorter lengths using a Flycutter
  3. 14 An offline cutting service is available if required, minimum cut is 100mm
  4. 15 Flexible Profiles will be coiled and cut at this stage, replacing the inline saw
  5. 16 After the saw comes the Collection table, this is where the lengths are colected and taken for packing

Production Run or Stock

You may be wondering why choose a Production Run vs buying the product from Stock, the benefits include:

  • Price – Whilst the production process is initially expensive to set up, once up and running we’re able to pass on significant saving vs stock
  • Length – Our Stock lengths are 1.83, 2.44, 2.54 or 3m or 30m Flexible Coils, a tailored Production run allows for a choice of your length, there are minimum lengths determined by the size of your profile so please ask the Sales team when discussing your requirements
  • Colour – Our Stock colour packs reflect the most commonly used colours, we can however run any profile, in any colour based on the MOQ of the product. We hold a range of compound colours beyond the standard stock, view our range on our Colours Page
  • Tooling Modifications – We can on occasion, depending on the profile make run-time modifications to our standard tooling, check out our Tooling page for more information on this. Discussion with the Sales team will always be needed to talk through the viability.

On the Flipside, Stock may be more appropriate where:

  • Lead Time – All stock profiles are available for Next Day Delivery to standard UK locations, for orders received before 2pm, stocked in high volume to cover majority of orders
  • Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – Where your interest doesn’t quite reach the stated MOQ within the Production listing tables
  • Prototyping – If you’re looking to test the viability of a profile for a larger product but don’t want to commit to a Production Run you could order a pack or two for testing purposes.

We hope this page is useful, if you have any further questions or would like to know more detail about any of the steps outlined above please contact a member of the Technical Team.