WHAT IS AN EXTRUDER, AND DOES OUR COMPANY NEED ONE?
To understand what an extruder is, we must first know what the process of extrusion is. Extrusion is when a material, usually pellets, dry powder, rubber, plastic, metal bar stock or even food is heated and pushed through a die. A die is essentially a mold that shapes the material as it is forced through the small opening to the other side. It’s one of the most common ways to produce sheets and strips of stock metal, plastic and rubber shapes.
An extruder is simply the machine used to complete the extrusion process. Using a system of barrels and cylinders, the machine heats up the product and propels it through the die to create the desired shape.
WHAT IS AN EXTRUDER USED FOR?
Extruders can be used to create a wide variety of usable products by shaping various materials. For example, our breakfast cereals and pre-formed snacks are often made using food extruders, which use uniform, controlled pressure and temperature to create the near-identical pieces we pour into our bowls each morning.
Pet food and treats are created with food extruders for the same reason — to create a high level of consistency and quality in the meals we feed our furry family members. The Bonnot Company’s food forming extruders can be used as standalone applications or be combined with a cooking extruder for unitized cooking and cooling.
For many industries, catalyst extruder machines are used to create catalysts such as high aluminas, gels, kaolin carriers, molecular sieves and more. Whether your company requires minute pellets, solid rods, unsupported rings or another catalyst configuration, Bonnot has the extruder that can get the job done.
Rubber bales can also be extruded for a variety of purposes. For instance, rubber extruders can create extruded hydrogels, which are used to create everything from contact lenses to replacement cartilage. A rubber extruder from The Bonnot Company can break down the large, tacky bales without the use of talc or special chemicals.
Extrusion equipment is even used to create the materials that keep the air and water in our homes purified. Vacuum extruders, which were originally used in the clay industry to de-air their products, are now used to create activated carbon. The extruder de-airs the carbon to increase its adsorptive properties and prepare it for use for any number of air and water purification applications. Bonnot has worked with virtually every base material available, not just activated carbon, and can use our expertise to demonstrate how this extrusion process could work for you in our test facility.
While these are some of the most common types of extrusion supported by The Bonnot Company, other extrusion equipment manufacturers may specialized in extruders for other materials, such as plastics, clay, aluminum or other metals. For example, plastic extruders can be used to create PVC pipe. As you can see, the types of extrusion equipment and their uses are widely varied.
WILL ANY EXTRUDER DO?
In short, no. First of all, many devices that are technically extruders are meant for individual, personal use and must be operated by hand. Manufacturers, however, will generally require much larger, more sophisticated industrial extruders. It all depends on the scope of your operation and the standards of your industry.
As with any other type of machinery, there are a wide variety of industrial extruders available, and each one is intended for a particular purpose or set of purposes. Some are designed to also serve a specific niche function, such as de-airing a material, de-watering it or pelletizing it.
Capacity is another differentiating factor. For large batches and maximum capacity, a company may need the High Volume Production Extruder (Terrier), for example. Meanwhile, a company that specializes in research and development would probably do well with low-volume Lab Extruders for producing and testing their products in small batches. Another company may need an entirely different solution.