Plastic extrusions are often requested of us, particularly for UHMW and PVC. When matched to the correct expectations and requirements, extrusions can provide a part at a cost machined plastics couldn’t hope to compete with. However, in quoting custom extrusions there are three components of the bid that appear to surprise many customers and affect the feasibility of moving forward with purchasing the extrusion.
1.) There are tooling costs
To make an extrusion you need to machine a custom tool out of metal. This is not a complimentary service and it will require a lot of work and calibration. This will result in a one-time tooling or set-up fee charged to your first purchase order. Depending on complexity this tooling can be a few hundred dollars to, more commonly, several thousand dollars so this is important to note.
2.) There are minimum runs of product
To extrude a plastic is not as simple as to drop a few pellets into a heater and out comes a 5′ length of plastics. Significant amounts of material need to be run just to calibrate the machine every time it extrudes. This typically results in minimum runs of no less than 1000 linear feet and typically 2000+ feet.
3.) The lead times can be significant
A 10-14 week delivery is typical for first time plastic extrusions. This covers the time to make the die, calibrate it, make the product, run QC on it, then ship it to one of our locations for distribution. Lead times beyond the first are typically 7-8 weeks to ship. This issue is actually easy to overcome if POs are issued in advance and product can be released on a regular and staggered basis.
If an extrusion is not ideal for your application we still may be able to supply a machined solution. To discuss please contact us today.