Plastic pipe and profile lines can be used to create a variety of products including pipes, tubing, straws, window frames, wall molding, and home siding. The equipment to create plastic pipe and profile has not changed significantly in recent years and used equipment offers a high return on investment. The typical life of new equipment from a reputable manufacturer is 20+ years. Its life can be extended if properly cared for and maintained. The most important considerations when buying new or used plastic pipe or profile line equipment are cost, functionality and delivery time.
Plastic Pipe and Profile Lines
Pipes and profiles are formed when plastic pellets are fed into an extruder, melted and conveyed through a die. The pipe or profile then goes into a water tank to be cooled and sized. If the product needs to retain its shape during cooling, a vacuum will be applied to a water bath. Following this part of the process, the pipe or profile is pulled through the water tank by a puller. Then a cutter or winder is applied. With a cutter, the pipe or profile is cut to a pre-designated length. With a winder, the product is wound onto a spool or coil.
When purchasing a used pipe and profile line, consider the extruder make, type (AC or DC) and horsepower of the motor, barrel venting, types of controls, type of feeder, condition of the barrel and overall appearance of the used extruder.
Another consideration is the die. The die needs to match the rate and capacity of the extruder as well as cast the correct profile for the product. For this reason, pipe and profile dies are generally custom manufactured and not purchased on the used market.
When purchasing a water tank, consider the length, width, and height of the tank to ensure the pipe or profile fits. It also needs sufficient time to cool. Also consider the construction material: stainless steel is preferred because it doesn’t rust but water tanks are also available in aluminum and carbon steel. If the tank is under a vacuum, the number and type of vacuum pump is important. The most common brands are Conair, Gatto, CDS and RDN.
Used pullers are available in two types: cleat or belt. Ensure the width and contact length of the belt is appropriate. Also consider motor horsepower and type (AC or DC). Common manufacturers are Conair, Gatto, CDS, Farris, Boston Matthews, Metaplas, Goodman, ESI, and RDN.
There are two types of cutters: saw and flying knife. A saw is used on thicker pipes and profiles and has a slower operation. A flying knife cutter is used on smaller pipes and profiles and operates at higher speeds. When purchasing a saw cutter, consider the diameter of the blade and type of controls for the unit. The capacity should be sized according to the rate of the extruder and the rest of the line. When purchasing a flying knife cutter, consider the capacity, types of controls, brand and model. The system can be air or servo electric driven with the servo electric drive offering greater accuracy. Manufacturers include Conair, RDN, CDS, and Farris (Boston Matthews).
When purchasing a winder, consider the capacity (sized correctly with the rate of the extruder and the rest of the line), the face width and the diameter of the roll. Manufacturers include Progressive, Plastiprogram, and Vulcan.
Used Pipe and Profile Lines
There are several components to used pipe and profile lines. When purchasing used, consider the age, manufacturer, type of blade, motor horsepower, construction material and capacity. The advantages of buying a used version include immediate installation and competitive price. Choose a reputable brand with maintenance records.