Square Plastic Tubing
Tools that provide a hollow channel for the transportation of gasses, liquids, or granular or free-flowing solids can be classified as tubing. For a multitude of industries and applications, plastic tubing is a convenient and efficient option. These applications include children’s toys, healthcare settings, and point of purchase displays. Square plastic tubing can be identified from other types of tubes due to their square and non-cylindrical shape, which is required for merely a select few applications. One advantage of square tubing is that they are easy to anchor, making them ideal for devices that remain stationary.
Regardless of the shape, plastic tubing can be found across a wide range of industries, and can be fabricated from a variety of plastic materials. These materials include low-density polyethylene (LDPE) high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyurethane, ABS, nylon, polypropylene, PET, and polystyrene. Each of these plastic materials have their own levels of transparency, strength, and reactivity. For example, a healthcare facility could utilize square plastic tubing in their laboratory equipment in order to easily monitor fluid flow. Plastic is corrosion-resistant and has high levels of sterility and cleanliness, making plastic tubing ideal for the transportation of gases and liquids. Plastic tubing has also been incorporated in items such as scoping tools used in various surgical procedures, and in plastic hearts that can improve and even save the lives of patients. PVC and HDPE can also be used for tubing, and are noted for their durability and resistance to impact. However, PVC is toxic, and a multitude of industries such as the medical industry have become more concerned with the risks that PVC can pose. Therefore, stricter policies have been set in place, and research is continuously being done to develop newer, more innovative alternatives to various forms of plastic.
The automotive industry is another area where researchers continue to pursue innovative methods in creating various products, whether it is components that will benefit motor vehicles, to motor vehicles themselves. For example, plastics are being used for the creation of vehicles that are lighter and more efficient. In order not to compromise the safety of the vehicle, the plastics are fused with carbon fibers in order to fortify the material. Plastic tubing has also been used in the creation of lightweight products, such as newer models of cars. Plastic tubing can be both flexible, and strong enough to provide protection from wear and tear. With the rise of 3-D printing, the possibilities are endless. 3-D printing can allow for the fabrication of custom plastic tubing, which will allow for more efficient space optimization.
Both square and cylindrical tubing can be fabricated using the same exact processes. These processes are cell casting and plastic extrusion. The cell casting method involves simply filling a mold with molten plastic, and removing the final product from the mold once it solidifies. Although the cell casting process is effective and beneficial, the plastic extrusion process is much more efficient. The plastic extrusion method is a thermoforming process, meaning it utilizes heat to melt plastic to eventually form it into a particular shape. The first step in the plastic extrusion process is the collection of raw plastic material, also called stock. The next step involves loading the stock into a hopper which hangs over a conveyance channel. The conveyance channel features heating elements, a large shearing screw, and a die at the end of the channel. Although the methods differ, a die serves the same purpose as a mold, as it is a tool that is used to shape a material. The stock is released into the channel, and is reduced to a molten state by the heat and the friction caused by the turning screw. The molten stock is forced through the die, where it takes on the intended shape. Once the freshly formed tubing is out of the die, it is allowed to cool. The final steps involve cutting the tube to length and preparing it for either further processing or immediate shipment.
Some people choose square plastic tubing solely for aesthetic purposes, or because non-square tubes would not be compatible with other types of tubing. Whether a plastic tube is square or cylindrical, made from polyethylene or polyurethane, or fabricated by way of plastic extrusion or cell casting, each attribute of plastic tubing has its own benefits and drawbacks. The vast array of options can make it overwhelming to search for the ideal plastic tubing. Fortunately, a reputable, experienced plastic tubing manufacturer with will be both willing and able to assist you in finding plastic tubing that is suitable for your particular application.