Polyethylene (PE) is low cost, versatile, and generally easy to process, making it one of the most popular thermoplastic compounds in use today. As a leading plastic profile extruder, Northland Plastics works with standard polyethylene compounds including HDPE, MDPE and LDPE. We manufacture a wide variety of polyethylene extruded profiles including tubing, channels, fittings and other custom parts.
As a vertically-integrated design and manufacturing facility with over 65 years in the industry, Northland Plastics is well-positioned to meet customer needs efficiently and cost-effectively. We offer a comprehensive set of fabrication and secondary operations, allowing our customers to source as many of their needs as possible from a single vendor.
Polyethylene is translucent to milky white, with higher-density grades being more opaque. We offer a wide range of colorants and additives for PE extrusions. PE has high thermal expansion, which must be considered when designing the product.
Overall, polyethylene is flexible, lightweight, and resistant to chemicals, corrosion, and impacts. Polyethylene is also FDA compliant, with food-grade PE available.
PE is highly flammable and has poor UV resistance without additives. Polyethylene can be susceptible to Environmental Stress Cracking (ESC) from exposure to certain chemicals, tensile stress, UV degradation and temperature fluctuations, though ESC-resistant (ESCR) grades of HDPE are available.
HDPE vs LDPE vs MDPE
HDPE: High-density PE is the most rigid, least flexible and most durable of the three types. HDPE pipes can be co-extruded to increase temperature/UV resistance and hydraulic capacity. Some of the most widely used HDPE plastic profiles include HDPE tubing and HDPE U channels.
LDPE: Low-density PE is softer, more transparent and very flexible, but not as strong as HDPE.
MDPE: Medium-density PE falls between the other two types in terms of physical characteristics.
Extruded Polyethylene Applications
Extruded polyethylene is used in many different industries, from construction and plumbing to furniture, consumer goods and medical products. Some of the polyethylene profile extrusions we manufacture at Northland Plastics include:
- Pipes & pipe fittings (such as t fittings)
- Tubing (Angled, square or round)
- Product handling
- Dip tubes
- Film cores
- Protective trim & molding
- U channels, J channels, H channels, C channels
- T sections
- Spiral coil binding
- Rope & cord
- Furniture components
- Sliding track profiles
With a focus on state-of-the-art design and continuous improvement, Northland Plastics tooling and design engineers are qualified to help you create or customize a polyethylene profile, custom HDPE parts or custom HDPE pipe to meet the needs of your specific application.
Polyethylene Environmental Impact
Polyethylene is 100% recyclable, though different grades need to be recycled separately. As a completely nontoxic polymer, PE doesn’t pose any health or environmental hazards, apart from littering.
Northland Plastics is committed to working with our customers to select environmentally sustainable compounds that meet project requirements. We closely follow industry developments so we can provide the lowest-cost environmentally sustainable alternatives as they become available.
Polyethylene vs PVC
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE) are both considered general purpose plastic materials.
Both HDPE and PVC are commonly used for pipe extrusion because plastic pipes transport high-volume, high-velocity liquids more efficiently than concrete or metal. Both materials are lightweight with good resistance to chemical corrosion. Both HDPE and PVC profile pipe extrusions are cost-effective with a long service life.
PVC extrusions are stronger and more rigid than HDPE, which is flexible and has better impact resistance.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best compound for your specific application. Our engineering and design team works with customers to choose the best material meeting all engineering and physical requirements for a given project.
Request a quote for extruded polyethylene profiles
Northland Plastics vertically-integrated design and manufacturing facility is located in Sheboygan, serving customers across Wisconsin and nationwide. Contact us for competitive pricing and short lead times on custom polyethylene extrusions.