Polypropylene (PP) profile extrusions are versatile and lightweight, making them a popular choice with manufacturers across many industries. Polypropylene U-channels are ideal for components and products used in laboratories because they’re hard, corrosion-resistant and autoclavable. Polypropylene tubing is often used for hot fluid and gas transfer in food and beverage processing applications because it’s flexible, non-toxic and heat resistant.
Whether you need polypropylene extrusions for common or uncommon applications, Northland Plastics has the resources and experience to manufacture both standard and custom PP profile extrusions with competitive pricing and on-time delivery. Northland also offers comprehensive plastic fabrication services and can deliver finished products to you or your customers.
Polypropylene is one of the most prevalent thermoplastic materials worldwide. Compared to other commodity thermoplastics it has a low density which is attractive to manufacturers looking to save on shipping costs. Polypropylene also has relatively low melting point in the range of 130° – 165°C.
Polypropylene raw material is white and translucent (like a milk jug) and easily colored. Northland Plastics offers an extensive palette of colors and the capability to match the exact color you need.
PP is odorless, tasteless and hypoallergenic. Medical grade PP is steam sterilizable. Polypropylene can be coextruded with other thermoplastic compounds or combined with other polymers to create composite plastic.
Advantages of polypropylene for profile extrusion:
- Good electrical insulation
- Good impact resistance
- Excellent fatigue resistance
- Excellent resistance to chemicals/corrosion
Disadvantages of polypropylene:
- Poor UV resistance
- Highly flammable
- Brittle in very cold temps (<20°C)
- Doesn’t take paint well
Polypropylene is available in several different grades, the most popular for profile extrusion being homopolymer (propylene monomer alone) and copolymer (propylene mixed with ethene).
PP homopolymer is a general-purpose grade widely used in food packaging, healthcare, electrical and automotive applications.
PP copolymer has better durability and impact/crack resistance and is used in applications where high toughness is needed, such as industrial uses.
PP homopolymer is stiffer and stronger than PP copolymer, which is a little softer and holds up better in cold temperatures. Overall, they share many potential applications, though PP homopolymer is preferred for food contact.
Polypropylene vs Polyethylene
Polypropylene and polyethylene are both thermoplastics with a similar chemical structure and physical properties. In their natural state, PP and PE both have poor UV resistance and are highly flammable. Both materials are frequently used in food and beverage processing and packaging.
- Is lighter weight
- Is more rigid
- Has higher chemical resistance
- Has lower thermal expansion
- Performs better than PE in higher temperatures (above 115°C)
- Is less expensive
- Is more flexible
- Better withstands wear-and-tear
- Has higher thermal expansion
- Performs better than PP in lower temperatures (below 0°C)
There are also different grades of PP and PE to consider, which can have different advantages and limitations. Additives such as flame retardants and stabilizers can be used to alter specific physical or mechanical properties, for example to improve UV resistance. Our engineering and design team is happy to help you select the appropriate material and additives (if necessary) for your application.
Polypropylene Profile Applications
Extruded polypropylene profiles are used in a wide range of applications, especially in the automotive, food & beverage, and healthcare industries.
Some of the most common PP profiles and uses include:
- Guide/guard rails
- Edge corners
- Food-grade tubing
- Medical tubing
- Medical vials
- Disposable syringes
- Sample tubes
Extruded polypropylene profiles are also used as components in a broad range of consumer goods such as toys, gardening equipment and housewares.
Environmental Impact of Polypropylene
At the molecular level, polypropylene is made of carbon and hydrogen. When burned, polypropylene releases only CO2 and water – unlike PVC, which contains chlorine and emits toxic gasses when burned.
Compared to other thermoplastics, polypropylene has a small carbon footprint. Its relatively low melting point means less energy is needed to manufacture products made from polypropylene. It also breaks down faster than other types of plastic (decades compared to centuries) and can be recycled.
Northland Plastics is committed to reducing our impact on the environment through sustainable energy initiatives in our facilities, efficiency in production processes, and participation in robust recycling programs. We also work with our clients to source environmentally sustainable compounds meeting their requirements.
Request a Quote for Polypropylene Extruded Profiles
Northland Plastics is a vertically integrated plastic profile design and manufacturing facility in Sheboygan, serving customers throughout Wisconsin and coast to coast.
We run both small and large-volume jobs, continually refining and expanding our capabilities to maintain our position as an industry leader while offering the lowest landed cost to our customers.