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Vinyl Extrusion Process

Vinyl, which is also called PVC or polyvinyl chloride, is made from salt and petroleum and becomes vinyl resin and vinyl compounds.

Vinyl, like all plastics, is produced by converting hydrocarbon-based raw materials such as petroleum, natural gas or coal into a synthetic material called a polymer.  Vinyl differs from other polymers because it is based only in part on hydrocarbon ingredients. Chlorine, a natural element derived from salt and mixed with water, is the other major ingredient.  Petroleum or natural gas is put through a process, called cracking, to make ethylene.  Through chemical reaction, the ethylene is then combined with the chlorine to produce ethylene dichloride.  The ethylene dichloride is then transformed into a gas known as vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).  Polymerization converts the gaseous monomer into vinyl polymer, a white powder or resin called PVC or polymer vinyl chloride, more commonly known as vinyl.  To achieve various desired properties, the vinyl resin can be altered using selected chemical additives and modifiers. 


By blending vinyl resins with additives, the vinyl becomes resistant to heat and cold, as well as the sun’s rays.  This also allows the vinyl extrusions to maintain their structural performance.  Certain additives can also change the color of the vinyl.

In order to convert this modified vinyl into extrusions, the materials are carefully blended and placed into an extruder, where they are melted together and pushed out through a special shaped die. When the hot material comes out of the die it goes through vacuum chambers and calibrators that cool the extrusion, maintaining its particular profile shape. 


Manufacturers create windows from vinyl extrusions in four basic steps.  During the first step, the extrusions are cut into different lengths, depending on the type and size of the window required.  Besides these simple cuts, saws also perform such operations as routing for hardware.  During the second step, the cut parts – a header, sill and two jambs (the sides) for the frames, the top and bottom rails and two stiles (the sides) for the sash – are welded and pressed together to form a rectangle.  The welded corners create a one-piece unit that both eliminates a potential gap for air or water infiltration and provides added strength and integrity to the window.  During the third step the sash is glazed, most often with an insulating glass unit.  Then, during the fourth and final basic step, the sash is inserted into the frame and the necessary operating hardware is attached.