PVC milling – Typical processes and recommendations for action

1. properties and advantages of polyvinyl chloride

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most widely produced plastics in the world. PVC is particularly popular in the plastics processing industry because it is relatively inexpensive to produce. In addition, polyvinyl chloride plastic can be strongly influenced during production with regard to its physical and chemical properties and can therefore be used in many areas of application. Our polyvinyl chloride sheets are also characterized by the fact that the plastic is not decomposed by sunlight and its mechanical properties remain unchanged. Our customers prefer to use such plastics, especially for long-life products, as the material is also highly resistant to water and air.

2. our different types of PVC

We distinguish between plastics made of polyvinyl chloride due to their material resistance in rigid PVC (PVC-U) and soft PVC (PVC-P). While our rigid PVC products are used, for example, in contact with pipes or records, special plasticizers in our soft PVC production contribute to elastic behavior and make the material profitable, for example, for use in cable sheathing and floor coverings.
However, the search for polyvinyl chloride plastics is not always successful. Since soft PVC can partly contain thinning substances, our customers often alternatively use our plastic products made of polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) for specific applications. Especially for applications that do not necessarily require acid, oil or salt water resistance, our corresponding alternative products are preferred. Due to the health-endangering properties of polyvinyl chloride, environmental associations now also recommend that protective measures be taken into account when using these plastics.

3. special features when milling plastics

The majority of our plastic types are well suited for material processing by CNC milling. Depending on the type of plastic we use for milling, we consider some machining specific details.
Since plastics make a much smaller contribution to heat conductivity than metals, for example, it is important to dissipate the heat generated during milling via the chip.
When machining plastics, a circular cutting movement is always carried out by our corresponding milling tool. Due to the constant interruptions, comma-shaped chips are produced during CNC milling, which is why the process is also called machining. Here we further differentiate between face milling (also called face milling) and circumferential milling (or roll milling).

3.1 Our processing methods for polyvinyl chloride plastics

Thermoplastics such as the polyvinyl chloride we use are characterised by the fact that they retain their shape when they come into contact with high temperatures, even after cooling. Polyvinyl chloride deforms from a temperature of about 150°C. We tend to advise against stronger heating for a faster deformation of the material, since harmful substances can be released at temperatures above 200 °C. This is because the material is not heated up and therefore does not deform.
For the processing of polyvinyl chloride we use injection moulding and extrusion as well as pressing and rolling. In addition, for the processing of PVC-U we also use machining processes such as CNC milling, drilling, planing or turning, which are out of the question for the processing of PVC-P. Bonding and welding are further methods that make valuable contributions to the processing of rigid PVC plastics.

3.2 Important aspects of PVC machining by CNC milling

Polyvinyl chloride plastics can be processed using almost all tools that are also used in the processing of wood and metal. For the CNC milling of PVC, however, we recommend that when looking for the right milling tool, it is important to ensure that it is ground in a way that is suitable for plastics and can absorb a corresponding volume of chips. When machining polyvinyl chloride, our milling cutters usually work at moderate cutting speeds, high feed rates and a relatively high cutting depth. If the heat during CNC milling is dissipated via the chip and the cutting edges of the milling cutters have a certain degree of sharpness, additional cooling of the milling cutters is not absolutely necessary. In most cases, cooling of the milling cutters is only necessary when a particularly high cutting depth is used and there is a risk of the material smearing. We recommend the use of either compressed air or water for appropriate cooling.
In addition, it is important to ensure that neither prominent scoring nor sharp cross section transitions occur in any of the processes used to process plastic. In such a case, if the plastics were subjected to stress, the notch effect would most probably result in material breakage. By using orbital sanders and polishing pastes, we can subsequently produce smooth surfaces on the edges of the material. In addition, we adjust the edges created by the milling cutter, additionally with flat scrapers.
In addition to CNC milling, 3D milling of polyvinyl chloride is also possible. Apart from the appropriate computer software, the hardware for 3D milling is also equipped with a special ball end milling cutter.

4. use of our PVC products

Our polyvinyl chloride panels usually contribute to the manufacture of pipes, floor coverings and window profiles in the construction industry and sanitary engineering. If these plastics are used, the pipes are less clogged due to the smooth inner surfaces, while the window profiles are extremely easy to clean and weather-resistant. In addition, the plastic is suitable for the effective sheathing of cables, since polyvinyl chloride is flame-retardant. In addition, films are also produced from our plastic in order to use them for e.g. artificial leather.
In the following, further applications are listed which often come into contact with polyvinyl chloride during production:

  • Carrier material for advertising media
  • Trade fair and event scaffolding
  • Art and model objects
  • Packaging for food
  • Roof coverings and door frames
  • Hoses of all kinds
  • Medical Products
  • Non-slip materials
  • Cars and Motorcycles
  • recreational craft
  • freight cars
  • credit cards
  • Electrical cable and switch boxes
  • Retractable tubes for cables
  • fiber connections

Are you also interested in the use of high-quality PVC blanks? Please describe your request and we will send you a non-binding offer!