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Troubleshooting Sheet Extruder Problems: Common Causes and Solutions

by:TENGDA     2023-07-06

Troubleshooting Sheet Extruder Problems: Common Causes and Solutions

Sheet extruders are essential equipment in the manufacturing industry. They are used to produce thin and flat products with precise thickness and quality. However, like any other machinery, they are prone to problems that can interrupt production, lower quality, and increase costs. In this article, we will discuss common sheet extruder problems and their solutions.

1. Poor Extrudate Quality

One of the most common problems encountered in sheet extrusion is poor extrudate quality. This can manifest in several ways, such as poor surface finish, uneven thickness, waviness, or bubbles. Poor extrudate quality can be caused by several factors, including:

- Dirty or worn-out die: If the die is not cleaned properly or has worn-out surfaces, it can produce uneven flow and cause surface defects, such as lines or streaks.

- Inconsistent temperature control: Temperature fluctuations within the extruder, die, or cooling system can cause thermal shocks that affect the material's properties and cause defects, such as warpage, shrinkage, or melt fracture.

- Poor material properties: If the raw material has inconsistent properties, such as melt flow rate, molecular weight, or thermal stability, it can affect the extrusion process and produce defects.

- Inadequate cooling: If the cooling system is not designed correctly, or it is not powerful enough, it can cause uneven cooling and produce defects, such as bubbles or deformation.

To solve poor extrudate quality problems, you need to identify the root causes and address them accordingly. You may need to clean or replace the die, improve the temperature control system, adjust the material properties, or upgrade the cooling system.

2. Motor Overheating

Another common problem in sheet extrusion is motor overheating. This can happen when the motor is overloaded, the environment temperature is too high, or the cooling system is not working correctly. When the motor overheats, it can cause several problems, such as reduced efficiency, increased energy consumption, or even motor failure. To prevent motor overheating, you can take the following measures:

- Monitor the extruder's output and speed to ensure they are within the motor's capacity.

- Check the ambient temperature and make sure it is within the motor's working range.

- Clean or replace the motor's cooling system, such as fans, filters, or radiators.

- Reduce the friction and wear between the motor and the gearbox or other components.

3. Screw Wear or Damage

The screw is the most critical component of the extruder. It is responsible for melting and homogenizing the material, as well as conveying it through the die. However, the screw is subject to wear and tear over time, especially if the material contains abrasive or corrosive additives. When the screw wears or gets damaged, it can affect the production yield, quality, and consistency. To prevent screw wear or damage, you can take the following measures:

- Use high-quality materials for the screw, such as high-strength steel or bimetallic alloys.

- Apply appropriate surface treatments, such as hard chrome plating, nitriding, or tungsten carbide coating.

- Monitor the material properties and avoid using abrasive or corrosive additives.

- Inspect the screw regularly and replace it when signs of wear or damage appear.

4. Gearbox Failure

The gearbox is another critical component of the extruder. It is responsible for transmitting the motor's power to the screw and controlling the extruder's speed and torque. If the gearbox fails, it can cause severe damage to the extruder and interrupt the production process. Gearbox failure can be caused by several factors, including:

- Overloading or overstressing the gearbox, such as running the extruder beyond its capacity or using the wrong gear ratio.

- Poor lubrication or contamination of the gearbox oil, such as low oil level, poor quality oil, or water ingress.

- Wear, corrosion, or misalignment of the gearbox components, such as bearings, gears, or shafts.

- Electrical or mechanical faults in the gearbox drive system, such as motor or coupling failure.

To prevent gearbox failure, you can take the following measures:

- Optimize the gear ratio according to the extruder's capacity and operating conditions.

- Use high-quality gearbox oil and change it regularly according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

- Inspect the gearbox components regularly and replace them when signs of wear or damage appear.

- Monitor the gearbox performance and diagnose any abnormal symptoms promptly.

5. Control System Malfunction

The extruder's control system is responsible for monitoring and adjusting various parameters, such as temperature, speed, torque, pressure, and melt flow rate, to ensure the extruder operates safely and efficiently. However, the control system can malfunction due to electrical, mechanical, or software problems, such as sensor failure, communication error, or software bug. Control system malfunction can cause several problems, such as inconsistent quality, production interruption, or safety hazard. To prevent control system malfunction, you can take the following measures:

- Choose a reliable and robust control system with adequate redundancy and backup.

- Maintain and calibrate the sensors, actuators, and other components of the control system according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

- Train the operators and maintenance personnel on the proper use and troubleshooting of the control system.

- Monitor the control system performance and diagnose any abnormal symptoms promptly.


Sheet extruder problems can cause significant impact on the production process, quality, and cost. Therefore, it is essential to identify and solve them promptly and effectively. By understanding the common causes and solutions of sheet extruder problems, you can optimize the extrusion process and achieve consistent, high-quality products.

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