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The solution was to fit the door with an electrically conductive plastic extrusion that could trigger the door’s control system if it pressed against an obstruction.
A “D” profile extrusion was engineered from a flexible TPE material, allowing it to compress easily. On the inside of the profile, two strips of electrically-conductive TPE were co-extruded on opposing walls. Each strip housed a small copper wire.
As the profile is compressed, the conductive plastic strips bridge the gap between copper wires, causing the door to retract.
The insertion of the copper wire was accomplished through a process called crosshead extrusion. In this case, a machine positioned perpendicular to the head of the extruder fed the wire into the conductive TPE die melt before the profile was formed.
In addition to TPE, a variety of other rigid and flexible plastic materials can be given conductive properties by using a carbon additive in the compounding process. They include polypropylene, polyethylene, ABS and PVC.
These specialty materials offer consistent conductivity and may be engineered to provide additional properties such as flame resistance.
Talk with our engineers to learn how our diverse capabilities for plastic and rubber can improve your next project.
Get more ideas. Download Lauren's Intro to Designing Extruded Plastic Profiles.