Comparing ACRYLITE® cast and ACRYLITE® extruded acrylic sheet
Before describing the benefits or advantages when comparing ACRYLITE® extruded and ACRYLITE® cast acrylic sheet, it is important to understand the manufacturing process for each sheet product. ACRYLITE® cast sheet is manufactured using a process known as the cell cast process, while ACRYLITE® extruded sheet is manufactured using a process known as continuously manufacturing.
The cell cast process manufactures individual sheets of acrylic. Essentially, liquid monomer (unreacted acrylic) is poured between two panes of glass which are separated by a gasket to control the thickness of the sheet. For each sheet made, a gasketed glass cell must be assembled. The cells are stacked on a vertical rack and put into an autoclave (a steam pressurized oven) for a given amount of time, based on the thickness, for reaction and curing. When the reaction has completed, the two panes of glass are separated from the acrylic sheet and the sheet is inspected for optical clarity and proper thickness. The sheets are then masked for protection and packaged for shipment. Because a cell must be assembled and separated for the production of each sheet, the cell casting process tends to be very labor intensive.
ACRYLITE® extruded acrylic sheet is continuously manufactured using a process combining extrusion and Roehm America LLC's proprietary technology to produce sheet with high optical properties. Because an extrusion based process is used to manufacture the sheet, extrusion grade polymers are employed which have a lower molecular weight than the polymer produced in the cell cast process.
ACRYLITE® cast sheet has the following benefits over ACRYLITE® extruded sheet:
- less low angle distortion
- low minimum run/order quantities
- custom colors available
- greater range of available thicknesses (available in thicknesses greater than 1.00")
- slightly better chemical resistance
- less tendency to melt or chip during machining
- slightly higher service temperature
- more suitable for use involving continuous contact with water
- better capability to handle long-term mechanical loads
ACRYLITE® extruded sheet has the following benefits over ACRYLITE® cast sheet:
- lower cost
- better thickness tolerance
- less dirt, lint or particulate contamination in the sheet
- cements and thermoforms faster