The Evolution Of Extruders From Single Screw To Meshing Twin Screw


Extruders are essential machines in the polymer and food processing industries, as they enable the continuous production of products with consistent properties. The evolution of extruders from single screw to meshing twin screw has been driven by the need for higher productivity, better mixing, and increased versatility. In this article, we will explore the development history of extruders, how they were born and evolved, and why the industry was born.

The Development History of Plastic Extruder

The history of plastic extrusion dates back to the 19th century, when the first patent for an extrusion process was granted in 1820 to Thomas Hancock, an English inventor who developed a method for extruding rubber.

In the early 20th century, plastic extrusion began to be used on a larger scale, primarily for the production of plastic tubing. The first plastic extrusion machine was invented in 1935 by Paul Troester, a German engineer who developed a screw extruder that allowed for more consistent and efficient extrusion of plastic materials.

During World War II, plastic extrusion technology was further developed and refined for military applications, such as the production of plastic tubing for aircraft hydraulic systems. After the war, plastic extrusion became increasingly popular for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, including the production of plastic bags, pipes, and packaging materials.

In the 1950s and 1960s, new types of plastics were developed that were better suited for extrusion, such as polyethylene and polypropylene. These materials allowed for faster and more efficient extrusion processes, and opened up new possibilities for the creation of complex shapes and designs.

Today, plastic extrusion is a highly advanced and sophisticated manufacturing process, with a wide range of applications across many industries. Modern extruders can produce a variety of products with incredible precision and efficiency, using a wide range of plastic materials and advanced technologies like co-extrusion and multi-layer extrusion.

Single Screw Extruder

Single screw extruders are the simplest and most widely used type of extruder. They consist of a single rotating screw inside a heated barrel, which melts and transports the material through a die to create a product of a specific shape. Single screw extruders are typically used for processing thermoplastics, such as PVC, PE, and PP, and can be equipped with different types of screw designs to achieve different mixing and conveying properties.

The early single screw extruders were used to manufacture lead pipes and were made of cast iron. However, as the demand for plastics grew, extruders were adapted to process these materials. The first plastic extruder was developed in the 1930s and was used to produce PVC film. This machine consisted of a single screw rotating inside a heated barrel, which melted and transported the material through a die to create a product of a specific shape.

Over time, single screw extruders were improved to meet the demands of the industry. One significant development was the introduction of different screw designs, which allowed for more precise control over the processing parameters such as mixing, melting, and conveying. Today, single screw extruders can be equipped with various screw designs, such as barrier, grooved, and mixing screws, to meet specific processing needs.

Twin Screw Extruder

Twin screw extruders were developed in the 1930s as a way to improve the mixing and processing of materials. They consist of two intermeshing screws that rotate in the same or opposite directions inside a heated barrel. Twin screw extruders offer several advantages over single screw extruders, including better mixing, increased output, and improved processing of high-viscosity materials. Twin screw extruders can be further classified into co-rotating and counter-rotating designs, depending on the direction of screw rotation.

Triple Screw Extruder

The first triple screw extruder was invented in the 1970s by Werner & Pfleiderer, a German company that specialized in the production of extrusion equipment. The new machine was designed to overcome some of the limitations of traditional single screw and twin screw extruders, such as poor mixing performance and limited throughput rates.

The triple screw extruder features three intermeshing screws that rotate in the same direction, allowing for much more efficient and thorough mixing of the plastic material. This results in a more homogenous and consistent product, with fewer defects and impurities.

Over the years, the design of triple screw extruders has been further refined and improved, with advances in materials, control systems, and other technologies. Today, they are widely used in the plastics industry for a variety of applications, from the production of food packaging to the manufacture of medical devices.

In addition to their superior mixing capabilities, triple screw extruders also offer other advantages, such as higher throughput rates, better temperature control, and greater flexibility in terms of the types of materials that can be processed. They are also more energy-efficient than traditional single screw and twin screw extruders, making them a popular choice for companies looking to reduce their environmental impact and operating costs.

Conical Twin Screw Extruder

The history of conical twin screw extruders can be traced back to the 1960s, when a German company named Battenfeld introduced the first machine of this type. This early version of the conical twin screw extruder was designed to overcome some of the limitations of traditional single screw extruders, such as poor mixing and homogenization of the plastic material.

Over time, the design of conical twin screw extruders has been refined and improved, with advances in materials, control systems, and other technologies. One of the key features of the modern conical twin screw extruder is its ability to provide highly efficient plasticization and mixing, which is essential for producing high-quality PVC products.

Today, conical twin screw extruders are widely used in the plastics industry for a variety of applications, such as the production of PVC pipes and profiles, window frames, and decorative trims. They are highly versatile machines that can process a wide range of materials, from rigid PVC to soft and flexible compounds.

Meshing and Non-Meshing Twin Screw Extruder

Meshing twin screw extruders feature screws that intermesh with each other, while non-meshing twin screw extruders have screws that do not touch. Meshing twin screw extruders offer better mixing and conveyance properties than non-meshing twin screw extruders, making them suitable for a wider range of materials and applications.

The Future of Extruders

Extruders will continue to evolve in the future, driven by the need for higher productivity, improved product quality, and more sustainable processing. Some of the emerging trends in extruder technology include the use of advanced control systems, smart sensors, and artificial intelligence to optimize the processing parameters and reduce waste. Extruders are also expected to play a key role in the development of new materials, such as bioplastics and nanocomposites, material lightening which require specialized processing equipment.

Worldwide famous twin screw extruder manufacturers

  1. Coperion

As the leading manufacturer of twin screw extruder in the world, Coperion is well known to everybody involved in the plastic industry. They have three different types of twin screw extruders available for different customers, ZSK, STS and CTE

  1. Leistriz

Leistriz is also one of the most popular and famous twin screw extruder supplier in the world. With good extruder performance, Leistriz has done great job in this industries.  Their main types of twin screw extruders are ZSE-MAXX and ZSE-CC

  1. Maris

As a traditional twin screw extruder supplier, MARIS is capable of providing professional twin screw extruders for customers. With their rich experiences in the polymer processing, Maris twin screw extruder can give you an ideal solution for your applications.


JSW & SM PLATEK is a professional brand to supply good quality twin screw extruder for different polymer applications. JSW bought SM PLATEK to expand its market share few years ago.

  1. Comac

COMAC is a professional producer of twin screw extruders from Italia. Good at providing customized twin screw extruders for specific applications.

  1. ECMA

ECMA is also a well-know manufacturer of twin screw extruder in the world.

  1. Thyssen

Thyssen twin screw extruders give quite good quality for your polymer compounding.

  1. Steer

 A giant twin screw extruder manufacturer in India, they can provide good quality twin screw extruders for your applications.

Something you have to know about COWELL

Who we are?

COWELL is a professional supplier of twin screw extruder in China. We committed to make good quality twin screw extruders for our valued customers all over the world. The whole team has more than 15 years working experience in the extruder industry, who has pretty much experiences in polymer processing, extruder designing, as well system building.

What we can do?

COWELL can provide you high quality twin screw extruder, single single screw extruder, under water pelletizer, spare parts for twin screw extruder not only for Chinese extruders, but also for European extruders.  Furthermore, in order to contribute to the environment protection, COWELL team is trying his best to innovate more eco-friendly materials to reduce the damage to the earth, foam extrusion is one of our great result achieved. We have successfully made XPS with CO2 foam, XPET foam and XPLA foam. Bio-degradable materials will be top topic in the 21 century.

What we are expecting for the future?

The technology is changing rapidly day by day, month by month.  COWELL team will continue its innovation of twin screw extruder solutions under the industrial 4.0,making it more intelligent, more reliable and more energy-saving. Meanwhile, we expect that we can make improvement together with our customers. Helping each other to grow in their industries. 


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