Polycase has long been known as a leading U.S. manufacturer of plastic enclosures, and some of our most popular enclosures are made from a durable and cost-effective material called ABS plastic. But you might be wondering: What is ABS plastic?
That’s the question we’ll explore in this article. Our enclosure experts will provide an introduction to ABS plastic, explore its properties and discuss why ABS plastic enclosures could be right for your application.
ABS, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a thermoplastic polymer with impressive strength, impact resistance and temperature performance properties. The automotive, electronics and telecommunications sectors have relied on ABS durability and performance for decades.
Thermoplastic polymers are useful because they become flexible (or moldable) above a specified temperature and solidify when cooled. That’s why thermoplastic polymers like ABS plastic are widely used in the process of injection molding. In addition, the characteristics of ABS make it especially useful for polycarbonate enclosures.
ABS boxes are impact-resistant and durable, offering a unique blend of properties not found in many industrial protective materials, such as traditional electrical enclosures. ABS, in contrast to polycarbonate (PC), is highly responsive against impact forces. These features have made it a popular choice for applications that require ample toughness and efficiency in handling extreme shock values. The ABS compound is highly durable and features exceptional dimensional stability. Its flexibility will not distort its structural integrity when exposed to intense external forces. Despite its durability, ABS enclosures are extremely easy to CNC machine cutouts, screw holes, and more, making it commonly used in the world of electronics where box modifications are frequently necessary to accommodate connectors, switches, LEDs, etc.
ABS plastic is also one of the most cost-effective materials available today. It’s substantially less expensive than other popular manufacturing plastics like polycarbonate, which makes it ideal for large runs of consumer electronics and other projects that need to keep a close eye on material costs.
It’s important to note that ABS enclosures aren’t right for every use. For example, ABS is not inherently UV stable without added stabilizers, so it’s not usually a good choice for outdoor enclosures. However, for indoor enclosure applications, ABS can be a highly cost-effective and reliable choice.
Polycarbonate, on the other hand, is a thermoplastic material valued for its transparency, heat resistance capabilities, and high tensile strength. Polycarbonate offers advanced mechanical properties that can withstand a wide range of temperatures. When you incorporate polycarbonate into an ABS PC blend, you’ll acquire improved heat resistance, enhanced dimensional stability, and increased strength.
The merged ABS PC plastic blend exhibits efficient qualities like rigid strength, heat resistance, and improved impact enhancement. This material delivers a high level of stability and can respond flexibly to changing environmental pressures. ABS plastic works with dozens of applications, such as electrical enclosures, waterproof boxes, and other critical industrial requirements.
ABS PC materials effectively combine ABS and PC plastics to form the ideal material for several common industrial applications. ABS PC plastic’s high heat resistance means it can handle elevated temperatures without drastically altering its shape or dimensions. Its low coefficient of thermal expansion ensures that components made with this material remain stable and perform consistently across a wide range of temperatures over long periods.
The material similarly provides good resistance to numerous chemicals. As such, it can protect components frequently exposed to potentially hazardous substances such as liquids and solvents. Likewise, ABS plastic’s clarity and transparency make it an aesthetically pleasing composite since it allows for easy coloring and molding. ABS PC also provides a practical electrical insulation solution for businesses operating in the electronics sector, where component insulation and protection are paramount.
The ABS PC compound is processed using multiple methods, such as injection molding, extrusion, and thermoforming. These processing conventions translate to the cost-effective and reliable production of complex shapes and designs after minimal effort.
ABS materials are highly versatile, displaying several valuable characteristics that benefit virtually any industrial application. The reliable compound blend brings together the best of both ABS and PC plastics, as they’re both known for their impact resistance, chemical resistance, temperature endurance, reliable dimensional stability, enhanced aesthetics, sound electrical insulation properties, and ease of processing.
ABS plastic enclosures are an excellent choice for business owners looking to protect valuable electronic equipment. The plastic is as sturdy as it is tough. At the same time, the material is known for withstanding intense impacts. It has a long lifespan, too, and its strength makes it reliable to use over the long term. ABS also supports performance across a broad temperature range in harsh industrial settings. Moreover, the FDA has approved its use for food-related applications since it resists chemical-induced corrosion.
When you deploy ABS in wireless-heavy environments, it does not interfere with Wi-Fi, RFID or Bluetooth signals. It’s highly recyclable and can be melted down and altered as desired. All these advantages make ABS enclosures easy to use and cost-effective while being versatile enough to work in many industrial settings.
ABS is a valuable product when it comes to cost efficiency. Typically, it falls somewhere between the price of polypropylene and polycarbonate, making it one of the most affordable options for businesses that need superior protection. Not only is it economically sound, but ABS is also simple to machine. It’s among the most flexible solutions for extreme industrial settings. ABS enclosures are adaptable enough to realize a measurable return on your investment.
ABS plastics are strong, rigid, and known for their physical impact resistance. Most ABS enclosures are roughly 0.375 inches thick, providing maximum structural stability and resistance to high force. Additives and the production process can influence the final properties of ABS, changing the plastic’s ability to withstand intense physical shocks. With its strength and resilient makeup, ABS has a long lifespan, so you won’t have to replace it as often as other materials.
ABS is a thermoplastic polymer that can handle temperature extremes. For most applications, the recommended temperature range for ABS plastic is 0 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. This range of usage means ABS is perfect for industrial applications, where the conditions can be volatile and unpredictable.
Further contributing to its versatility, ABS is highly resistant to corrosive chemicals, making it an excellent material for industrial enclosures. ABS enclosures from Polycase can easily withstand temperatures ranging from -40 Fahrenheit to 140 Fahrenheit. The composite is an excellent protection solution for demanding outdoor environments. Our enclosures are also extremely resistant to heat buildup, so they won’t become too hot to handle.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of regulating the safety of all food products as well as determining if materials can be safely used in contact with food. The material is deemed safe for use in food-processing applications, kitchen appliances, kitchenware, food packaging, food processing and medical device applications. This opens up more opportunities to use ABS plastic since businesses can use it for food-related applications without thinking twice about the safety and security of their products.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and radio frequency (RF) technology are vital in today’s wireless warehouses and distribution centers. These technologies make use of radio frequency signals that pass through electromagnetic fields. RFID tags have become increasingly popular because they can register without being in the same line of sight as the reader.
Since these wireless signals rely on electromagnetic fields, some warehouse materials may interfere with their movements. ABS plastic is, therefore, an excellent solution for wireless industrial settings because it won’t impede the movement of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and RF. Our ABS enclosures are ideal for connected warehouses and distribution centers because they give you peace of mind in knowing the signal’s location along with its current direction.
ABS enclosures resist damage caused by oil, salt and many other chemicals. This means they won’t become brittle or crack no matter how challenging your environmental conditions. Marine applications can especially benefit from the enclosures, and ABS enclosures are excellent solutions for various food-grade applications. Many food manufacturing businesses prefer ABS because it’s easier to clean than other plastics that require frequent sanitation.
Since ABS utilizes thermoplastic, it can be continually heated to its melting point (221 degrees Fahrenheit) and molded into different shapes and sizes. The thermoplasticity of ABS sets it apart from thermoset plastic, which, when heated multiple times, will burn. ABS is, therefore, highly amenable to recycling, given its ability to be reused several times before degrading.
ABS enclosures provide tremendous structural strength and stiffness. Our products are an excellent choice for any business that needs reliable performance in a harsh environment. With a low weight-to-strength ratio, it’s easier to optimize your warehouse space. In addition, the strength and stiffness of ABS enclosures make them an ideal solution for any industrial application where environmental conditions are extreme.
ABS enclosures are highly effective at providing electrical insulation. With a dielectric strength of over 1,000 volts, these enclosures can handle temperatures up to 257 degrees Fahrenheit while still providing reliable insulation. ABS enclosures also give you excellent thermal stability and resistance against impact while protecting your critical electrical components.
Polycase offers over 20 different series of ABS enclosures, each providing a unique set of sizes, styles (such as low profile enclosures) and options available for your electronics project. If you need something for an outdoor project, we also have plenty of options for you there as well!
ABS enclosures can easily be machined and painted with UV-resistant ink to meet any branding needs. This makes it simple to customize them for personal or professional use, and you can leverage the materials used in ABS to create a glossy finish with vibrant colors that will last for years.
For suggestions to get started, our DC Series, LP Series, and XR Series are great general-use ABS boxes. They are a standard economical plastic enclosure with a large range of sizes available in both a flanged and unflanged variety.
Polycase DC Series ABS Plastic Enclosures
If you’re in search of a unique look for any application, ABS enclosures are an excellent choice. At Polycase, we rely on our years of expertise in industrial protection solutions to provide lightweight and insulated ABS plastic enclosures. While they are already completely assembled with heavy-duty construction, we can also help you find a custom solution that meets your unique business needs. Our team of experts is ready to assist you along the way, so get in touch with Polycase now to immediately start benefiting from our heavy-duty ABS enclosures, NEMA enclosures and more.