The performance plastics category encompasses a huge array of materials – all with their own unique qualities and benefits. Choosing the best option for your specific applications requires a basic understanding of the capabilities of each type and/or input from a reliable plastics supplier that can guide you in the right direction.
ABS is one common plastic material that has applications throughout a huge array of industries. If it’s not already in your regular material rotation, there’s a very good chance that you may have a use for this material. For those interested in learning more about ABS, its properties, and the applications where it’s commonly used, here’s a basic guide to ABS sheets.
ABS Material Properties
ABS is short for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is perhaps best known for its density and performance in a variety of environments. The material offers a well-balanced combination of high-performance properties, including mechanical toughness, impact resistance, and customizability. In fact, it can be thermoformed and fabricated using a full array of methods. This allows it to suit various applications extremely well by conforming to the shape and size needs of each user.
In addition to these qualities, ABS sheets provide stability when exposed to various conditions, including various chemicals. It also offers thermal stability but has a low melting point. This allows ABS to easily work with various injection molding or 3D printing processes. Once it reaches this temperature, it’s incredibly easy to manipulate, since it essentially becomes shapeless liquid. But it holds a quite rigid form when cooled below that point. So the material easily fills various molds or containers to create completely customized components.
Visually, ABS comes in an array of colors and finishes. However, the polymer often has a glossy appearance thanks to the styrene material. You can expect a consistent shade and shine throughout the material, no matter what shape it comes in.
Industrial and Commercial Applications of ABS Sheets
ABS sheets can be used in an extensive array of industries, from electronics to energy containers. However, its strength and ease of processing make it especially attractive for users that need a durable material for customized parts. Here are a few specific examples:
ABS sheets are commonly used in the transportation and automotive industry due to its strength and customizability. In fact, it can even withstand impact enough to be used in certain auto body parts like bumper systems. Unlike other strong plastic materials like polycarbonate, ABS offers an opaque finish rather than a transparent one. So instead of being used in windshields and auto glass, it is often employed in areas where clear visibility is not a priority. It is also commonly used in interior features like dashboards and consoles. Transportation companies can create specific shapes to suit the design and space needs of each vehicle.
Due to its ease of processing and low melting point, ABS is also quite common in the tooling and prototyping space. Raw materials can easily be added to these machines and then formed into completely custom components or product prototypes. Then the material offers strength for use or testing once cooled below its melting point. So it’s easy and cost-efficient to test new parts or create custom replacements for various functions.
ABS is also used in the production of packaging and conveying equipment. These applications also often require custom parts to fit within larger machinery or facilities. So users can create digital designs and then use additive manufacturing to create parts that suit those exact dimensions. Additionally, companies in these industries generally require materials that are able to stand up against impact from inventory or other pieces of heavy equipment. It also must demonstrate tensile strength and durability to avoid excessive daily wear and tear. ABS fits the bill on all of these fronts.
What to Look for in an ABS Sheets Supplier
If you’re interested in utilizing ABS sheets for your company’s own applications, you need a reliable supplier with quality inventory and value-added services to deliver the exact materials that suit your projects. Specifically, look for customization options like cut-to-size sheets to ensure you get the proper size and/or right amount of raw material.
Since ABS is so popular in additive manufacturing methods like 3D printing and injection molding, this service is often all you need to receive the correct type and amount of material. However, you may also look for a supplier with a variety of shapes and colors to choose from, depending on the visual requirements of your application. Extra cutting and shaping options like routing and machining can provide even more of a competitive advantage to support your operations. These eliminate the need for extra customization services later, saving your team time and streamlining your material sourcing process.
If you’re looking for a reliable ABS sheets supplier that meets these needs and more, contact Polymershapes today. We offer ABS in both sheet and rod forms, with black, white, natural, and custom colors available. We even offer CNC routing services to create parts of specific shapes and sizes. In addition to ABS, we carry a huge array of other high-performance plastics. So our team is always available to help you explore the options and determine the best fit for your organization’s goals. Once you’ve found the perfect materials for your company’s needs, our local facilities ship materials quickly and provide responsive service to answer all your questions along the way. Simply visit our website to find your local branch and reach out for a quote today.