Injection Molding of ABS Plastic: A Detailed Guide

Injection Molding of ABS Plastic- A Detailed Guide

Do you know about the global market’s astonishing growth for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic?

A 2023study by Statistic documented a 9.9% increase in the global market value between 2016 and 2022 for ABS during a study. Such exponential growth means this plastic is used in multiple applications with beneficial results.

Where is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Used?

Most products we use daily or in particular industries are manufactured with injection molding processes. Because of the strength and ability of ABS plastic to withstand high heat, it is perfect for molding.

The plastic easily deals with liquefaction at temperatures higher than 221 degrees Fahrenheit. This high heating point is one of the most attractive qualities of ABS that most manufacturers prefer to use between standard and engineering plastics.

Where no other plastic is suitable, ABS will do the work. So let’s move on to this guide about the ABS plastic injection molding process.

Defining ABS Injection Molding

Defining ABS Injection Molding

Where the shining surface of a part is required with high strength to resist impacts, ABS plastic provides the best solution. As a thermoplastic, it is opaque and used in applications requiring glass but with additional strength.

Injection molding turns acrylonitrile butadiene styrene into a workable and efficient product. As a thermoplastic polymer, this plastic gets easier to handle and work with without causing any problems and difficulties for the manufacturers.

ABS plastic is heated to molten form and injected into the mold cavity. Once the plastic cools down, it is removed as a required product. Multiple ABS products can be manufactured with injection molding using different mold cavities.

What Properties Are Offered By ABS?

What Properties Are Offered By ABS

With the appearance of a resin, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is one of the most durable polymers with high resistance to external damage. However, the only flaw in its properties is that polar solvents can easily affect its functionality and properties.

The versatile properties of this plastic makes it usable in multiple processes to get the desired results. These processes include:

  • Injection Molding,
  • Blow molding,
  • Extrusion, and
  • 3D printing on FDM.

ABS’s properties are moderate compared to standard resins and engineering reasons. Anyone seeking a cost-effective resin with high-end qualities can go with ABS plastic.

Structured applications often prefer using this plastic because of its extraordinary properties at a low cost.

The benefits of ABS include:

  • Good insulating properties to use in various electrical components.
  • High rigidity for places where plastic is required with considerable impact strength.
  • ABS resists strong impact-building forces, even at low temperatures.
  • Its mechanical and high dimensional stability make it applicable to multiple scenarios.
  • Its shiny exterior is useful for applications requiring transparent yet opaque surfaces.

Advantages of ABS Injection Molding

Advantages of ABS Injection Molding


When acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is used in injection molding, it provides the exact results the manufacturer needs. Injection molding offers high efficiency, producing very low waste.

Unlike many other procedures, this method is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Variety of Applications

Different industries use the injection molded product of ABS because of its properties. Industries like construction need plastic material that can bear high force without getting damaged to work different machines efficiently.

ABS plastic gives manufacturers the desired strength to design and manufacture products for the construction industry.

Accurate Complex Parts

Accurate Complex Parts

Although many plastic types are readily available in the market, few are suitable for complex machine parts. Most of these machines require multi-featured complex parts with the addition of metal inserts.

The injection molding process gives out the desired part with no flaws. In fact, some design guidelines are a barrier to accurate product manufacturing with ABS.

Color Versatility

Color Versatility

When manufacturing a product with ABS plastic using the injection molding process, you have the option to use different colors. Adding pigments in the molten ABS before injecting it into the molds makes adding colors to the manufactured products extremely user-friendly.

However, because of the poor UV light, the colors can be degraded with intense sunlight.

Suitable for Electro Paints

These products of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene can be painted easily and even electroplated, providing additional resistance to the weather and external environment.

Disadvantages of ABS Injection Molding

Disadvantages of ABS Injection Molding

Despite the advantages of ABS injection molding, we cannot ignore the disadvantages that manufacturers face in this procedure. These include poor UV resistance, high tool costs, low output potential, and sink marks.

Poor UV Resistance

Poor UV Resistance

This plastic offers a meager resistance which means that if the products are placed in external environments, they will be damaged. Products intended to be placed outside under the sun will require additionalprotection to avoid product damage from the sunlight.

Continuous exposure to ultraviolet rays also affects the production of ABS plastic. Extra material coating may be required, increasing youroverall production costs. 

High Tool Costs

High Tool Costs

There may be a need for making specifically-shaped molds for manufacturing the products. This highly affects the overall tooling cost of the ABS-generated products.

From the cost required for making the molds, a lot of the budget goes into designing them by experts.

As such, the initial cost required to begin the injection molding process is high.

Low Output Potential

ABS plastic is suitable for generating bigger batches of products using injection modeling. However, it gets challenging if a client requires a few parts generated through the process.

The initial costs are high, making production difficult and unrealistic for both the client and the manufacturer. As such, many businesses avoid injection molding and move on to other procedures to obtain the necessary parts more quickly.

Sink Marks

The results can be highly disappointing if the ABS product shrinks unevenly during cooling. Shrink marks can form around the shrunken area, rendering the entire process moot and wasting time and labor.

The resultant product will have sink marks if the molten ABS is injected with insufficient injection pressure at high temperatures.

Thus, using a mold with high gate pressure and limited internal strengthening ribs of about 50% thickness to the outer walls is recommended.

Considerations for ABS Plastic Injection Molding

Considerations for ABS Plastic Injection Molding

Before designing and manufacturing high-quality products using ABS plastic injection molding, you should consider some important factors, including the design of the parts, drying the material, controlling the molding temperature, and the injection pressure.

Design of the Parts

A uniform wall thickness must be attained throughout the part for improved stability and to protect the parts from getting damaged.

The uniform thickness of the wall helps in protecting your product’s walls from getting stressed under the forces and weight of other machine parts.

Additional ribs are required in the walls so that the strength and stability of the product increase during the production process.

Depending on the wall thickness, you can find out the radius size. It is recommended that the radius-to-wall thickness ratio is above 0.3.

Drying the Material

ABS plastic can easily absorb large amounts of water when processing it. That’s why passing it through a drying process before manufacturing is important to reduce additional water.

If this water is left in the processing material, manufacturing times and labor costs can increase.

Furthermore, the finalized products will be cloudy, wasting the time and effort spent on manufacturing.

Before starting the manufacturing procedures, the moisture content in the plastic material must be under 0.05%. Only then will it be appropriate for efficiently manufacturing complex machine parts.

Controlling the Molding Temperature

The plastic mustn’t be overheated to prevent thermal decomposition during the manufacturing process. The chemical bonds will ultimately break with excessive heat to the manufacturing material, resulting in brown granules.

Using new and refreshed equipment contributes to effective temperature control. Older equipment tends to make it difficult for manufacturers to maintain the temperature.

It is recommended to keep the temperature of the ABS plastic between 180 to 230 degrees Celsius when performing the injection molding process.

Injection Pressure When Processing

Injection Pressure When Processing

Most plastics require low pressure when undergoing injection molding. On the other hand, ABS needs high pressure to get accurate results from the manufactured product. The high viscosity of the ABS means it must be injected with extensive high pressure.

However, an after-effect of this pressure is the sticking together of the final products. This effect increases the production cost as these products need to be separated.

Applications of ABS Plastic Molding

ABS’s ease of workability and strength make it a solid choice for many applications. To understand the actual worth of this plastic, we need to understand its use in consumer goods, the automotive industry, and the construction industry.

Consumer Goods

keyboard keys

Products like keyboard keys and bricks use ABS plastic because of their advanced properties. The shiny surface gives the various consumer products a pleasing aesthetic look and security from dirt impregnation.

These products can be produced in different colors because of the quality of ABS to accept pigments.

Automotive Industry

Automotive Industry

The impact-bearing ability of ABS plastic makes it viable for the automotive industry. Some parts that are manufactured using it include door trim, seat belt parts, and dashboard.

Construction Industry

Machinery used in the construction industry needs to be robust, and ABS is a highly versatile material that can withstand wear and tear. To that end, multiple products and tools used in the construction industry are manufactured with ABS injection molding.

Kemal’s Custom ABS Plastic Injection Molding Services

Kemal’s Custom ABS Plastic Injection Molding Services

Are you interested in getting a custom-made product or part using ABS injection molding? Look no further than Kemal.

We have over 28 years of experience in injection molding, and know the exact specifications of ABS to get you the desired product. That’s why market pioneers such as SpaceX trust us for their customized products.

If you are uncertain about the exact design of your idea, then contact our design experts. We can help you transform your idea into a finalized product.

Check out our website for a free quote on your customized product idea.


ABS has many applications in the injection molding process. The successful efforts of manufacturers to create products through injection molding ABS plastics make it a highly versatile material that warrants consideration for your design plans.

Can you think of more uses of ABS in different industries? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!


ABS is not a reliable material for producing medical implants. It can melt at low temperatures and cannot resist UV lights or X-rays.

Excessive heat can also start the photo-oxidation of the plastic and may make it yellowed and breakable.

To produce a firm and accurate product from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, you must set the mold temperature between 40℃ to 80℃.

Common problems of the ABS injection molding process include low melting temperature limit, chemical degradation at high temperatures, and distortion due to uneven plastic cooling.

Yes, there are partial design limitations to ABS injection molding when following the rules like certain wall thickness and location of the holes and different sizes.

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