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Resin Types: ABS vs. HDPE vs. TPU Injection Molding

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer (TPU) are commonly used thermoplastic polymers — a plastic material that becomes pliable or moldable at an elevated temperature and solidifies once it has cooled — used in injection molding projects.

Considering the benefits of ABS, HDPE and TPU injection molding can help you determine which are the best injection molding materials to meet your project needs.

ABS Injection Molding

ABS injection molding is often used to manufacture sporting goods, medical devices and industrial applications. So, how do you make ABS plastic molds? It’s easy to get the raw materials for, is considered to have good overall performance, it’s inexpensive, and ABS is among the most common plastic resins used for injection molding manufacturing.

A commodity resin, ABS is a suitable choice for producing inexpensive and strong plastic that will hold up against external conflict. ABS injection molding is resistant to humidity, temperature and frequency of use, making it a top choice among injection molding materials. It’s even resistant to most oils and acids, making it popular for furniture, packaging and toys.

ABS is a top choice in 3D printing and is the standard injection molding method for making prototypes.

HDPE Injection Molding

HDPE injection molding is made from the polymerization of ethylene. Its strength-to-density ratio is superb, designating it a standard choice in the manufacturing of water bottles, milk jugs, plastic envelope mailers, piping and food storage containers.

Another inexpensive commodity resin, HDPE plastic for injection molding is melted into a moldable state and is then transferred into the cavity of the mold once it has reached the correct temperature to meet your HDPE injection molding needs. Note that as soon as it’s in the cavity, it begins hardening quickly. HDPE is popular for its customization control and is among the most efficient choices for injection molding manufacturing.

TPU Injection Molding

TPU injection molding is best suited for applications that require the elasticity of rubber with high tear strength. TPU is elastic, can be painted, performs well at high temperatures, and is resistant to water, fuel and chemicals. TPU also needs little or no compounding.

TPU injection molding is popular in the manufacturing of sporting goods, medical devices and is a favorite for use in automobile manufacturing. An engineering resin, TPU is pricier than working with ABS or HDPE.

Glass Alternative Resin

There’s another injection molding resin type you may want to look at if you require an alternative to glass: polycarbonate injection molding. Polycarbonate is a lightweight resin that is pliable and has a natural UV filter.

An engineering resin, polycarbonate is an amazing alternative to glass, as it’s transparent and resistant to cracks and breaks. From manufacturing light fixtures to eyewear and medical devices, polycarbonate injection molding is a popular resin type. However, polycarbonate is not always preferred, since it’s prone to scratching.

Want to learn more about ABS, HDPE, TPU or polycarbonate injection molding, or ready to get started on your own injection molding prototype? Contact our experts to start your project today!

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