Polycarbonate vs ABS Injection Molding Processes

The injection molding process using high-quality ABS and polycarbonate can allow manufacturers to create robust, durable parts that have intricate geometries that are applicable to a variety of sectors ranging from automobile lenses to enclosures for consumer electronics and medical equipment. They each provide distinct advantages in performance, but differ on how they should be handled.

Recognizing the main differences in “polycarbonate injection molding” and “ABS injection molding” processes helps in determining the best match of the strengths of each material to specific requirements for the application and also influencing the design of molds and making production choices. The production of durable products is possible by thermoplastic molding using Polycarbonate resins.

This extensive guide will cover the top use cases and advantages of every resin, and delve into evaluations of molding parameters, tools, shrinkage rates, second-hand machining requirements as well as other aspects. Injection-molded ABS plastics can be used in a variety of applications, including housings for consumer electronics and automobile components.

The most common applications that are compatible with each Plastic Before coating molding process, it’s helpful to comprehend the typical application that utilizes PC and ABS in the present:

Polycarbonate Use Cases

  • Protection against impact is required – equipment or shields
  • Transparency, combined with endurance – lenses cover
  • Autoclavable medical components – labware, fluidics
  • Electrical insulation connectors and casings

ABS Use Cases

  • Consumer electronics house – laptops, appliances
  • Light housings and interiors of cars
  • Instrument bodies and medical enclosures
  • Sporting and toy items that need some rigidity

They take advantage of the inherent benefits of all thermoplastics.

Polycarbonate vs ABS Material Property Comparison of how well a particular plastic can perform under the pressure of injection molding comes in its intrinsic mechanical, thermal, as well as chemical characteristics. Polycarbonate as well as ABS perform well in the same applications however they achieve this performance by using distinct properties.


  • High durability and resistance to impact
  • Transparent, with light diffusion capabilities.
  • Heating and autoclave sterilizable
  • Naturally fire retardant, and high-heat deflection


  • Tensile and rigidity are high.
  • Colors and aesthetics that are appealing.
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • The cost is competitive with engineering resins

Recognizing these strengths effectively can help you identify the best resin that can achieve the physical performances.

Let’s look at how these substances actually change under the process of injection molding.

Molding Parameters Comparison Since ABS and polycarbonate react in different ways when subjected to temperatures, pressure as well as the pressure inside the barrel of injection, mold procedure setpoints differ greatly among resins, resulting in top-quality, flawless outputs.

Key Process Differences:

Parameter Polycarbonate ABS
Processing Temp ~300-360degC ~200-260degC
Mold Temps ~80-120degC ~40-60degC
Injection Pressure Medium-High Medium
Clamp Tonnage High Medium
Fill Times Intermediate Very quick
Cooling Times Slow Fast

The set-points affect the parameters of tool design the capabilities of the equipment required as well as overall cycle times component aesthetics and the other downstream tasks that are needed.

Knowing the differences here is essential to setting up production lines as well as tuning procedures that match each particular molding behavior of each plastic.

Tools and their features should also be adapted to the resin’s features under high temperature filling, packing and cooling phases during injection cycles.

Tooling Differences:

Feature Polycarbonate ABS
Vent Depth Shallow Moderate
Draft Angles Higher Standard
Ejection Pins Generous Standard
Cooling Lines Dense Moderate
Polishing Higher Optional

The mold geometry and the components adjust for the properties of materials during mold making. In particular, smaller vents stop the splashing of low viscosity PC and more robust ABS is able to flow into more channels.

Knowing the tooling requirements in advance ensures that molds produce volumes of production that are required with no issues.

Shrinkage Rate Variances The amount part of the mold shrinks as they cool to room temperature, is contingent on the material employed. This should be considered when defining the your final mold cavity and the core geometry.

Shrinkage Comparison:

  • Polycarbonate: ~0.5-0.7%
  • ABS: ~0.3-0.8%

Although the ranges are not identical, polycarbonate has a lower average shrinkage rate as compared to ABS. Yet, variables like fill rates, thicknesses of parts gates, and fill rates can influence shrinkage, and should be analyzed by using mold flow simulations in order to determine the proper size of molds.

Secondary Machining requirements Every second CNC drilling, machining and tapping needs, as well as decorating requirements differ greatly between different plastics depending on their the machinability, edge finish, solvent bonding and chemical etching characteristics.

Post-Molding Considerations:

Operation Polycarbonate ABS
Drilling Challenging Very Easy
Routing Brittle Edges Clean Cuts
Pad Printing Low Adhesion Excellent
Vapor Polishing Compatible Incompatible

ABS performs well in all secondary machineries, however PC is more complex and requires more sophisticated methods. Future applications that are driving these processes downstream are a factor in selecting the material.

Conclusion A thorough comparison of the popular “polycarbonate injection molding” and “ABS injection molding” processes highlights the strengths of each and ways to improve the production of molding by focusing on specific filler characteristics. Making sure that part geometry tools, processes, parameters, as well as secondary machining requirements with the best resin that meets financial, mechanical and design goals will ensure the success of manufacturing. In conjunction with your injection molder as well as mold maker to determine how you can best utilize PC and ABS strengths in your next plastic component.

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