Material Selection made Easy with Hymid

Choosing the right material for your product is a very important step. With so many different plastic materials to choose from, it’s difficult to know which one is best. Each polymer has its own set of characteristics and will be better suited for different environments and use cases. Luckily, here at Hymid, we’re always on hand to help guide you through this process.

Below is a list of the commonly used polymer types at Hymid:

  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Blend of Polycarbonate Acrylonitrile and Butadiene Styrene (PC/ABS)
  • Polyamide 6 (PA6)
  • Polyoxymethylene (POM)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • ThermoPlastic Elastomers (TPE)
  • ThermoPlastic Polyurethane (TPU)

 

Red Plastic Pellets on a white background

 

Properties and uses of each Polymer

 

ABS – a hard polymer best known for its:

  • Impact resistance
  • High rigidity
  • Insulating properties
  • Ability to achieve excellent surface finishes

One of the most well-known uses for ABS is in Lego®, but it’s also commonly used in electronic housing, pipe fittings and many consumer products.

 

PC – a tough polymer best known for its:

  • High impact strength
  • Good chemical resistance
  • High UV resistance
  • Lightweight
  • High optic value – most grades are virtually transparent

PC is commonly used in plastic lenses for eyewear, bulletproof/impact-proof windows, CD’s and Blue-ray discs, and it’s also used in some medical devices.

 

Backs of CD's covering a surface

 

PC / ABS – a blend of Polycarbonate and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, best known for:

  • High impact strength, even at low temperatures
  • High stiffness
  • Heat resistance
  • Low shrinkage rate – good for parts with tight tolerances
  • Easy to colour – making it perfect for coloured products

PC / ABS is commonly used in automotive parts, laptop housings, chargers and adapters, mobile phone cases and hand-held instruments.

 

PA6 – Polyamide 6, otherwise known as Nylon 6, is valued for its:

  • High strength
  • Stiffness at high temperatures
  • Great impact strength, even at low temperatures
  • Excellent surface finishes
  • Strong resistance to oils
  • Abrasion resistance
  • It does however exhibit high hygroscopicity (water absorption) and low chemical resistance, compared to other polymers

PA6 is commonly used in gears, firearm components and automotive engine compartments due to its well-balanced characteristics.

 

POM – is well known for its:

  • High resistance to chemicals (except phenols)
  • High lubricity and low hygroscopicity
  • High gloss finishes

Some common uses include ski bindings, frames for eyewear products, gun parts and lock housings.

 

PP – one of the most commonly used plastics, known for being:

  • Tough
  • Flexible
  • Food Safe
  • Ability to achieve excellent surface finishes

PP is often used in packaging, automotive parts, textiles and electrical applications.

 

TPE – is best known for its:

  • High resistance to abrasion
  • Chemicals resistance
  • Weather Resistance
  • High elasticity

TPEs are found in almost every sector including industries such as automotive, medical and healthcare, construction, instrumentation and packaging.

 

Instrument Cases with TPE Material Two-Shot

 

TPU – is best known for its:

  • High resistance to abrasion
  • High resistance to scratches
  • UV and weather resistant
  • Great impact strength even at low temperatures
  • Resistant to oils, greases and solvents
  • High elasticity

It’s commonly found in automotive instrument panels, castor wheels, power tools, medical devices, footwear and even inflatable rafts. TPU is also commonly used to give products a grippy and ergonomic feel.

 

We have provided just a brief outline of the materials that are most commonly used at Hymid and the characteristics which determine the thought process behind their selection. Choosing a material can be a daunting task, but Hymid has the expertise to assist with this, helping to optimise your product and get the best out of it.