ABS painting in practice – what for, why and how?

Do you want to learn how plastics, including ABS, are painted in practice? It is the most common material used to produce housings, components for household appliances and electronics, and many other products requiring painting. ABS varnishing involves applying a liquid varnish coating to plastic products, followed by drying and seasoning in appropriate conditions. Thanks to this, the surface of the finished element is highly aesthetic, durable and resistant to mechanical damage.

Painting plastics, including ABS – how to do it right?

To properly cover ABS plastic with a new varnish coating, proper surface preparation is crucial. Only then can we guarantee that the finished products will be durable, aesthetic and will retain their perfect appearance for longer. ABS material is a material that is sensitive to high temperatures and can be easily damaged. Despite this, it is a frequently used raw material in the manufacturing, industrial, cosmetic and automotive industries.

Before you start painting plastic, you must first determine what type of varnish will be suitable for such material. In the case of ABS raw material, we recommend conventional, two-component thinner-based varnishes, which are characterized by a high level of durability and are easy to apply.

The entire step-by-step ABS painting procedure is as follows:

  • preparation of the surface of the material to be painted – if the raw material is properly processed, no degreasing, matting or smoothing processes are used. It is enough to remove superficial dirt using high-pressure ionized blowing guns.
  • we fasten the parts on appropriate equipment, remembering not to fasten them in a strut manner or in any way that may cause stress on the material – this causes distortion of the material when the parts go to the dryer. ABS plastic has a low pour point and often the elements are thin-walled, which significantly increases the risk of deformation.
  • then we neutralize the electrostatic charge so that the parts do not attract new contaminants – we use ionization devices for this purpose.
  • the next stage of work is to apply filler varnish – if the material has any unevenness, light scratches or other defects.
  • then the actual painting process is carried out. It is best to do this using a professional paint sprayer. Thanks to this, the paint will be evenly distributed over the surface of the ABS elements.
  • the next step is to dry the coating – the time and temperature depend on the varnish used, so follow the instructions given in the technical data sheet.
  • the last stage is seasoning – the paint coating is no longer wet after drying, but at this stage it has not yet acquired the target resistance. Normally, 24 hours of seasoning at room temperature is required before the parts are packed and transported. Curing of the coating usually takes about 10 days – after this time resistance tests can be performed.

The final ABS product with a paint coating will retain its aesthetic appearance even for many years and will be much more resistant than raw ABS.

ABS material – does it have any disadvantages?

Unfortunately, ABS plastic has some disadvantages that need to be mentioned clearly. Despite the widespread use of this raw material in many industries, there are several disadvantages resulting from the use of ABS. The most important are:

  • poor resistance to UV radiation – mainly for this reason, ABS varnishing is such a commonly used method of protecting the finished product. Raw ABS often turns yellow when exposed to sunlight. After covering it with a UV-resistant varnish coating, it will retain its appearance for years.
  • low resistance to chemicals,
  • poor dielectric strength,
  • softness of the material, susceptibility to any mechanical damage, including scratches,
  • inflammability

ABS plastic has many disadvantages that are worth knowing before deciding to use such a raw material for the production of, for example, automotive equipment elements. Other, equally important disadvantages of ABS plastic are:

  • visible flow lines and connection of the material,
  • visible scratches,
  • grease,
  • visible injection points and places after ejectors.

Of course, such problems can be dealt with at the stage of painting the surface.

Painting ABS and plastics – when does it make sense?

Professional painting of plastics, including ABS, is a beneficial method of protecting the material against possible damage and the effects of unfavorable external conditions. A product covered with a varnish layer is not only more resistant to various harmful factors, but we also gain the opportunity to decorate our products in a unique way, including giving them not only various colors and gloss, but also tactile effects (including suede soft-touch, rough structure , satin delicate to the touch, slippery glossy coating and others).

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