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A guide to the plastics used for Electronic Enclosures

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ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS is a two-phase polymer blend that provides good all-round performance for electronic enclosures. For that reason, ABS is used in most cases in the OKW range. It is best suited for use in enclosed rooms but is less suitable for outdoor use. (Need something tougher? Specify Polycarbonate instead).

ABS provides good resistance against impact and chemicals but is less resilient when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. (If good UV resistance is required, specify Luran ASA+PC-FR).

ABS can be used at low temperatures (-20°C). It has a flammability resistance of UL 94 HB. OKW also offers a flame-resistant (V-0) ABS and transparent modified polystyrene (SAN) as well.

ASA+PC Blend (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylester and Polycarbonate)

Blending ASA with PC boosts performance at high temperatures and also increases the impact strength. Combining these plastics also provides good resistance against chemicals and weather.

ASA+PC is flame resistant to UL 94 V-0, the highest level of resistance (test samples are extinguished within an average of five seconds, with no sample burning for longer than 10 seconds or emitting burning particles).

PA (Polyamide)

Polyamide is tough, wear-resistant and has good sliding properties. It also offers very good electrical insulation properties (it is used for power tool housings and cable ties).

However, humid conditions can affect PA’s performance because it can absorb moisture. It can also be affected by acids and alcohols.

At OKW, we use PA for cable glands and also for some potting boxes.

PC (Polycarbonate)

Part of the polyester family, Polycarbonate is one of the most popular thermoplastics because of its toughness, thermal stability and transparency. You will find PC in everything from CDs to riot shields.

PC can be used both indoors and outdoors within a temperature range of -20°C to 140°C. It has a good resistance to UV sunlight but ASA+PC-FR is better if the enclosure needs to be stationed permanently outdoors such as on street furniture.

PC is not recommended for applications involving use of strong alkalis.

OKW's ROBUST-BOX enclosures are offered in PC.

PC+ABS Blend (Polycarbonate + Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

Blending PC with ABS offers not just very high impact strength for your enclosures but also resilience at sub-zero temperatures and a good resistance to chemicals.

PC+ABS is best suited for indoor use but limited outdoor use is also possible. It is flame resistant to UL 94 V-0 and can survive moderately corrosive conditions.

OKW uses PC+ABS in two handheld enclosures – HAND-TERMINAL and ART-CASE – and also our range of PLUG CASES.


Phenolharz has strong chemical and thermal resistance. It is also insoluble and non-fusible when cured.

An added benefit is the fact that Phenolharz is also recyclable and reusable.

OKW uses Phenolharz for TUNING KNOBS and POTTING BOXES.

PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate, Plexiglas)

PMMA’s main benefit is that it is infrared transparent, making it perfect for use in applications requiring remote control handsets. Some types of PMMA offer light transmission of up to 92 per cent.

However, PMMA is more brittle than ABS. For this reason, OKW uses it in conjunction with ABS sections to ensure enclosures remain sufficiently robust. OKW models which offer PMMA as an option include DATEC-POCKET-BOX, MINITEC, STYLE-CASESMART-CASE and SOFT-CASE.

PPE (Polyphenylene Ether)/PPO (Polyphenylene Oxide)

Modified Polyether. PPE+PS (Polystyrene) has extremely good mechanical, thermal and electrical properties.

It offers very good resistance to heat distortion and a high resistance to chemicals. However, exposure to UV light can cause colour changes – therefore, it is most suited to indoor use.

OKW uses PPE+PS for DIN-MODULAR CASE TYPE A flush panel mounting DIN boxes.

SEBS (Styrene Ethylene Butadiene Styrene)

SEBS is weather-resistant with good chemical properties. Not only does it protect enclosures, but it also feels pleasant to the touch – making it a good choice for handheld cases.

At OKW, we use SEBS for the intermediate rings on our MINITEC and SOFT-CASE enclosures and also for protection on our DATEC-MOBIL-BOX and DATEC-CONTROL ranges.

For further information on the plastics used by OKW, download this datasheet.

Need more help?

Get expert advice from the OKW enclosures sales team – phone 01489 583858 or e-mail us.

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