Concerns over White ABS?

Engineering is concerned about my spec of a bright white for an ABS+PC medical device housing. ABS naturally comes in off white and requires an additive to make white. They claim it will stain over time (particularly when exposed to cleaning agents and other hospital nastiness) and negatively impact it’s molding performance and durability.

What’s your experience? Any nasty examples?

We all know Apple is using glossy bright white thermoplastics (PSE?) in the Macbook, power supplies, Hi-Fi etc. Are these Apple products less durable as a result? Does anyone have examples of them degrading/staining over time? Any white medical devices out there that look particularly nasty over time?

How about glossy vs. satin finished in terms of wear?

OK folks, any comments here?

I would guess UV stabilizers would help contol some of that. I know that the PC in the ABS/PC is prone to yellowing, but I would expect that straight ABS would be less likely to yellow, but someone should comment that has produced a product in white ABS…



Have you personally spent any time in a hosital recently? I just did a week languishing in a four-patient ward while my wife recuperated from unexpected complications from an elective hysterectomy.

Not a pretty sight. Lots of ‘white’ on what was supposed to be white appliances. Most community hospitals are currently understaffed and maintenance standards are dropping as a result of cost saving efforts.

I would have to say that the appliances supporting the patients in the ward my wife was in recieve(d) less cleaning than my cooktop at home does. i.e., staff barely had time to change and program intravenous distribution machines, let alone clean their external surfaces. Maintenance only had time for bathrooms and floor cleaning (vertical and horizontal surfaces (walls and furniture) were never cleaned during the period of time that I attended my wife).

If it can, it will … stain that is. On a positive note; it would provide verification that the equipment needed cleaning. It wouldn’t necessarily mean that the device would be cleaned, just that it needed it.

Given the recent national network coverage about the increasing resistance of surface borne bacteria to standard janitorial cleansers, I would expect the next generation of “Mr. Clean” to be an order of magnitude stronger … as well as it’s attendant effect on plastics.

What got to me, personally, was that while we were in a hospital the overall impression was one of uncleanliness. Not a good feeling when you can not leave on your own. My wife received excellent care and is fine now, but her experience was not a good one.

I have had several parts injection molded in white ABS, end products are installed in medical labs doing wet chemistry. No problems going on 10 years.