HOW DEMANDING SURFACES TAKE SHAPE
In-mold labeling and in-mold decoration are injection-molding processes in which flat plane foils, textiles, or preformed (deep drawn) foils are back-molded.
IN-MOLD LABELING (IML)
In-mold labeling is used in the packaging industry as an alternative for printing molded parts with special requirements, such as a highly flexible design or when the desired print image cannot be immediately applied on the molded part. The labels are usually printed polypropylene foils only a few tenths of a millimeter thick. The advantage of IML is that it integrates a downstream process with the injection molding process. Using handling technology, the labels are inserted into the mold and in parallel the parts are removed. The labels are held in the mold with a static charge or vacuum. Standard Milacron injection molding machines already have a high injection rate for thin-walled molded parts, so that IML can be employed without additional adaptations. But the requirements on mold making and handling technology are greater.
IN-MOLD DECORATION (IMD)
In-mold decoration ornaments molded parts with a colored and wear-resistant coating. It is a broadly diversified technique used in almost all fields of injection molding. IMD can be as easy as inserting a printed polyester film by injection molding on a part or can involve a complex back-molding of textiles or pre-formed three-dimensional parts. There are fairly low requirements for the injection-molding machine compared to the handling technology, decoration and foils as well as to the requirements on mold making. Depending on the process, the injection molding machine must be equipped with controls for time, screw stroke, injection pressure, or mold cavity pressure-dependent cascading. Low-pressure processes such as foam processing or injection compression technology are also frequently employed.
For complex or time-consuming insertion or removal processes, stack-turning mold technology is a good option for reducing part costs in fabric or foil back-molding for producing one or multi-component parts. The cube mold makes use of the free sides to insert the fabric or foil, or remove the finished formed parts, without lengthening the cycle time.
Our application engineers will gladly advise you in selecting a suitable machine configuration and the optimal process sequence for your needs.