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What is In-Mold Labeling

ABIS Mold Technology Co.,Ltd Updated: Aug 02, 2017

In-mold labeling (IML) is a pre-decorating technique used worldwide for blow molded bottles as well as injection molded and thermoformed containers or other plastic objects. It was pioneered in Europe for injection molding in the early 1970s and in the United States for blow molding later in that decade. Pre-decoration is the application of a label to a container before it is filled with product. In-mold decoration of non-packaging plastic products has become a very popular method of product enhancement that has replaced self-adhesive (pressure sensitive) and heat transfer decoration in many industries.

    What differentiates in-mold labels for blow molding applications from conventional glue-on labels is the heat seal coating that is applied to the back side of the in-mold label stock during the converting process. Labels for injection molded IML do not require an adhesive on the back side. The IML process eliminates the labeling step and all associated equipment and labor.

    In the in-mold labeling process, a label or applique is placed in the open mold and held in the desired position by vacuum ports, electrostatic attraction or other appropriate means. The mold closes and molten plastic resin is extruded or injected into the mold where it conforms to the shape of the object. The hot plastic envelopes the label, making it an integral part of the molded object. The difference between glue applied labels and in-mold labels is that a glue applied label is "on" the surface of the plastic object; the in-mold label is "in" the wall of the object.

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