In-mold labeling refers to the process that firstly prints the layout on a plastic film and then molded with resin inside a mold, so as to get a final product with mechanical structure and printing done at once.
The advantage of IML is to generate mechanical structure and printing together only in molding process. Printing (several times) after molding is no longer necessary.
It is the most versatile process for high-tech surface design: In molding labelling (foil back-molding), besides almost endless décor variations using screen printing technology. It also offers many possibilities with regard to functionality, for example: disappearing effect. The shielding of electric fields. Partial gravening or scratch resistant coating.
Comparison between IML and traditional molding and printing process
- Lower cost: Operation cost, equipment cost and scrap is zero for post-processing (since no post-processing in IML). It is also no need to set up expensive sewage treatment machine.
- More reliable on printing quality (wear and chemical resistance): Print artwork is isolated from exterior physical and chemical attack since it is embedded in-between film and molded part.
- Smart printing effect: Printing is proceeded on flat film and hence product shape is no longer the restriction on printing. It is possible for us to make smart printing effect though multi-layer printing (Black-in-whole effect, gradual fading effect…etc.), which could not be done by traditional printing on the molded part.