In-Mould Labelling (IML) is the integration of a preprinted plastic or paper label into the product’s injection moulding process. One of the main advantages is that printing onto a flat IML substrate allows much higher quality printing compared to direct printing on cups, boxes, or containers.
IML is applicable for a large variety of shapes, ranging from simple margarine tubs to dishwasher-resistant lunch boxes up to large-size plastic crates. Once the injection moulding is finished the label has become an integral part of the final product.
With IML the moulding and high-quality decoration of the product are done at the same time. Before closing and injecting the molten plastic, pre-printed labels of the same material family as the rigid part are placed in the mould. When the unprinted side of the label material comes into contact with the injected hot plastic the two melt together and the label becomes inseparable from the product after cooling, giving it a “no-label” look.
An important aspect of IML printing and IML label handling is control over the static electricity charge on individual labels. Too high SE-charge in the pile will make the labels inseparable. But just before an IML label is placed into the mould a SE-charge is applied to the label to keep it in position in the mould until the mould is closed and the hot plastic injected. With the hybrid web offset presses from DG press, it is easy to apply the required functional coatings inline after the printing.
DG press web offset presses are a perfect fit for the IML market, and the same press can also be used to serve other markets.