a photo of the moulding machines

What is IML?

In-mould labelling is the use of paper or plastic labels during the manufacturing of containers by blow moulding, injection moulding, or thermoforming processes. The label serves as an integral part of the final product, which is then delivered as a pre-decorated item. Combining the decoration process with the moulding process cuts the total cost, but can increase the manufacturing time.

Material for the part is fed into a heated barrel, mixed and forced into a mould cavity, where it cools and hardens to the configuration of the cavity.

How it works…

The IML process allows you to fuse in-mould labels (high-quality graphic images) to plastic in a single step when moulding your plastic containers or parts.

  • The label is first supplied to the moulder, which then includes the label in the moulding process.
  • During the moulding cycle, the previously formed container is ejected from the mould. In-mould labels are then inserted into the mould.
  • Plastic is blown or injected into the mould embedding the label into the wall of the container or moulded product during the moulding process – displacing container resin equal to the volume of the label, about 15% by weight.
  • The label gets moulded as part of the container whereas other applications get glued onto the outer surface of the container.

Benefits of IML

  • Improved sidewall strength (Travels well)

  • Improved appearance (Great for any brand)

  • Lower costs to pre-decorating methods. (Great for shelf appearance)

  • Better squeeze resistance (Child-friendly)

  • In-case product filling and capping (Consumer preference)

  • No extra labelling step or equipment (ROI)

  • Reduced in-house container inventory (Great for total cost)

  • Reduced container weight (Lower logistical cost)