Labelling is an integral part of packaging, designed to be eye catching and used to provide essential product and brand details to customers. Although a vital aspect of packaging, labels are often produced separately to product packaging.
In-mould labelling (IML), however, is a growing trend that is taking the packaging industry by storm. IML uses blow moulding, injection moulding or thermoforming to print and seal polypropylene or paper labels to containers during manufacturing, delivering pre-decorated products that can go straight to the shelf. A popular process for plastic bottles and containers, IML offers significant advantages when compared to other labelling methods.
How In-mould Labelling Works
The ease of use of an IML system makes for an efficient process. The printed label is picked up by a labelling robot using a vacuum machine or through a static charge. Using a static charge means that when the label is released by the robot, it wraps itself onto a tool in the shape of the container it’s being printed onto. The label is then moulded onto the container through blow moulding or injection moulding, and the product is removed from the mould completely finished and ready to be delivered as a pre-decorated item. This entire process can take as little as just a few seconds.
The biggest advantage to using IML is the cost-effectiveness of the process. As text is printed directly onto the packaging material, less resources are used, reducing the overall manufacturing costs. Fewer materials and machinery are needed to label products, as when the product comes off the finishing machine, it can go directly onto the shelf without the need for any further modifications. As IML can be a fully automated process, outgoing costs that may normally be spent on staffing and labour can be reduced as it requires no extra hands or resources. It also removes the need for companies to outsource packaging decoration, as labelling can be streamlined with product manufacturing, making product labelling a much smoother process.
With IML, packaging decorating possibilities are improved in comparison to other printing methods. The label appearance is better, thanks to IML offering higher quality graphics than other labelling techniques. Products are therefore able to look more attractive and appealing on the shelf, with the aim being to increase sales. An unlimited range of colours, images and graphic designs can be utilised in IML, enabling brands to fully customise their product labels with ease, and labels can be applied to a number of shaped containers.
Recyclable and Functional
As well as reduced costs and higher quality labelling, IML has environmental benefits too. As the label is printed directly onto the packaging material, recycling is made easier, as rather than having to remove the label, the packaging can be recycled as just one container. In an industry striving to be more sustainable, this is an important feature. IML also offers greater resistance and enhances the user experience. For containers such as shampoo bottles that are used in water, IML makes products easier to use, as the label is not at risk of getting wet and peeling off.
Available for All
As the costs for moulding machinery and labels become lower, in-mould labelling is becoming a much more affordable labelling option that reduces the need for brands to outsource their packaging decoration. As a result, IML is being adopted by more and more customers, and not just the big brands. Thanks to the affordability of IML, this growing labelling trend is soon to be available at All In Packaging, enabling us to offer customers a streamlined and complete packaging process. IML will allow us to provide you with high quality, cost-effective packaging that is pre-decorated and ready for the shelves straightaway.
*sources: fujiseal.com, astrans.co.id