In-mould labelling (IML) is the use of paper or plastic labels during manufacturing of containers by injection moulding.
The label serves as an integral part of the final product, which is delivered as a pre-decorated item. Combining the decoration process with the moulding process cuts total cost.
IML was initially designed for blow molding, though developments using injection molding or thermoforming with reel-fed systems have increased the efficiency of the labelling process. The original concept involves coating the reverse side of the label with a heat seal layer, followed by a substrate material in which heat resistant ink is applied to. A heat resistant coating of lacquer is then applied.
Bergen Plastics applies static electricity, charging the label while it is being transferred to the moulding machine, so that when the label is placed on the tool and released by the labelling robot, it will wrap itself onto the tool. The labels are polypropylene films, with thicknesses in the range of 50 to 60 micrometres. Multi-color screen printed and offset lithography printed graphics are used to produce products with higher quality graphics than available with other decorating methods.