In mold labeling

The use of packaging as a marketing and brand awareness tool is a major demand for the beverage market. In mold labels enable long lasting bright colored communication, which can withstand harsh industrial and retail environments...


In mold labeling (IML) is used in the packaging industry as a high quality alternative for printing molded parts with special requirements, such as a highly glossy and photorealistic decoration. The labels are usually printed polypropylene or polyethylene foils only a few tenths of a millimeter thick. The advantage of IML is that it integrates a downstream process with the injection molding process. Using handling technology, the labels are inserted into the mold and in parallel the parts are removed. The labels are held in the mold with a static charge or vacuum.

Compared to more traditional options for printing on plastic returnable transit packaging, IML enables multiple colors and large printed areas on all sides at once, whereas hot foil printing is only one color and limited in surface. Design is also much more creative and can include matte or brilliant surfaces, and reliefs... really brining a full marketing role to the RTP. On top of this, IML is tamper-resistant and can last as long as the crate does.

First developed for one way packaging in the 1990’s, labels available on the marketplace could not withstand industrial environments and were fading with sunlight or the abrasive environment of washing tunnels. As Schoeller Allibert was already a top player in the beverage cart market, we took the opportunity offered by Beck’s brewery inquiry to develop a completely unique and new integrated IML process.

Components, design, printing, cutting, robot handling placing in molds, and automation were set up in 2001. Frequent washing, UV exposure, scratches, weather/climate influence, as well as high temperature (above 200°C) mechanical stress during injection modeling of the boxes, were amongst the challenges of this IML technology. Now, Schoeller Allibert has more than 10 years of  experience and improvements of IML technology and automation and we can offer either lacquered coversheet for very frequent high pressure water washing tunnels and a laminated cover sheet when a superior scratch resistance is required.

IML is widely used for beverage crates because those are shelf ready retail packaging in many countries. According to recent surveys, purchasing decisions are typically made on the market floor, so very attractive colored brand labels are required as a major marketing tool. IML can also be applied to all other industries for large volumes of boxes. Let us help you determine the best techniques for your RTP products!

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