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In-mould labels | packaging


The ongoing appeal of IML


In-mould labelling (IML) continues to penetrate the injection moulded plastics packaging market. Growth in Western Europe – where IML technology is most fi rmly established – has seen some easing but the less mature markets of Eastern Europe, North America and Asia now present strong growth opportunities. According to Martyna Zimakiewicz, packaging


consultant at AMI and author of the company’s latest Plastics Labels in Europe multi-client study (http://bit. ly/VjoBN9), the European IML market consumed 22,000 tonnes of fi lm in 2011. She says the take-up of the technology has been driven by a number of factors, with demand for improved product differentiation, stronger shelf presence, and the development of premium convenience food products prime among them. As a result, European demand for direct offset print decoration techniques and paper labels has eroded. IML delivers superior graphics to the package but


several applications are now exploiting the ability to provide improved product protection. Zimakiewicz says multi-layer fi lms are being used to produce IML labels that cover the entire surface of the package to enhance barrier to moisture, UV or oxygen, which in turn extends product shelf life and allows for a wider logistics window. IML technology can also improve the thermal resistance of the package while improved mechanical performance offers the potential to downgauge designs by up as much as 35%.


www.injectionworld.com New functionality, together with


increasingly fl exible and affordable enabling technologies, is driving


interest in IML in injection moulded packaging production, writes Chris Smith


In Europe in particular, the ability IML provides to


create a mono-material package is also a benefi t in terms of meeting recyclability goals. “Although the recyclate is not always food grade due to the potential UV inks used, it is increasingly used for industrial products such as pallets,” says Zimakiewicz. Traditionally, IML has been best suited to longer


production runs. Daniel Kapp, sales director at Germany-based IML automation developer Ilsemann Automation says while demand continues for high cavitation IML systems offering 12+12, 16+16 or even 24+24 production, there is also a simultaneous trend to more fl exible production systems. “Some customers will accept a longer cycle time for fl exibility,” he says. Production systems that can be switched from one product to another and that allow the number and


Main image: Germany’s


Weidenham-


mer Packaging Group is among the European


leaders in IML packaging


production with a number of full-coverage barrier


applications in the market


January/February 2013 | INJECTION WORLD 35


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