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In-Mold Labels

In-mold labels (IML) have a heat activated adhesive applied to them that is activated during the application process. It is a labeling technique that is used in blow molded, injection molded and thermoformed containers. In-mold labeling is a pre-decoration technique, which is the application of the label before the container is full.

In the labeling process the label is placed in the mold and held in place by vacuum or other means. The mold is then closed and the molten plastic resin is poured or injected into the mold. The heat from the hot resin activates the adhesive, causing the label to adhere to the container. The label becomes molded to the container wall. The label appears as part of the container compared to a glue applied or pressure sensitive labels that appears above the surface of the container. In-mold labels are constructed of paper or film material, which must be able to tolerate the heat from the molding process. In-mold labeling eliminates the need for a separate labeling process, which saves the cost of additional labeling equipment and the additional labor to run it.

The label material can be printed using several different printing processes, such as flexography, offset, screen and hot stamping. In-mold labels are water, grease, weather, and scuff resistant. The label appears as part of the container and has great shelf appeal. They are used for labeling health and personal care products, toys, motor oil, beverages, chemicals and cleaning products.

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