In-Mold: A Changing Market

An estimated 200 million sq m of in-mold-labeling materials were used in North America in 2003 — and volume growth continues at an estimated 4%/annum. More than half the market is focused on film materials.

The process — often preferred for larger-sized containers with large labels — has both strengths and weaknesses. Capital and set-up costs are high, and the process is suited only for plastic containers (and limited container geometry), but material costs are low, it is cost-effective for high-volume runs, and it gives excellent label durability and “squeeze resistance.”

Ron Schultz, president and CEO of RBS Technologies, has made in-mold labeling his specialty. He says, “In-mold labeling of injection-molded containers and other products is finally making its mark in North America. Unlike extrusion blow-molding [EB-IML], injection-molding does not require adhesive coating of the label, but label and substrate must be compatible materials as they are fused together by the heat of the injection process.”

While injection-molding still has only 5% of the market, it is certainly expanding the North American marketplace for in-mold labeling.


RBS Technologies' 12th International In-Mold Labeling Conference, IMLCON2004, organized with AWA Conferences, takes place at the J.W. Marriott Camelback Inn, Scottsdale, AZ, October 11-13. It is reportedly the only conference dedicated to in-mold labeling markets and technology. Full conference information, including a detailed program, is available online at rbstechnologies.com/imlcon2004 or awa-bv.com.


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