In mould dectoration IMD - Rosti

In-mould decoration (IMD)

Rosti’s in-mould decoration technology gives you the freedom to design elaborate, colourful graphics and integrate them with your product. Through years of research and development, we have perfected a method that is effective, reliable and economical.

Get in touch
Rosti - John Kidd
John Kidd

Regional Technical Director Asia
E-mail: rosti@rosti.com

Rosti - Tony Austin
Tony Austin

European Technical Director
E-mail: sales@rosti.com

Design freedom for your product

You can decorate your components with detailed images, by integrating them during the production phase. In-mould decoration (IMD) is a technique that can, if performed correctly, give your products long-lasting, vibrant graphics, without the need for adhesives or post-production printing.

For years, Rosti have researched and experimented with different materials and processes, to refine our IMD technique. As a result, we can now offer a reliable, cost-effective service at our sites throughout the world. The Rosti approach streamlines your production process and reduces operational costs, while delivering outstanding image quality.

What is in-mould decoration?

In-mould decoration began as a clever technique for manufacturing the lenses and keypads of mobile phones in the 1990s. Back then, it was revolutionary. But the technology has developed significantly since. It is now a flexible and effective technology that brings significant benefits to design and production – and it is now affordable. 

But what exactly is in-mould decoration?

In-mould decoration is a difficult technique to master, but a simple one to understand.

In a nutshell, it involves surface integrated graphics. And this surface is fully functional. You create a sealed, tactile finish that delivers practical as well as aesthetic capabilities. Key benefits of in-mould decoration include the capacity for different finishes like anti-glare, anti-fog, and anti-microbial, as well the addition of living switches and clear windows. 

In-mould decoration helps you create uniform products without significant post-production time. It can be scaled up for huge production runs. But is not just for high volume orders. We can handle all order sizes and product specifications at Rosti.

How in-mould decoration works

In-mould decoration is a difficult technique to master, but a simple one to understand. The illustration below shows how decorated finishes can be bonded on to plastic components during production.

A pre-printed label or decorated film is inserted into the open mould (1), and held in place with vacuum ports, an electrostatic charge, or some alternative method (2). The mould is then closed, and plastic resin is injected (3). This permanently bonds the decoration to the plastic component. The mould then opens to release the component (4). A new pre-printed label or decorated film is inserted, ready for the next component to be created. In this illustration, the labels are printed on a reel-to-reel film, so the next label is put in place by winding the film downwards.

In-mould decoration delivers the advantages of injection moulding coupled with the benefits of digital printing. It provides the manufacturer with the freedom to make products with unlimited appearance possibilities. 

Think about how you could use the power of IMD in your product. 

Discover unique colours and patterns, textures, and fully integrated images. Combine translucent with opaque in the same plastic part. Or mix a soft-touch coating in one section with a hard layer in another area. You can even display holographic images on your items with this technique. 

There’s a wealth of possibility in IMD with Rosti. 

In-mould decoration or in-mould labelling?

There can sometimes be a little confusion around the names used for different injection moulding techniques. At Rosti, we use clear definitions for in-mould decoration and in-mould labelling to avoid any misunderstanding. This is all part of our transparent and client-friendly approach to your work.
In-mould decoration involves using a polymer carrier, usually on a reel-to-reel device, to integrate graphics onto components. The carrier (or film) normally contains multiple versions of the design, so several components can be created from a single continuous film.

In-mould labelling involves incorporating or embedding an object (most commonly a label) on to the surface of components. Unlike with in-mould decoration, each label has to be individually produced before it can be integrated onto a component.

In-mould decoration

  • Experience new design possibilities
  • Eliminate post-moulding labour
  • Streamline production to reduce costs

Challenges of in-mould decoration

In-mould decoration is an innovative and essential technology. But the process is not without its challenges. It is a highly specialist procedure. Design and tooling challenges exist at all stages of the process. Significant project management skills are needed for the smooth resolution of the job. 

Significant time is necessary, too, for development. The number of variables and the amount of linked processes makes this development timeline complicated. And with plenty of tools involved, there is the possibility of complications. 

In short, you need a trusted partner to handle the procedure from start to finish – Rosti is your answer.

How to choose an in-mould decoration provider

Since in-mould decoration is a specialist procedure, it can be difficult to find a suitable provider. When thinking about in-mould decoration, be clear about your purpose and goals. Be realistic about your workflow and your schedules. Acknowledge your product’s unique strengths and how they can be promoted using IMD.

Some things to consider when working with an in-mould decoration expert include finding out how much capacity they have for development and tooling. Is the vendor an expert in project management? Can they provide specialist design support? Will you be comfortable forming a working relationship with the company that could last many years?

Take a close look at Rosti and you’ll find the answers to these questions and many more.

Advantages of in-mould decoration

Experience new design possibilities with in-mould decoration and eliminate the tedious post-moulding labour. Streamline your production to reduce your costs. 

And there are other advantages of this innovative technology, too: 

  • Extremely versatile uses
  • Creates a completely sealed surface
  • Works with a wide range of materials
  • No need for secondary finishes
  • Wide range of finishes can be included, including UV-stable or anti-bac
  • Easily incorporate living switches
  • No need for post-moulding labelling 
  • Work with spot colour or full graphics 
  • Can reduce the cost of moulding materials 

In-mould decoration is, without a doubt, an extremely advantageous process. Many precision parts simply cannot be created any other way. 

Having successfully contract manufactured millions of useful products, everything we produce is made with care and precision, and our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation means that you can access this most advanced technology with ease.

At Rosti, we can help make your concept a reality.

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