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In mould decoration (IMD)

Rosti demonstrates its concept to reality philosophy with in mould decoration (IMD) manufacturing

Within the field of injection moulding, in mould decoration is not a new technology. In fact it has been used for decades in a number of industries, typically within the automotive and electronics sectors.

For Rosti the journey into this realm started with a close analysis of the significant resources dedicated to post process decoration. This activity resulted in a much longer supply chain and increased the potential for defect risks into the process. Engineers at Rosti turned their attention to in mould decoration (IMD), a vertically integrated decoration process that could achieve the current part specifications, reduce operational costs and streamline the production process.

What is IMD?
Essentially in mould decoration (IMD) is a process for decorating injection moulded plastic parts or components during the plastic injection moulding cycle. The decoration is an integral part of the final product, creating a fully decorated item at press. In this process, (1) a pre-printed label or decorated film is inserted in the open plastic injection mould and (2) held in place via vacuum ports, electrostatic charge, or other method. (3) When the mould is closed, plastic resin is injected into the mould, encapsulating the artwork permanently within the finished part. (4) A new pre-printed label or decorated film is inserted as the decorated plastic component is released.

 

The difference between IMD and IML
There is a certain degree of misalignment surrounding in mould decoration and in mould labelling and the terminology used between customers and suppliers tend to differ. Rosti’s approach is very clear;

  • In mould decoration (IMD) – is a reel to reel process with a continuous printed ink on a polymer carrier.
  • In mould labelling (IML) – is the application of die-cut labels that are introduced to the moulding process.

The critical difference is that decoration material for IMD is a continuous process and for IML it is part by part.

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Customer advantages of IMD

  • Freedom of design – with IMD customers
    can achieve much more elaborate and bespoke patterns than can be achieved
    with mass production painting
  • Due to the continuous process that is employed by Rosti and the elimination of secondary operations the supply chain can
    be significantly reduced
  • No secondary operations are required, eliminating post moulding decorating labour and equipment costs
  • High tech solution that is difficult to copy/counterfeit, this process requires significant development and the production tolerances are very tight

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