Real Cost of In-Mold Labels

Noelle Daigle

Jan, 13 January, 2016

Do you remember the quote “time is money,” made famous by Benjamin Franklin? This statement definitely rings true when it comes to decorating injection molded plastics with an in-mold label.

In-mold labeling can adversely impact your cycle times, scrap rates and your overall production capacity. These are all things to keep into consideration before choosing in-mold labeling as your decorating method of choice. It is not just about the price of each individual graphic, it is about the bottom line and the hidden factors that can affect your over-all profit.

  • Have you thought about the production time and costs associated with processing an IML?
  • How about the role that scrap rates play into your profit?

Are you currently thinking about using in-mold labels and are you willing to invest in costly robotics?

To understand the true cost and efficiencies associated with decorating with IML’s, challenge yourself to take a look at the bottom line. It is our goal here at Polyfuze Graphic™s Corporation to provide our customers with the bigger picture and to assist them in increasing overall production capacity, in turn increasing profits. Please take the time to view this informational video and tune in to see how our Polyfuze graphics can do just that.

What Is In-Mold Labeling?

For beginners and those who are not familiar, it first helps you to develop an understanding of what in-mold labeling, often abbreviated to ILM, actually is. This system has been in the industry for a long time now so what is the exact process that it uses?

In-mold labeling is a method of pressing a pre-printed film onto a mold before it then goes onto a container, usually plastic. Plastic or resin pellets are heated, and these are then placed onto the mold. They merge together and this results in a single product that has been labeled as desired.

Different materials can be used as the labels including paper and polystyrene. It is also possible for this method to use a cavitated label which is bonded between two other layers, and a laminated film that can be used if the product is likely to succumb to wear and tear.

In-mold labeling has been around for a long time. One of the reasons for these molds being so popular includes the fact that it uses unique designs which can be really hard to counterfeit. For manufacturers who are worried about fake versions of their products hitting the market, this has been a historic method to avoid this from happening and it is still effective.

How In-Mold Labeling Works

A unique material is first decided upon for the in mold labels, such as paper, polypropylene and polystyrene.

The selected label is put into an open mold, placed firmly and efficiently using static electricity or even a powerful clamp or vacuum. This helps to control the printing process and keep it accurate but it is not always 100% accurate.

The plastic material that you wish to bind with is melted and injected into the mold, the material and label bind before you are left with the end-result. This can often be very unique, and hard to replicate as a labeling method.

Comparison with Polymer Fusion

Polymer fusion is a different method that people are able to use in order to create quality labeling, and it has some clear benefits over in-mold labeling too.

Polymer Fusion involves merging two different thermoplastics together, polyolefin label and a polyolefin product, part, or component. This then uses the melting point temperature, time, and pressure, in order to turn this into one final piece of polymer, and it means that there is no use for tie-layers, bonding agents or other glues and adhesives.

It also perfectly preserves the structural integrity of the product in question, so you don’t have to worry about the process weakening any of the product packaging. The polymer “inks” are printed as one single layer onto PET film, which helps you to create the ideal labels ideally and exactly to your specifications.

The Polymer Fusion Technology inks are 100% recyclable, and they are also compatible with a wide variety of different materials, too. This eco-friendly solution that can save companies a lot of money is being considered by many who aren’t already using it, and we explore the advantages of polymer fusion compared to IML methods below.

Advantages of Polymer Fusion

Among the advantages of polymer fusion include the fact that it has the potential to save money for your business and streamline production.

A lot of the other methods of printing and labeling are not guaranteed to be permanent. However, the polymer fusion method gives a durable, hard-wearing and permanent way of labeling your product, which will not fade over time like a lot of the competing options.

The video above uses a simple side-by-side comparison of 500,000 units a year, and a comparison between a system using an in mold label system versus a polymer fusion.

If the annual volume were 500,000 units, the two may have the same price on paper when it comes to a “cents per part” calculation. However, this doesn’t mean true parity and it is important that we look at the bigger picture when it comes to working out the pricing here. That means considering staffing and the hours of labor involved.

IML will usually take an additional amount of time to place the mold and pick the materials, which is something that polymer fusion doesn’t require. This method saves time, and therefore it can save an incredible amount of money when it comes to staffing times and costs. This can be as much as six seconds per unit, which doesn’t sound like a lot but once you start to do the math you will see what a huge difference this may make.

This can equate to many months of an employee’s time over the course of a year. This is money that is being spent unnecessarily.

The example in the video shows how it can be more productive to use this method as well as reduce wastage, and improve the efficiency of employees, which means a far better, more forgiving rate. It can help companies to be more competitive with their pricing thanks to these savings, which they may also wish to pass onto the consumer.

The technology is also forgiving, so even when applied to uneven thicknesses it does a great job of retaining the fine line details. This means there is potentially a far lower scrap rate with your products.

Scrap rate is a huge, potentially very costly issue for a lot of manufacturers, which means that any system they can use to reduce this is extremely appealing.

Compare Labeling Systems For Polyolefin Plastics

In Mold
Labeling
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling
Equipment NecessaryIn Mold
Labeling:
Robotics
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
VersaFlex
Machine
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
VersaFlex
Machine
How AppliedIn Mold
Labeling:
Tie-Layer Bond
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Fusion Technology
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Fusion Technology
Permanence to PolyolefinsIn Mold
Labeling:
Tie-Layer
Semi-Permanent
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Application PressureTie-Layer
In Mold
Labeling:
Semi-Permanent
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Application TemperatureIn Mold
Labeling:
In Mold Placed
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
LOW Pressure 75psi
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
LOW Pressure 25psi
Construction LayersIn Mold
Labeling:
Mold Cycle
Temperature
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
450°F
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
450°F
Compatibility to PolyolefinsIn Mold
Labeling:
†Incompatible
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
†Fully
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
†Fully
RecyclabilityIn Mold
Labeling:
Contaminant
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Fully Recyclable
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Fully Recyclable
Pre-treatment for Bond SiteIn Mold
Labeling:
No
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
No
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
No
Expected Outdoor LifeIn Mold
Labeling:
*< 10 Years
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Product Life
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Product Life
WarrantyIn Mold Labeling: NonePolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Lifetime
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Lifetime

Incompatible label construction is directly to adhesion, bonding & permanency olefinic thermoplastics. Only fully compatible Polyfuze labels become durable as as the base polyolefin plastic for longevity and permanency.

*

Polyolefin Thermoplastics are like Teflon (non-polar, low surface energy, expand/contract, outgas) which simultaneously and continuously oppose bonding and adhesion from incompatible label’sources. When exposed, to harsh mechanical, chemical & environmental inputs, labels delaminate completely or show signs of deterioration and/or failure within a short period of time. Fully compatible Polyfuze labels assume the same durable characteristics as the base same exposures for a products life use.

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Easy To Apply - Polyfuze Labeling Using the VERSAFLEX System

Easy To Apply Polyfuze Labels - Using Standard Hot Stamp / Heat Transfer Equipment

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