IMD – Film Requirements and Considerations

In-Mold Decorating provides Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Molders an alternative method for decorating their plastic parts. With IMD, graphics are printed on a film, using one, or a hybrid of several printing processes, which is then inserted into a mold cavity. A compatible resin is then injection molded behind or over the decorated appliqué film, permanently imbedding it into a molded part. The result is a highly durable, eye catching part. We create IMD applications for customers in the automotive, home appliances, medical devices, and consumer electronics industries.

Film Consideration for IMD

The requirements for the film for an IMD application are much different than a standard adhesive backed label.
  • Dimensionally-Stable Film-due to heat and pressures of the IMD process
  • Film Thickness

    • Thinner to avoid gate wash
    • Thicker for use with deeper draws
IMD lends itself well to second surface printed vs first surface for more durability:
  • UV, Chemical and Abrasion resistant films will play a greater role in an IMD application
3-D IMD requires the need for Pre-Formed Inserts that may have even more specialized requirements, such as:
  • Low-stress Films

  • Hard Coating

  • Depth to Draw

Commonly used IMD Film Types:
  • Polycarbonate (PC)

  • Acrylic

  • Polyester

  • Blends & Laminates

    • PC-PET
    • Acrylic Capped PC
Lower cost standard Film Alternatives:
  • Polypropylene/Copolyester/PVC

IMD Features & Benefits:

Manufacturing Productivity

  • Eliminate secondary operations and labor
  • Shoot and decorate part for life in one operation

  • Eliminate adhesive (cost and process) can sometimes lead to lower unit pricing

  • Lower systems cost in many applications (staging, inventory, etc.)
  • Reduced inventory cost due to stocking one color of resin.

Much of the success of any In-Mold Decorating project is the early development of the chosen suppliers and the concurrent development of all materials and processes. Remember to allow enough time to achieve your goal and contact us early in the process.

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