In-mold decoration (IMD, as it is called by manufacturers) is a special type of plastic molding that is used for coating plastic surfaces – primarily with an abrasion resistant coat, and secondarily, with color for branding and decoration purposes.
For plastic products, IMD is an efficient, durable and cost effective alternative to painting or printing. In fact, it is now the decorative process of choice among original equipment manufacturers and other plastic product designers. It offers design flexibility that is just not achievable through other decorative processes. And better still, IMD can be used on nearly any type of plastic product there is. Consumer products decorated with the in-mold process are innumerable; just a few of them are listed here.
Pad printing, which is a printing process that transfers 2-D images onto 3-D objects, uses an indirect offset printing process that involves an image being transferred from the cliché (original design) via a silicone pad onto the substrate (object on which the ink is being printed). Pad printing is used for many types of flat and 3-D products of all shapes and textures, but we believe that IMD is a superior method. That is because IMD is:
In-mold decoration can also be a good substitute for pressure-sensitive labels (also known as PSA, self-stick adhesives, or traditional “sticker” labels). When pressure sensitive labels are created, their ability to bond to an object is dependent upon the amount of pressure used to apply the adhesive to the surface – so, what if there isn’t enough pressure applied? Other reasons why IMD is superior include:
Direct printing is also an option, but the process of printing an image directly on a product has its drawbacks as well. Printing is a secondary operation process, and it is imperfect in terms of the radius that can be achieved. IMD can extend the desired graphics around the radius of the product, and once again, it is far more durable and tamper-proof than other labeling processes.
KEE Group USA makes infinite color options available for in-mold decorations! This is just not possible with other labeling methods.