Walk into any grocery or retail store and you'll see the shelves lined with packaging that utilizes the in-mold labeling (IML) process. IML has become an important component of many companies' branding and sustainability strategies. Despite the progress in IML applications, technology and materials, it remains a niche in the overall label market globally. That was the message of Corey Reardon, president & CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Associates, in his address to attendees at the annual IMLCON/IMDCON in Phoenix last week.
The three common forms of containers/packaging that utilize IML are extrusion blow molded (IML-EB) containers/bottles, injection molded (IML-IM) and thermoformed (IML-TF) packaging. Globally, IML-IM is the largest label format with 68 percent of the IML market, with Europe using the lion's share of that at 98 percent. This format is favored for use with thin-walled PS or PP containers.