With the in-mold labeling (IML) business in North America starts to grow as more brand owners explore their options with this technology, new challenges have also grown. To help meet the growing demand for IML systems and solve the challenges that can arise with these sophisticated molding manufacturing cells, a new company has been formed.
FAME Technology Solutions LLC, located in St. Charles, IL, was formed by a group of partners, headed by Managing Partner Taras Konowal, who has a long career in the IML business. “As the market for IML applications grows there are many new players or even some existing players who do not understand the complexities of assembling an IML cell consisting of the mold, the molding machine and the automation involved, which is resulting in delays and other start-up problems which are harming the whole IML business,” says Konowal. “Brand owners see these problems and begin to doubt the benefits of IML, asking themselves ‘do we really want to do this?’”
To provide solutions for these brand owners, FAME Technology has partnered with H. Muller Fabrique de Moules S.A. of Conthey, Switzerland. “FAME was formed to focus on leading edge automation solutions in the rigid plastic container and medical markets of North America,” says Konowal. “A special focus will be to enhance IML operations for our existing client base and to grow the IML market in North America with Muller.”
Muller has unique position in that the company builds both the molds and the automation equipment, and has the capability to eliminiate the problems caused from a disconnect between the mold builder and the automation company, Konowal explains.
Rather than purchase the various components from the different suppliers, then do the assembly of the IML cell on the brand owner’s production floor, Muller provides all of the up-front work including mold design and build, material flow analysis to provide advice on the position and cut of label for optimum IML operations and other services including system qualification with in-house molding machines.
“They can run the product before it hits the customer’s production floor, so that the system is up and running within two days at the customer’s plant,” says Konowal. “On the customer’s floor you don’t have the ability to make engineering changes, do the tweaks needed due to the hectic nature of a typical production floor. It’s better to put the system together before it hits the production floor and know it’s going to work.”
FAME is Muller’s exclusive representative for the North America market for molds and IML automation systems, initially for consulting on new projects and optimization of existing installations. “The next step will be service and parts support and setting up training for personnel,” Konowal adds, stating that FAME will have additional partners in the near future that will announced at a later date.
“Muller has done a lot of different systems for products for the European market, and a lot of new things are on the drawing board we’ll introduce to the North American market,” Konowal says. —Clare Goldsberry