Conference explores all things ‘in mold’

IMECONAll things “in-mold”—in-mold labeling (IML), decorating (IMD) and now electronics (IME)—have expanded markets and applications for this technology. “Intelligent, innovative, in-mold,” was how AWA Alexander Watson Associates’ President and CEO Corey Reardon summarized the content of the company’s 2018 IMLCON, IMDCON, IMECON conference, held in Amsterdam in September.

IMLCON, IMDCON, IMECON alternates between Europe and North America, and has expanded its technology program offerings with content investigating the tremendous growth in the use of these in-mold production technologies in end-use market sectors.

In-mold technologies have made their entries into cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, electronics, automotive, food and beverage and durable goods such as appliances, lawn and garden and more. In-mold technologies can also be found in processes that include blow molding, injection molding (the largest segment) and thermoforming.

Interest in all things in-mold was evident at the recent conference, where Reardon opened the session looking at the scope of markets, applications and processes on a global basis. Speakers then provided context for the growth of this technology.

Arthur Erdem of label and flexible packaging paper manufacturer Brigl & Bergmeister explored innovation management. Udo Weustenhagen of thermoforming company Neibling outlined the benefits of in-mold labels and decoration in pressure-formed functional parts for durable goods. Weustenhagen illustrated his talk with a range of practical examples that demonstrated form, function, texture and color.

A panel discussion, moderated by Reardon, provided significant insights into current and future developments across in-mold markets, while a  session on in-mold labeling/product decoration brought together speakers from the value chain, including Arjobex, Berhalter, Brigl & Bergmeister and HP Indigo.

For in-mold electronics, an expanding technology particularly in the automotive industry as autonomous and connected vehicles become a growth industry, experts from Advanced Decorative Systems, DuPont, Elantas Europe, IMEC (Interuniversity Micro Electronics Center), the Organic and Printed Electronics Association (OE-A), TactoTek and TNO Holst Center probed the routes via which printed electronics present a key technology for the future.

Reardon said of the event, “It represented a coming together of technologies that will significantly impact our future. The relationship between in-mold labeling, in-mold decorating and in-mold electronics provides exciting developments and opportunities for value creation and growth across the industry. Our unique conference agenda addressed topics and issues across a broad technology base, and an ever-growing arena of end-use applications.”

AWA’s IMLCON, IMDCON, IMECON comes to Chicago in the fall of 2019. More about this event will be forthcoming soon.

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