In-Mold Labels | IMDA Symposium Covers Range of Topics

The In-Mold Decorating Assn. (IMDA) held its 2015 symposium and exhibit hall October 28–29 at the Doubletree-Chicago North Shore hotel in Skokie, IL. Seventy attended the educational event, which featured concurrent workshops and panel discussions covering a wide range of topics.

During an evening reception, the keynote presentation by Paul France, CEO of Open Knowledge Analytics, looked at “The Internet of Things.” Also during dinner, the 2015 IMDA awards were presented. PFFC's Editorial Director Yolanda Simonsis helped judge the awards with Clare Goldsberry, Plastics Today, and Rob Neilley, RN Marketing. For a complete list of winners, click here.

Peter Paelinck, business development manager North America for Belgium-based Verstraete IML, said, “Every company in the IML packaging industry eagerly looks forward to the annual IMDA Symposium. It is the place to brush up on your knowledge of in-mold labeling (IML) and in-mold decorating (IMD). What’s more, you can attend interesting workshops and network with IML specialists from all over the world. Verstraete IML is very honored to have been presented with five awards on this occasion.”

Programs were informal, with presenters interacting with attendees in a give-and-take atmosphere that allowed for many points of view. PFFC was in attendance at two of the sessions.

David & Goliath: Digital Printed IML/IMD vs Conventional Printed IML/IMD

David, of course, was digital printing vs the Goliath of conventional printing. Presenters were Bob Travis of inkWorks, representing digital, and Roma Artz of Inland, representing conventional.

Digital printing, Travis said, can help a conventional printer develop a product, but if security features, authentication, or other added value is needed, there’s no point in doing it digitally.

Both agreed that digital is the way to go for consumer engagement. For example, big breweries trying to fight the rise of small craft beer companies are turning to digital printing to produce containers that make customers feel they are getting something personal.

Some of the differences between digital and conventional printing, including the cost of inks and makeready time, are fading, both agreed. Digital inks still cost more but are coming down, CTP has reduced makeready time substantially in conventional printing, and digital presses coming out at 30 in. If fact, there was so much agreement that one attendee said, “I thought this was David vs Goliath, not David and Goliath!”

IML continues to advance with speed, ease, precision, etc., the presenters noted. The process, which used to be called a niche industry and was found primarily in Europe, has experienced double-digit growth in North America in the past 15 years.

Real Chemistry: UV Web Offset vs UV Sheet Offset

Presenters were Tom Schell of Yupo, representing UV sheet offset, and Stephen Clysdale from Precision Press discussing web offset.

Running sheet allows smaller runs and easier die-cutting, said Schell, whereas the only drawback is the gauge you can run. With web processing, the gauge can go down to ½ mil, and additional processes such as lamination can be added. When using a web, inspection is needed to check for defects on the fly.

When discussing film gauge, the men echoed the conclusion of the digital vs conventional session: Thinner material can save money upfront but increases the chance of errors, meaning the process must be “perfect.”

The discussion moved to LED vs UV inks, with Clysdale noting while LED inks are more expensive now, his company is watching developments in LED closely.

Other sessions included: The Cutting Edge: Roll Fed Technology vs Cut & Stack Automation; and That’s a Wrap: Insert IMD vs Foil IMD.

Summing up the event, IMDA Executive Director Ron Schultz says, “Our attendees were unanimous in their praise for the highly educational and informative program balancing invited papers, panel discussions, and workshops with lots of networking in our very full exhibit hall.”

Schultz says big changes are ahead for this event. The 2016 edition will be held in June in Franklin, TN, near Nashville. More details will be forthcoming soon.

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