In-mold designing is a method of beautifying plastics that involves permanently fusing a printed and generated plastic film, known as an appliqué, into a plastic object during the injection molding process.
This technology has generally been used because of its superior endurance, vivid colors, and ability to remove post-molding auxiliary operations. With the advancement of new materials and production technology, in-mold decoration has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
Using In-mold Decorated Polymers To Achieve Metal Looks
Even though the in-mold decoration is not a new technique, there are currently new ways to get metal looks using this method. Manufacturers have used metal-to-plastic part conversions for years to save money, eliminate parts, reduce weight, and minimize the corrosion difficulties associated with metal components.
Furthermore, switching from metal to plastic can help mitigate the increased costs of metals due to supply and tariff volatility. As a result, when decorating plastics, many producers apply the same metal-to-plastic conversion approach. Metal doorknob, symbols, and trim are frequently cleaned, plated, or painted to achieve a desired aesthetic.
Many of those looks can now be achieved using today’s printing techniques and the in-mold decoration technique. The fabrication of control knobs is an illustration of this metal-to-plastic conversion technology.
Traditionally, a knob was made with a chrome-plated, coated, or brushed metal cover glued to an injection-molded display. The circuit breaker manufacturer is also involved in making plastic molds from metals.
The chrome look is achieved at a lesser cost by substituting the metal element with an in-mold painted plastic portion, which allows for a more extensive range of plastic resin materials, some of which have conventionally been incompatible with electrodeposition or vacuum metalizing.
Furthermore, the health and environmental effects of materials connected with chrome plating or painting are eliminated. Many organizations are adopting this as a potential opportunity to satisfy their supply chain’s sustainability objectives because printing is more economical in terms of material usage and consumes less wastewater than coating or painting.
In-mold Decoration Using Texturing To Beautify Plastics
New texturing technologies can also be used to decorate and enhance plastics, including new visual appearances that may be achieved by in-mold decoration. Pre-textured films or specifically printed patterns can generate textures with in-mold decorating.
The aesthetic can include smooth “piano black” gloss, velvet, brushed metal, and even rubberized soft-touch. The textures offer complexity and sensory effect to the goods by complementing the vibrant images.
This feeling of touch is highly crucial in the consumer sector, where textures may be added to cell phone cases, keyboards, smart home devices, laptops, automobile interiors, gadgets, and pretty much any other item with a user interface.
Graphics are reverse painted on the non-textured surface when utilizing nicely textured film for in-mold decoration. The user peers through the transparent, textured material to see the visuals. This creates a vibrant image while shielding the ink from wear and tear.
This is a frequent method used by designers who wish to make their entire portion look like a soft-touch or polished metal surface. The alternate approach for adding images to a brushed metal effect if not using in-mold decorating is to print over an actual brushed metal item, which is far more expensive.
Manufacturers would need to cover the polymer with a surface coating soft-touch substance or use a silicone over-mold method to provide a rubberized coating.
Both technologies generate a soft-touch surface, but they lack the flexibility in printing design and frequently necessitate a further step to add graphics. One case is a product that many people can not live without.
When It Comes To In-mold Designing, There Are A Few Things To Keep In Mind
Even though the in-mold decoration alternatives now accessible enable a wide range of possibilities, the procedure is not without drawbacks. While a broad range of looks is feasible, it is critical to design the product with this technique in mind from the start.
Beginning of the project, bringing in skilled manufacturers may help ensure that all of the moving parts and variables are taken into account when designing a systematic method capable of high-volume manufacturing.
Injection molding tool design and material preference are critical in ensuring that the process runs well in manufacturing. Gating design and placement can differ between winning and losing, yet it is difficult to change once manufacturing begins.
A Whole New World Of Usage
The possibilities for usage are practically unlimited with the many looks and textures accessible with in-mold decoration. Customizing and enhancing these features can improve almost any user interface.
The plastic injection mold factory uses this technology in making knobs, dials, buttons, brand logos, switches, accent trim, screen frames, etc. These elements can be found in a wide variety of final products in the Internet of Things era, including car dashboards, smart household goods, appliances, medical equipment, industrial controllers, outdoor power tools, and numerous consumer gadgets.
The Seaskymedical clean room injection molding company provides ecologically beneficial, cost-saving, weight-saving, and supply-chain-simplifying advantages of in-mold decoration available to everyone.