In-Mould Labelling Machinery

In-Mould Labelling

In-Mould Labelling is a very popular method, particularly in the labelling of goods in the food and beverage industries, cleaning products and in consumer electronics. It is also the form of labelling used on mobile phones and laptops to adhere the brand logo.

Though in the past in-mould labelling was designed for blow moulding, it is now possible (and more widespread) to use in-mould labelling in conjunction with injection moulding, thermoforming and reel-feed systems instead. 

In most cases, the process happens in this way: The label is placed in a mould of the same shape as the packaging itself, the molten substrate (usually polypropylene) for the packaging is added to the mould, fusing with the label and taking the shape of the mould. Essentially, the packaging made from the molten substrate is one with the label that adheres to it as it sets.

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There are several clear advantages to the in-mould labelling. Firstly, the print quality resulting from in-mould labelling is of high-resolution, clear and appealing. It is a robust method, as in-mould labels are highly resistant to humidity and temperature changes, making it the ideal solution for refrigerated and frozen products. The label will not wrinkle, scratch off or crack. As the packaging and the label comprise the same material, the item is fully recyclable, requires significantly less storage (as the packaging is produced and decorated simultaneously), and is incredibly quick and efficient.

Finally, it is also easy to change designs for packaging at little notice, making it a flexible solution for multiple product packaging needs.

Types of In-Mould Labelling

Peelable In-Mould Labelling

Whilst standard in-mould labelling creates labels that are ‘at one’ with packaging, peelable in-mould labelling options offer a compromise which benefits business and consumer alike. Peelable in-mould labels are convenient for packaging that the consumer may like to reuse for storage, for example, once the product is used up. It’s also very useful when there is a promotion or competition for which the consumer must collect labels.

Barrier In-Mould Labelling

Barrier in-mould labels combine decorativeness with hygiene, with the use of a multi-layered film. The packaging is, as with most in-mould labelling, produced and decorated simultaneously, but with the added benefit of safe, hygienic protection of the product inside. There are barrier in-mould labelling options to protect the product from oxygen, and other options to protect it from light. Barrier in-mould labelling reduces the need for storage of unmarked packaging, and transportation costs.

Double-Sided In-Mould Labelling

European legislation has been in force since December 2016 demanding more detail to be given on product packaging labels covering a range of information including allergens, nutrition and origin. Double-sided in-mould labelling literally doubles the printing space you have to work with, and allows you to ensure that you adhere to legislation. Double-sided labelling also offers more opportunities to create appealing packaging design to attract buyers.

Reverse In-Mould Labelling

Rather than printing the image on the front of the label, reverse in-mould labelling puts the printed image between the polypropylene film and the packaging, increasing the durability of the label, making it dishwasher-resistant, scratch-resistant and sterilisation-resistant. There are also stylistic advantages to reverse in-mould labelling, with a range of finishing options to choose from.


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Access a full list of PPMA member companies who supply a comprehensive range of In-Mould Labelling Machines.

Common Terminology

  • Carrier foil
  • Blow moulding
  • Plastic injection moulding
  • Thermoforming
  • Thermoplastic
  • Pre-labelled
  • Reel-fed
  • Heat seal
  • Substrate
  • Heat reactive adhesive
  • Polyolefin
  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Cavitated film
  • Laminated film
  • Multi-colour screen printing
  • Offset lithography printing
  • Polycarbonate
  • Acrylic
  • Injection plastic