At K 2016, Illig demonstrated the production of polypropylene (PP) cups with In-mold Labeling Thermoforming (IML-T) on an Illig IC-RDML 70 automatic forming machine with 18-up mold.
Currently, Illig is the only machine manufacturer to offer IML-T with all relevant, optimally synchronized technology modules completely from one source.
An IC-RDM 70K automatic roll-fed machine, forming area 680x300mm, with RDML 70b IML unit, illustrated IML-T technology at its stand. The 18-cavity tool has an hourly output of approximately 17,280 rectangular PP cups. They are decorated in brilliant photo quality on all four side walls and the bottom directly during forming.
A specifically designed IML unit removes the printed blanks (labels) from a magazine and places them in the mold cavities in the forming station of the thermoformer. During the subsequent forming process the label bonds true to contour and permanently with the part wall.
Principally, the pack can be designed without limitations, from cup-shaped through to tray-shaped. The large decoration area is a special benefit provided by IML-T technology.
Moreover, the label can even add to increased pack rigidity, subject to geometry and quality. Consequently, the thickness of the material used can be reduced (saving of material costs) and still the required top load of the pack is maintained.
A further benefit provided by Illig’s IML-T technology is the fact that every mold cavity can be equipped with an individually printed label, and a label change can be performed fast and with only low effort.
All standard materials, such as polystyrene (PS) and PP labels through to paper labels, can be processed. Cleanly separable packs can be realized.
Thermoforming machines of the RDM-K series are designed specifically for economical production of cups of different sizes and shapes out of thermoplastic material.
Frequently they are employed as in-line systems with upstream extruder, e.g. for large-volume production of drinking cups in millions of numbers. The machines are equipped with the Illig Intelligent Control (IC) concept, so the high capacity of these servo-driven thermoformers can be utilized easily, reliably and fast to the full extent.
Illig IML-T technology is also integrated in form-fill-seal (FFS) lines especially in the dairy industry, which allows for synchronous filling and packing of product families. Product changes can be performed fast and with only low effort. Thanks to multi-lane equipment of the FSL 48, product families can be filled, i.e. different flavors with corresponding labels.