Decorating Plastics – Label & Packaging Solutions Webinar Recap

by Kimberly Young

Inland teamed up with Plastics Technology on a webinar called “Decorating Plastics – Label and Packaging Solutions.”  Our veteran Professor Artz, led the webinar, providing a glimpse into options to best decorate your plastic bottles and containers.   Have no fear…if you weren’t able to join us live, we’d love for you to check out the on-demand recording!

The webinar sparked some great questions and conversation that we didn’t want to keep the knowledge to ourselves!   Here is a highlight reel of the Top 4 Questions from our webinar:

During the webinar you spoke about the “no label” look quite a bit, what is the difference/benefit between using a pressure sensitive label or heat transfer to accomplish this?

Achieving the “no label look” can be executed utilizing either label type.  Each technology has their case for use.  Heat transfer tips the scale in terms of being a more costly option.  Generally, we see this being used for high volume projects since the label costs tend to be at the higher end.  The reason for the high cost is the fact that the most common print technology used for heat transfer is rotogravure.  Due to the cost of cylinders and increased press set up times, you will realize more bang for your buck with higher run quantities..  Costs aside, the benefit of heat transfer printing is higher durability and resistance to heat. Typically we see heat transfer used on products that require a high level of durability.Pressure sensitive labels, on the other hand, are a more cost-conscious option for plastic containers and bottles.  This is a label type that has grown substantially in recent years due to the abundance of options that are available.  Many brands want the “no label look,” Pressure Sensitive labels make this easily achievable with clear films. Add foil stamping or tactile varnishes, and you can really make the packaging “pop” on store shelves.  The options at your fingers tips for pressure sensitive labels are more robust than what you would find with heat transfer.

Can Inland partner us with a molder?  Absolutely.  We have established many great relationships with the molders that we work with.  In-mold labeling is beautiful and durable, and our expertise and customer relationships have generated many unique and innovative products.   In the end, this is a decision of what would work best for your product, but we can definitely point you in the right direction.

Does Inland offer the warping/distortion services you mentioned are needed for shrink sleeves?

Absolutely.  It is all part of the process.  Inland has a prepress team that is well versed and trained to adjust artwork for our customers.  The warping or distortion that is required with IML labels or shrink sleeve labels are a critical component to ensure that the end product is created correctly.  In addition to distortion for shrink sleeves, we are able to provide a 3D proof that shows what the final product will look like once it is applied and shrunk to the bottle or container.  3D proofs allow our customers to go into a new product launch with confidence knowing exactly what their product will look like on the shelf.

How do incompatible label/container materials for IML impact the recycle stream?

We are using polypropylene substrates and polypropylene resins for food packaging injection molded labels.  Injection mold labels work best when like substrates are used so that the label and container can be fused together during the molding process.   Although these are “like” substrates, the container is not able to be recycled back into a food grade container but can be used on products such as landscaping borders, garbage cans, drainage culverts, pallets, furniture, and beyond.  This is also true with HDPE containers.  There are some HDPE and PPE products that have a similar melt, but in the end would need to be put into the HDPE grind again for non-food packaging.  We know that recyclability and sustainability is a growing initiative for brands globally.  Inland is actively engaging with our supply chain to learn what new technologies are available and coming down the pipeline to help brands achieve their sustainability goals.

There you have it!  A quick highlight from the “Decorating Plastics – Label and Packaging Solutions” webinar.  Inland has another webinar in store for you yet this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more information in the coming months.