Solid colors, woodgrains, brushed metal, or bright chrome. Glossy, matte, or textured. Plastic parts are coming out of the mold with every kind of feel and finish. In-mold decorating with formable films is branching out rapidly as manufacturers seek lower-cost and environmentally friendly alternatives to paint and other secondary processes. Already established in auto interior trim and hand-held electronics, the new frontiers for IMD are large automotive parts and home appliances. As the following three articles reveal, IMD is not just for injection molding any more—it’s moving fast into thermoforming and composites.
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Injection molders looking to get in on the IMD action should ask plenty of questions: What are the mold-design considerations?