That question has energized a lot of manufacturers and designers of plastic parts for automobiles, appliances, and consumer electronics.

That question has energized a lot of manufacturers and designers of plastic parts for automobiles, appliances, and consumer electronics. They are captivated by the idea that a thin piece of film can save the mess and cost of spray painting, electroplating, foil stamping, pad printing, or silk screening.

If you saw our three-part special report in January, “Why All Eyes Are on In-Mold Decorating” (also available on our website), you have an idea of the excitement being generated by film insert decorating. If that left you hungry for more, then you’re in luck. PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY has invited experts quoted in that report to tell you the story first-hand at a “Paint-Free Color” conference on Monday, Sept. 27, in Chicago’s McCormick Place (the day before the Plastics USA show opens there).

You’ll hear all about the different types of IMD films and how to use them from Avery Dennison, Bayer, GE Advanced Materials, In-Mold Graphic Solutions, Mayco Plastics, Serigraph, and Soliant. Speakers from Automated Assemblies, Battenfeld, Build-A-Mold, Fanuc Robotics, Hekuma, Netstal, and Wittmann will discuss the ins and outs of injection molding machines, tooling, and robotics for IMD.

Injection molding isn’t the only area of innovation in IMD. Thermoformers are finding that decorative films can be laminated to thicker sheet and formed directly into decorated parts in one step. Hear about what’s happening from processors Durakon and Hendrickson International and from machine builders AVT and Geiss.

And if that’s not enough, the conference will present two topics not covered in our January report. Speakers from The Tech Group and Ube Machinery will let you in on the just-emerging field of in-mold painting. And Bayer, Clariant Masterbatches, and GE Advanced Materials will discuss special-effects pigmentation, the latest “gee-whiz” form of molded-in color. On p. 62 of this issue, you’ll find the complete program and all you need to know about how to register for this event.