NPE '09: New plastics labeling tech could cut adhesives use

25 June 2009 18:47  [Source: ICIS news]

CHICAGO (ICIS news)--Improved in-mold labeling materials could supplant adhesive-backed labels for some plastics, particularly durable goods such as agricultural equipment and motorcycles, a label manufacturer said on Thursday.

Pressure-sensitive adhesives, typically acrylic emulsions, are the most common technology for affixing labels to plastics, but this method produces more waste and presents more difficulties to recyclers than in-mold labels, said Tom Furey, general manager at Industramark.

In-mold labels are inserted during the moulding process, an extra step that requires more sophisticated production lines. But the technology has been picked by US and European manufacturers of food containers and shampoo bottles, Furey said from the sidelines of the NPE2009 show in Chicago.

“We have seen an increase in in-mold labeling applications,” said John Westbeld, engineering manager for tool manufacturer SAS Automation.

In-mold labels have not yet been widely adopted in the manufacturing of durable goods, Furey said, but the new materials are well-suited for this sector because of their permanence and ability to conform to curved surfaces.

“Now there can be labels where there never were labels before,” Furey said.

Global demand for labels was forecast to reach 49bn square meters in 2013, up from 40bn square meters in 2008, according to a recent industry report by Cleveland-based Freedonia Group.

Pressure-sensitive labels were expected to hold 55% of that share, with growth driven by increased use of plastic containers in food and beverage markets, the report said.

More than 40,000 people had registered to attend the NPE, which continues through Friday.

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By: David Barry
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