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In-mold Decorating with Formable Films Helps Automakers Trim Costs

SpecialChem / Mar 22, 2006

In-mold decoration (IMD) with formable films is a quick, efficient and relatively low-cost way to impart colors and Class-A finishes on injection-molded plastic automotive parts. It competes with the older, and still dominant, paint line that has been around for many years. But IMD, which employs standard thermoforming and injection molding equipment, is far less capital-intensive than painting stations. It also allows processors to avoid the issue of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are produced by painting operations and must be controlled at considerable expense. IMD is more than just a way to apply color. It is also capable of adding special surface textures and graphics. By molding in all these features, automobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can reduce the number of steps required to produce finished parts Most IMD films are multilayer structures. They can be classified by the polymers used in their topcoats. The most common of these polymers are PVDF, PMMA, PVDF/PMMA blends, polycarbonates and ionomers.

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