In-Mold Decorating limitations

Anyone have intimate details on the limits of in mold decorating?

It would seem difficult to use the process with fine details, but maybe that’s not the case… is there a minimum radius or recomendations on shapes that would make the process more or less successful?

It really depends on what you are making but I know we use them for compacts all the time and get very very fine detail. We always design a reveal or something of the like to hide the witness line though. You may be able to speak with whomever is molding it to see what the witness will be like. Depending on the size material and color, it may be indiscernible.

Yes to all. To get the best info you should speak with a vendor about the differences and advantages of IMD/IML. You do need to account for the fact that the depth of your molded part can be limited, and that the shape may get distorted on your part. Typically it works best for fairly flat parts or surfaces that only curve in one direction. Compound curvature can get wacky quickly.

The limitations depend upon the application. There is an unlimited number of applications so it is really subjective.

The common school of thought (for light transfer) is that the thickness of the appliqué needs to be .015 to .020, however thicker materials are used depending on the application.

While a flat surface with no radii is the easiest. You can have compound curves with radius. It is more costly and difficult, but it can be done.

There is also the potential for more scrap with compound curves and a radius because the radius line is defined at the tangents and sometimes can be subjective to the eye. Usually the difficulty with producing a complex appliqué will be reviewed between the supplier of such, and the molder for the best process.

Like I mentioned above, the common school of thought is .015 to .020, flat and no radius. We however were able to do a .060 radius on an appliqué over a curved surface area. It turned out looking great which just goes to show that using the book as a general guideline is great.

But more often than not you have to experiment with the design, resin and molding process to achieve what was previously thought to be unattainable.

Thanks a lot guys… I appreciate the expertise. I talked to the molder and it turns out the minimum volumes are a little too high for what I’m doing - I think I’ll just go for for a different surface treatment on this one. Thanks again!