Since 1966

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Plastic Decorating

Fabric fusion plastic decoratingOur rich history includes experience using technology advancements that allow us to decorate all types of plastic parts with patterns or other printed information. Plastic decorating processes we offer include in-mold decorating, in-mold labeling, molded-in coloring, pad printing, and hot stamping. Other decoration technologies are available including dye sublimation and dye immersion. These reliable methods create a myriad of consumer product parts and packaging that you see and use every day from laundry detergent containers to parts for outdoor power equipment and automobiles.

In-mold Decorating & In-mold Labeling

Plastic Parts, Inc. has extensive experience with all types and sizes of custom plastic in-mold decorating (IMD) and in-mold labeling (IML) methods. IMD or IML is a process for decorating or labeling injection molded plastic parts or components during the plastic injection molding cycle.

Use of these methods presents numerous advantages including creating more durable, dynamic plastic part decoration and reducing development costs. We continue to develop specialized solutions with this exciting technology for a wide range of industries and applications.

Key advantages for IMD and IML include:

  • Product differentiation

We can create a unique look for products with high quality and visually impressive graphics.  High design such as the look of fabric texture, machined metal, shiny chrome or even photo-quality digital graphics can be achieved without having to buy new molds. Products can really make a statement with the ability to use flat, curved or 3D formed labels and graphics.

  • Cost reduction

IMD and IML eliminate secondary labeling and decorating operations and costs and reduces label inventory. This efficient method offers the ability to apply labels and graphics on every surface of a plastic part all in one step, unlike pressure sensitive labeling, and eliminates the use of adhesives. Productivity advantages including use of multiple colors, effects, and textures in a single operation.

  • Design flexibility

IMD and IML technology enables design flexibility over the traditional post-molding labeling method that was a labor-intensive process of applying peel and stick labels. With IMD and IML, the desired decoration is integrated directly into the product with application during the molding stage, either manually for small runs, or at high speeds utilizing robotic systems. Easy design variations can be made, even in the same part run.

  • Durable decoration

IMD and IML methods are useful in creating an outer skin on products that has different qualities than the substrate material such as scratch resistance, weather resistance, UV protection or anti-fog characteristics for lenses. Graphics become an integral part of the substrate material that won’t easily scratch, chip, peel or wear off over time. With the right films and coatings, graphics will not fade and remain vibrant for the life of the molded plastic part.

Molded-in Coloring

Color plays an important role in many plastic injection molded components. Molded-in color technology enables us to achieve color matching or produce any number of vibrant, high-quality colors and finishes that our customers wish to achieve. With molded-in color technology, pre-colored plastic resins are used in the plastic injection molding process so the plastic part emerges in the specified color and finish. This method is a superior option to painting or plating because it provides a more durable, long-lasting solution.

We use the full spectrum of colors for plastic part molded-in color, including specialty colors such as metallic, pearlescent, and metal flake. We consult with our customers on product color and decoration choices, including the cost of various color options. We also educate our customers on how molded-in color and texture options interplay in the molding process.

Color matching

We offer complete color matching services and incorporate color matching into our quality control process producing long-lasting, brilliant colors and finishes to our plastic parts. Molded-in color matching results in a lower final part cost and faster part production compared to traditional methods.

Our color matching process begins with a customer-supplied sample or a Pantone color selection. We work with reputable colorant vendors to provide sample color chips for customer verification, followed by a molded sample that is verified and approved by the customer. FDA & NSF compliant molded-in coloring and flame-retardant grades are available.

With our high-quality process where coloring is integrated into the plastic molded part, there are no paint scratching or peeling issues and the finished product withstands even the harshest of environments. This environmentally-friendly manufacturing process eliminates or reduces environmental impact producing less scrap and eliminating the need for secondary painting.

Pad Printing

Pad printing is the most versatile decorating method we offer, allowing us to decorate nearly any type of plastic in any shape. It is the method of choice whenever difficult shapes must be printed or text with tight registration is required. The flexibility of this decoration method allows product designers to focus on increasingly unique design aesthetics.

Pad printing plastic parts is replacing the application of industrial labels, especially when short-run, quick-change labels are required. Our customers are enjoying the benefits of applying printed information directly to the product, saving them time and money. This is especially cost-effective for one- or two-color applications.

Using your custom artwork and clichés, we provide a full array of pad printing services – single color, in-line multicolor pad printing, rotational pad printing, and automation for high volume pad printing projects – all in a variety of colors. We fully manage pad printing operations from start to finish, ensuring a successful outcome, even for intricate applications. Our skilled pad printing technicians have in-depth knowledge of what it takes to deliver consistent quality in pad-printed products that exceed customer expectations.

Hot Stamping

Hot stamping can be an efficient plastic part decoration method that achieves high-end results. Like pad printing, when important graphics or critical product information is accommodated during the design phase, quicker production and lower costs are realized.

Hot stamping is used to decorate raised areas, also known as tipping, where a heated die applies pressure to a hot stamping foil that is pressed against the plastic part. Foils are available in a multitude of colors and finishes ranging from matte to high gloss and specialty foils including holographic and metallic. The heat and pressure from the die transfers the pigment from the hot stamping foil onto the plastic part. Hot stamping can be used on flat and rounded surfaces, and can encompass an entire circumference or, the front and back of a surface, in one operation.

Because hot stamping is a dry process, it enables us to provide an attractive, high-end appearance on plastic parts using reflective metallic foils and high gloss opaque-colored foils – something not achievable with pad printing or screen printing inks. The unique “dry” hot stamping process is also beneficial in reducing packaging and handling costs because the decorated parts can easily be bulk packed on-line with less concerns of damage to the decorated image.