All About In Mould Labelling

You may have heard recently about ‘in-mould labelling’ or IML as it is abbreviated.

You may have heard stories about the improved quality of the plastic bottle, the many environmentally friendly benefits of it, or even just how aesthetically pleasing the product is. You may have even looked at our IML product range and just wondered how exactly we can create a plastic bottle like that.

However, what exactly is in mould labelling, why should you care, and what does it mean for the plastics manufacturing industry in South Africa and abroad?

Don’t’ worry, you can put your curiosity to rest – this blog post will tell you all about in mould labelling, how it works and everything else you would want to know about the process.

What is In Mould Labelling?

In mould labelling refers to the process of creating a plastic product with a polymer (PP or HDPE) label merged directly into the product. For our uses as a proudly South African plastics bottle manufacturer, this means that the label is part of the plastic bottle itself, eliminating the need to print on the bottle or label the bottle manually.

The Process

Below is a basic explanation of the process of in mould labelling

  • The label is placed inside the machine mould used to create the product.
  • The mould is the shape of the product, in our case, a plastic bottle.
  • The molten plastic is added to the mould by means of injection or extrusion.
  • The molten plastic is pressurised along with the label with the mould by the plastic bottle machine.
  • The label fuses with the bottle, and while curing, takes the shape of the mould.
  • The label and plastic bottle have now become one.


The Advantages of In Mould Labelling

In mould labelling has many advantages over regular blow moulding or even injection moulding. Here are a few of the many benefits of in mould labelling when it comes to plastic bottles and plastic packaging.


Best Print Quality

Unlike printed labels or even print on the bottle itself, in mould labelling offers high-resolution images, near limitless colors and allows you to cover the entire plastic bottle if the mould allows.


Strong and Hygienic

In mould labelling is able to resist humidity and drastic changes in temperature, in which glued on labels would simply fall off. In mould labelled products are also scratch resistant, cannot crack and are not susceptible to wrinkles.


Shorter Production Time

As IML bottles are produced and decorated in one step, production time is cut down dramatically.


Lower Production Costs

There is no additional storage requirement for IML bottles once they have been produced, which many regular bottles have to undergo as they await to be printed.



Because in mould labelled bottles consist of the same material, they are able to be fully recycled, while multi-material packaging cannot. This means that IML bottles help save the environment when compared to other plastic products.


Wide Range of Look and Feel Options

The labels themselves are able to be produced with textures simply not possible with any other labeling medium. Clients may order a rough-feeling label, a smooth label or anything in between, differentiating their products on the shelf.


Limited Scrap and Rejection Rate

Printing on bottles and traditional labelling comes with a certain rejection rate due to quality and usability concerns. With IML, the machine takes the human element out of the labelling procedure and produced a high quality product quickly, everytime.


See In Mould Labelling In Action!

B&I Polycontainers is one of the few, if not the only, South African plastics bottle manufacturer to offer in mould labelling to their customers. B&I has imported machines from across the world, and created high quality moulds to produce IML bottles en-mass, to their customer’s specifications in the pharmaceutical, foods, automotive and chemical industry.

If you would like to see the IML process in action, why not pay B&I Polycontainers a visit? Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about IML or enquire about how to commision your own IML bottle, contact B&I Polycontainers today.

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