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AWA IMLCON, IMDCON, IMECON delivers a new definition for ‘IN-MOLD’

'Intelligent, innovative, in-mold’ was how AWA Alexander Watson Associates’ President and CEO Corey Reardon summarized the content of the company’s 2018 IMLCON, IMDCON, IMECON conference, held in Amsterdam this year in September (and alternating between Europe and North America).

This established event in the company’s calendar featured unrivalled, expanded program content investigating the tremendous growth in the use of in-mold production in end-use market sectors as diverse as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and automotive. The agenda spanned not only in-mold labeling, but also in-mold product decoration and in-mold electronics, and brought together an impressive array of industry players and innovation leaders.

Corey Reardon opened the plenary session on the morning of the first day, defining the scope of the event’s different subject streams and providing market profiles. Setting the event’s context, Arthur Erdem of label and flexible packaging paper manufacturers Brigl & Bergmeister explored innovation management, and Udo Weustenhagen of thermoformers Niebling outlined the benefits of high-pressure forming of decorative or functional parts, illustrating his talk with a wide range of practical examples that demonstrated form, function, texture, and color.

This introduction led into an industry leadership panel discussion, moderated by Corey Reardon, which encompassed all aspects of in-mold production, and for which Arthur Erdem was joined by Dr Margreet de Kok, Senior Scientist, IME lead, TNO Holst Center; Marshall Paterson, VP New Product Development, Advanced Decorative Systems; and Isidore Leiser, CEO Stratus Packaging Europe. It provided significant insights into current and future developments across the lively in-mold markets.

Concurrent sessions covering the in-mold labeling and product decoration markets and in-mold electronics allowed delegates to pursue their own specialist interests.

In-mold labeling/product decoration

The session focused on in-mold labeling and product decoration brought together speakers from currently-active value chain participants Arjobex, Berhalter, Brigl & Bergmeiister, HP Indigo, Serigraph, Stratus Packaging, Taghleef Industries, and Yupo, who between them explored exciting developing opportunities, following an update on current market status and data from AWA.

In-mold electronics

For in-mold electronics, as well as a market overview from AWA, experts from Advanced Decorative Systems, DuPont, Elantas Europe, IMEC Interuniversity Micro Electronics Centre, the Organic and Printed Electronics Association (OE-A), TactoTek, and TNO Holst Center’s Dr de Kok identified and probed the routes via which printed electronics present a key technology for the future.

‘Exciting developments and opportunities’

The one-and-a-half day program constituted a thorough study of current status. Corey Reardon comments: ‘It represented a coming-together of technologies that will significantly impact our future. The relationship between in-mold labeling, in-mold decoration, and in-mold electronics provides exciting developments and opportunities for value creation and growth across the industry.’ He adds: ‘Our unique conference agenda addressed topics and issues across a broad technology base – and an ever-growing arena of end-use applications. The enthusiasm of participants in this year’s event leads us to once again follow advances in this energetic marketplace in the program for AWA IMLCON, IMDCON, IMECON 2019, which will be held in Chicago in fall 2019.’