An Ohio company that offers document services is entering the in-mold labeling market with what might be a major technology play. Competitive in-mold offerings generally use identical materials such as polycarbonate label with a polycarbonate part or a polystyrene label with polystyrene part. Compatible melt indexes are critical, creating complications when a plastic is highly filled. “A lot of work goes into matching the like label with a part to insure it bonds well and looks good,” says David Coughlin, director of operations of Industramark, which is being introduced at the National Plastics Exposition this week in Chicago. “This truly is a challenge and a good part of the reason why in-mold labels have not taken off outside of prime labeling applications that are typically only polypropylene.” Working with Fusion Graphics, also of Dayton, OH, Industramark has developed a 7 mil micro porous film. “We do not depend on like chemistries for bonding but rather the plastic (any thermoplastic) being molded flows into the micro bonds and makes a permanent bond to the label. Based on our relationship with Fusion Graphics and their patent position, we have a novel solution that makes other in-mold products obsolete and very complex.”
Labels are not new to Industramark’s parent, Standard Register. They accounted for 13 percent of revenues last year. In response to a question from Design News, Industramark did not provide information on the material used for its in mold labels. A patent awarded to Robert Freund of Waynesville, OH in 2007 describes a new IML technique based on a precipitated silica-filled microporous sheet material. If properly coated, the material is well suited to the IML task, according to the patent. The novel system also requires special inks. The technique is said to not only to improve quality of graphic images, but also to cost less. A wide range of materials, including thermosets, can be used.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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