Small is the new big at Berry Plastics Group Inc. At least for one part of the giant company's business.
In-mold labeling — those in the biz call it IML — has been around the industry and used by Berry for years. But the Evansville, Ind.-based company is pushing a new approach toward IML that emphasizes smaller projects while still paying attention to those big jobs.
It's an approach being driving by the company's customers, consumer packaged goods firms, and their customers, the folks who buy stuff.
Those companies want more sophisticated packaging, with more frequent updates, that can attract customers who are becoming increasingly more selective.
IML is exactly what it sounds like. The process allows packaging companies to incorporate labels into the container molding process. This eliminates the need for printing on the container or the application of a label.
The labels, which can feature stunning graphics, are made from the same resin as the container, allowing the single-material container to still be recycled.
Berry has been providing IML packaging since at least 2002, said Brian Hunt, vice president of product management in the food segment of Berry's consumer packaging division. But like with many things Berry, the emphasis has been on large projects, big machines and driving down costs through volume.
While that approach remains appropriate for many high-volume customers, Berry also wants to pay attention to the smaller players who are looking to make an impression and create market differentiation.
Berry has just installed five smaller injection molding machines at its flagship plant in Evansville designed to tackle this segment of the market.