Each year at the annual IMLCON (Inmold Labeling Conference), which now collaborates with its "companion" trade group the In-Mold Decorating Assn. in IMDCON, the report on IML in North America remains the same: it's still a niche market with only about 2 percent of label demand being IML. Each year, attendees also hear of the tremendous opportunities for growth in IML.
Global demand for all labels was 43.5 billion square meters in 2010, according to William Llewellyn, senior consultant and VP for AWA Alexander Watson Associates, who presented the data in his global IML/IMD market review. Asia saw the greatest demand with 33 percent, Europe represented 31 percent of that demand, followed by the United States with 24 percent. South America saw only 9 percent of the global demand. "We're seeing a significant softening in demand in 2011," commented Llewllyn.
Pressure-sensitive labels represent the largest percentage (41 percent) of all labels in demand primarily because of their flexibility in usage, followed by glue-applied (40 percent). Shrink sleeving held a 12 percent portion of the demand, followed by IML.