When a manufacturer comes to us for the first time, they often ask about our color matching capabilities. Having worked with major brands for decades, we understand that color has a big impact on branding, perceived quality, safety, and so much more. We give color and tinting our full attention throughout every phase of design, prototyping, and production.
But what about no color? Can you have an in-mold labeling (IML) part created to your specs without color? What about partial transparency, or two-color parts? The answer to all is a resounding YES, and we do this at Sanwa all the time.
Many parts in the automotive, appliance, or aerospace industries require a clear display window. Think about the information shown on your oven or refrigerator — or go take a look! If it’s a modern model with a digital display, it likely shows the temperature, timer, or other important information by illuminating letters, numbers, or icons behind a clear panel. In a car, it’s typical for heating, air conditioning, or radio information to be shown behind a piece of clear IML.
Start looking, and you’ll find transparent IML parts everywhere:
Center consoles in vehicles
Ovens and ranges
Some auto interior or appliance designers think of the display panels in two parts: the clear window and the surrounding frame. We’re able to print one part that blends both worlds.
In doing so, we can reduce the number of parts necessary for your purpose (one IML part instead of two or more), and also increase durability by offering one, solid piece. Other benefits of transparent IML include:
Lower cost due to reduction in materials and assembly
Optional tinting to accommodate illumination boundaries and requirements
The ability to use a dead front display (when certain information doesn’t show unless back-lit)
Another benefit is the ability to control the size and design of the solid color surrounding the transparent window. For instance, many appliances or entertainment items have wires that connect to the illuminated parts behind the window. An IML printer like Sanwa can work with you to test and adjust the opaque area to make sure those wires are hidden from your consumer’s view.
Transparent IML doesn’t have to mean a simple clear window is nestled in a black box. Your design team is invited to dream up endless combinations of colors, tints, and patterns for our manufacturing team to execute. Think smoky tints, granite patterns, curved edges, brush strokes, and more.
We can also use transparent IML to print opaque text on top of a clear window (in any language or multiple languages), or the other way around — think of a solid color part with clear, back-lit text. Perhaps the text only shows with certain settings or colors!
Imagination is truly the limit when it comes to IML printing. If you are interested in learning more about our transparent IML capabilities, or have questions about design or function, please contact us. Our goal is to be the complete solution to your IML parts needs, so that you can accomplish your goals of quality, consistency, and precision.