Sustainability Awards 2017 runner-up: Machinery

IML Solutions, iMOULD

In-mould labelling technology is a rapidly growing decoration technology offering quality packaging at reduced cost per unit. Although two of the three required elements for IML – labels and robots – have been optimised in recent years, moulds have continued using almost the same technology for decades. A push to improve this process led to the development of iMould, the first intelligent mould. It features predictive maintenance giving moulders total control of their systems first time, with a ‘digital expert’ running in their plants 24/7 and providing necessary warnings in any connected device. iMould therefore represents a significant breakthrough for the IML industry in terms of efficiency.

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The environmental benefits of this advance are significant. Leading global moulders record scrap rates of around per cent scrap for a technically challenging piece of packaging. In the case of yoghurt cup could result in 1.05 tons of plastic waste per year due to mould malfunctions. With predictive maintenance iMould can reduce those unexpected malfunctions, and therefore the scrap, by as much as a 65 per cent. Following the case of study, total plastic waste would be down to 0.34 tons. Reducing unexpected malfunctions also means lower energy consumption. Units installed at customers’ facilities have diagnosed problems within 20 minutes while a human operator traditionally needed up to an hour to stop the production. That means 40 minutes of energy no longer wasted per malfunction.