The In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) recognized industry leaders in in-mold labeling (IML), in-mold decorating (IMD) and in-mold electronics (IME) by announcing the winners of the 2023 IMDA Awards Competition at the Plastic Product Decorating Summit on September 28 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Entries were received from around the world, showcasing the best in in-mold design and technical achievement in markets ranging from food and beauty packaging to appliance and consumer electronics.

The IMDA Awards Competition is unique in that it seems to change focuses every year. Three years ago, the submissions leaned heavily into food packaging applications. In 2022, durable goods made up the majority of the entries. This year, the IMDA competition saw a mix of each, with an emphasis on integrated functionalities such as backlighting and QR codes – and also received its first in-mold labeled molded fiber application.

No matter what categories the entries are submitted in, the criteria remain the same. The entries are judged based on overall design and complexity; integration of the in-mold element into the part or package; functionality; and innovation in the use of materials and processes. Manufacturing difficulty and complexity of the part, label, design or mold also are considered.

The 2023 IMDA Awards Competition would not have been possible without the support of these sponsoring companies: KURZ, InkWorks Printing, StackTeck, Innovia, Wipfli and Sussex IM. Thank you to these companies that have stepped up to support IMDA and the competition.


Winner: Haier S3 & P3 Instant Water Heater
Submitted by: IMR Technology Co., Ltd.
Brand Owner: Haier
Molder: IMR Technology Co., Ltd.
Label Supplier: IMR Technology Co., Ltd.

The judges appreciated the unique look that the combination of gravure and screen printing gives to this part, as well as the integration of deadfront backlit icons and the way the decorative film wraps around the edge of the panel. IMD was a perfect choice to replace painting, which wouldn’t have given this nice of a look to the finished product. In addition, IMR Technology overcame several challenges and still was able to pull this off in a very tight timeline.


Winner: Daisy Dips
Submitted by: MCC Verstraete
Brand Owner: Daisy Brand
Molder: Polytainers
Label Supplier: MCC Verstraete

The IMDA had a unique opportunity this year with the awards competition. In a typical year, our conference is held prior to PACK EXPO, so the award winners are announced and then those winners are featured in PACK EXPO’s Showcase of Packaging Innovations. But this year, PACK EXPO Las Vegas was scheduled for early September. So rather than featuring the winners, we let PACK EXPO attendees vote for their favorites using a QR code that led to an online form. In the end, Daisy Dips was the winner of the 2023 People’s Choice Award.


Winner: Romano Classic Body Cream 470ml & Arthur Ford Body Cream
Submitted by: Ren-Flex Packaging South Africa
Brand Owner: Canway Supply Chain Solutions
Molder: Teqal
Label Supplier: Ren-Flex Packaging South Africa

In this application, the label film is laminated with printed foil and varnished. No static was required in the mold. The label is bent around a radiused base and upper edge, giving a borderless look. Since the print is applied on top of the foil, there’s flexibility in providing the option of full or partial coverage. And, the product is hot filled. The textured label finish – sort of an orange peel effect – adds to the premium look and feel.

Honorable Mention, Design & Consumer Appeal: 44oz IML Cup (44IML)
Submitted by: Churchill Container
Brand Owner: Los Angeles Dodgers/Major League Baseball
Molder: Churchill Container
Label Supplier: General Press

When a MLB venue hosts the All Star Game, they get a lot of extra attention. In this case, the Dodgers needed a cup that really stood out from its typical soda cup offering. This 44oz cup stands out with a tall, slender profile that towers over the competition. But the Dodgers needed this cup to really shine, so a clarified PP resin with double-sided printing on a brilliant metallic film and a glossy UV finish knock this one out of the park.

Honorable Mention, Printing Technique: Daisy Dips
Submitted by: MCC Verstraete
Brand Owner: Daisy Brand
Molder: Polytainers
Label Supplier: MCC Verstraete

Daisy brand has a dedication to pure ingredients with no preservatives. To maintain its freshness and improve shelf life, the IML labels for Daisy Dips have a light barrier function to protect the product inside from sunlight and UV light. The packaging has a touch of metallic IML to it, adding to a premium feel and creating consumer engagement. Then a spot varnish was used to create a dimensional look for the container.


Winner: Spacewood
Submitted by: KURZ
Brand Owner: KURZ
Molder: KURZ
Label Supplier: KURZ

Spacewood naturals offer a sustainable solution to high-quality interior designs, using natural wood structures, patterns and textures. The surface is designed to feel like real wood, adding that tactile element. Backlighting adds more visual appeal, giving the part an orange glow like liquid lava. Spacewood naturals replicate the real look and structure of wood types with recycled plastic material.

Honorable Mention: IMD + Electronic Lamination User Interface
Molder: Nissha Eimo Technologies, Inc.
Label Supplier: Nissha

This prototype user interface is a great example of how IMD can be utilized with capacitive touch film, laminated to the second surface, to potentially lower cost and aid in design enrichment. The shape and subtle curvature of the part made IMD the ideal choice, although those same features led to challenges in registration of the IMD film and the electronic film lamination. With this user interface product, decoration and function need to be in harmony, and that was achieved with this entry.


Winner: Haier S3 & P3 Instant Water Heater
Submitted by: IMR Technology Co., Ltd.
Brand Owner: Haier
Molder: IMR Technology Co., Ltd.
Label Supplier: IMR Technology Co., Ltd.

This water heater front combines gravure and screen printing to achieve the aesthetics and functional properties of the part. The pattern uses a gradient pattern and brushed effect, and used multi-layer printing. Because of the large part size, the in-mold injection process was adapted to prevent part deformation, warming, and gate wash. In addition, the panel incorporates a side wrapping of the decorative layer, which makes the decorative parting line nearly invisible on the finished product.

Honorable Mention, Part Complexity: Automotive EV Rear End Cover Panel
Submitted by: KURZ Transfer Products L.P.
Brand Owner: Leonard KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG
Molder: Schoefer GmbH
Label Supplier: Leonard KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG

IMD processing enabled the alignment of the daytime design graphic with the perimeter shape and surface features in this exterior cover panel part example. This concept incorporates backlighting effects to showcase charging modes, and perimeter light bleed is avoided by using an opaque injection resin to mold a frame to the part structure in the first injection shot. The rotary stack tooling approach offers a second cavity, allowing IMD film decoration over a translucent lens created by the second injection shot. This produces a one-piece part with controlled backlit areas in a single manufacturing process.

Honorable Mention, Print Quality & Design: GE Profile Ultrafast Combo Washer/Dryer
Submitted by: Nissha USA
Brand Owner: General Electric Appliances
Molder: Nissha (Kunshan) Precision IMD Mold Co., Ltd.
Label Supplier: Nissha Co., Ltd.

This unique control panel incorporates both matte and gloss finishes on the same surface without the need for secondary processes. Because the control panel display needs to be very crisp for customer viewing, a gloss surface was chosen for the display area while the area outside of the display remained matte to compliment the cabinet finish. This partial matte IMD process has increased the market appeal and usability of GE’s combo laundry machine with high-quality aesthetics and graphic registration.


Winner: Alcove for Water Bottle Filler
Submitted by: Polyfab LLC
Brand Owner: Zurn-Elkay
Molder: Polyfab LLC
Label Supplier: InkWorks Printing

This alcove for water bottle fillers was originally designed with raised decorative areas that were hot stamped on an ABS molded part. Due to the type of application, the touch surface of the alcove and the spout filler needed to be anti-microbrial. The cost of anti-microbial additives, the cost of secondary decorating, and longterm durability concerns led to the development of an IMD solution that used a laminated anti-microbial solution to stand up to stresses of institutional cleaning solutions and allowed for cost savings in the molding process.

Honorable Mention: TL23 Washer
Submitted by: DuraTech Industries
Brand Owner: GE Appliances
Molder: TH Plastics, Inc.
Label Supplier: DuraTech Industries

GE Appliances was looking for a facelift for a program that went obsolete a few years ago. Originally run with a high gloss finish with a metallic silver background, GE wanted a satin appearance to add to its portfolio on this appliance product line. The background color creates a matte black look, which is a trend in the appliance market. Due to the finish of the material the chrome changes from a mirror to a unique chrome appearance. The new design look is run using existing tooling for both diecutting and molding, showing the value of IMD in efficient and cost-effective design changes.


Winner: Gemini 5 Litre Jar
Submitted by: Cargill India Pvt. Ltd.
Brand Owner: Cargill India Pvt. Ltd.
Molder: Organic Industries
Label Supplier: Coats & Pack

This in-mold labeling application was utilized to eliminate a self-adhesive label application that resulted in peeling off, lifting off, greased stailed labels of the oils contained within this molded can. Utilizing IML eliminated the need for a separate labelling process, which improved the efficiency of the packing line and also allowed the leverage of technology that reduced the weight of the container. Now, the brand owner isn’t worried about label wrinkling or grease staining.


Winner: Apple Fiber Container
Submitted by: MCC Verstraete
Brand Owner: Ela’s Apples
Molder: TekPak
Label Supplier: MCC Verstraete

Ela’s Apples is an organic, sustainable brand, and it wanted to offer its apples in the most sustainable packaging possible. Apple skins and wood fiber were used to develop a special fiber blend for its containers, and then Molded Fiber Labeling was used for the decoration. These containers are not only mono-material, but also 100% recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable.


Winner: SelfEco Compostable Garden Pots
Submitted by: MCC Verstraete
Brand Owner: SelfEco
Molder: VistaTek
Label Supplier: MCC Verstraete

SelfEco Garden developed a range of plant-based containers made from a material that incorporates organic plant feed, which feeds plants while the container slowly disintegrates when put into the ground. These compostable garden pots are made from PLA, which comes from starchy plants such as corn, and are decorated with bio-based and biodegradable IML labels on a PLA film. The biodegradable IML labels ensure the entire pot and its decorative label are compostable according to US regulation standards. Consumers can either plant the entire pot in the ground and let it break down over a few growing seasons or send it to industrial composting.

Honorable Mention: 426g TRIM Container IML
Submitted by: StackTeck Systems Ltd.
Brand Owner: LALA
Molder: Envases Plasticos Industriales de Guadalajara SA de CV
Label Supplier: MCC Verstraete
Automation Provider: StackTeck Systems Ltd.

The sustainability story is different for this product. The LALA container is a common 16 oz container with a 17.3g part weight. Using StackTeck’s proprietary thin recess injection molding technology, the container underwent weight reduction to 14.8g – a 14.5% savings. Over the course of a year, that could result in resin savings of 190 tons. IML was introduced to overcome the downfall of not being able to offset print the sidewall due to the trim pattern, but that became a win with the increased quality of the graphics and clarity of the small print. It also allows the use of a hidden QR or scan code for easy plastic separation at recycling plants.