‘Making every product unique’ – This is Leonhard Kurz’s motto for the 27 Fakuma trade fair from October 12 to 16 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, where the company will present pioneering plastic decoration solutions, particularly for the automotive, consumer electronics, and home appliances sectors. The Kurz pioneering theme applies to the IMD UNIFY innovation, the advantages of which can be experienced in live demonstrations at Fakuma, with a hybrid machine from Kurz subsidiary BAIER. With this new over printable IMD decoration, Kurz has developed a solution for retroactively customizing IMD (In-Mold Decoration) surfaces directly during injection molding, thereby ensuring excellent adhesion and longevity of overprinting. “UV digital printing inks do not adhere well to a conventional high-resistance IMD post-cure surface, which has so far made it very difficult to customize products efficiently at a later date,” explains Nikolas Wagner, head of business area decoration, Leonhard Kurz. “With IMD UNIFY, this problem is a thing of the past. The new premium decoration now also makes small and very small series, and the personalization of components, cost-effective for our customers.” The secret behind this forward-looking development is the additional equipment for UV inkjet printing onto the IMD premium surface.
The answer to the current trends
Nikolas Wagner sees great potential for the patent-pending IMD UNIFY process, not only in the consumer electronics and household appliances industry. The trend is increasingly towards smart devices with touch operation and state-of-the-art, customized design with seamless surfaces and no mechanical buttons or switches. Leonhard Kurz can cater to these trends with IMD UNIFY. Particularly in the automotive sector, highly efficient customization of series and unique models is more in demand than ever before under the keywords ‘rapid manufacturing’. The combination with backlighting and Shy Tech effects is just as feasible as the use of touch sensors in different integration variants – for example, through Functional Foil Bonding or functional In-Mold Labeling. In addition to special series and single-image decorations, IMD UNIFY also makes it possible to implement full-surface decorations for the first time. Even 3D deformation of components is generally straightforward. Nick Wagner sums it up, “Everything that is possible with the conventional IMD process can also be implemented with IMD UNIFY!”
Sustainable through efficiency and consistent end performance
At the same time, the innovative finishing option also takes into account the ever-increasing importance of sustainability. On the one hand, In-Mold Decoration is generally more efficient and sustainable than previous processes, as it combines the two production steps of injection molding and decoration in just one processing phase. At the same time, the new surface decoration variant makes an important contribution to the longevity of the products, thanks to the significantly more adhesive and durable overprinting. In addition, the IMD UNIFY premium decoration process has no effect on the recyclability of the components, which can therefore be easily returned to the recycling cycle.
Machine expertise from the Kurz Group
At Fakuma, Leonhard Kurz will be demonstrating the possibilities of forward-looking surface decoration on a hybrid machine from its subsidiary BAIER, which combines digital printing and hot stamping. The company will demonstrate the subsequent finishing of the 3D-shaped automotive door trim and the customization of a washing machine panel through digital overprinting live at the stand. Ljubisa Drinic, managing director, Baier Maschinenfabrik states, “We are delighted to be able to show trade fair visitors how IMD UNIFY enables us to decorate Kurz surfaces in a modern and customized manner according to customer specifications, to get the component to perform in a way that is unprecedented in our core markets to date. Changing decors and components in the machine is very quick and easy, as we will be demonstrating at Fakuma.”
Online presence leading up to Fakuma
Leonhard Kurz is also using its trade fair presence in Friedrichshafen to kick off a comprehensive online presentation of the company’s innovations and exhibition highlights. Visit www.fakuma.kurz.de for detailed information and extras such as videos or 3D animations on Fakuma products and topics.
Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG
The KURZ Group is a global leader in thin-film technology. KURZ develops and manufactures decorative and functional layers applied to carrier foil for a wide range of industries, from the packaging and printing industry through to the automotive, electronics, card, and textile sectors. Kurz offers a comprehensive portfolio of products for surface finishing, decoration, labeling, and counterfeit protection, rounded off by an extensive range of stamping machines and stamping tools. The company is also continuously investing in new technologies and developing innovative solutions for integrating functionality into surfaces.