IML-T® „Designed for Recycling“

Brilliant cardboard decoration with IML-T® Cardboard

ILLIG Maschinenbau is leading the way once again by unveiling its innovative IML-T® Cardboard, a plastic-cardboard combination packaging, designed with recycling in mind. ILLIG engineers preserved what was good, fine-tuned the existing technology and added new improvements. This innovative application can be produced on ILLIG IML-T® machines. The advantage of the newly designed packaging, developed specifically for the new circular-economy market demands, is the reduction of plastic and simplified sorting for simplified recycling.

The IML-T® Cardboard application can be produced on existing ILLIG thermoforming systems with an IML unit. That means packaging specialists that already own an ILLIG IML-T® machine line can produce the new packaging without having to first invest in a new machine. All that is needed is a tool set with the required packaging design. The IML unit, which is connected to the thermoforming machine, extracts the cardboard labels with the pre-printed decoration on them from the magazine and places them into the forming tool's cavities before the forming process begins. The end product is a cup or tray with a fully new design concept.

Another advantage of the IML-T® technology is that it lets you use a different pre-printed label for each cavity, and changing production is also quick and easy. Combined with the high productivity typical of ILLIG thermoforming systems, production of resource-efficient and sustainable packaging is thus possible.

Designed for recycling and sustainability

The leading specialist for thermoforming systems has once again been able to develop a solution to meet the latest market demand for a circular-economy solution in the shortest of time with its IML-T® Cardboard. Within the context of their Pactivity®, 360° custom-made packaging development, the experts at ILLIG from the packaging lab, R&D and tool and machine engineering departments were able to put their heads together to come up with this resource-efficient application and bring it to market. The key concept driving the development of this innovation was an ecodesign and a package that could easily be recycled. With this development, ILLIG stays true to its identity as an innovation leader in thermoforming.

Good for the environment, the contents and the consumer

The advantage of the IML-T® Cardboard packaging is its very thin-walled plastic interior (less material consumption) with an outer layer of cardboard, which increases the stability of the packaging and thus guarantees a high top-load strength. The pack can be sealed and the carton brilliantly decorated with marketing messages printed completely on one or both sides. Once the packaging has served its original purpose, the plastic can be easily separated from the cardboard by either the consumer or the collection center and the materials recycled. It eliminates the greatest hurdles to the circular economy by simplifying the sorting process for easy recycling. This in turn also promotes a positive brand image of the packaged product. In particular regional brands can improve their brand image with this sustainability concept.

The application is an absolute novelty, which will impact the market for decorated thermoformed packaging, especially in the premium products segment. IML-T® Cardboard is ideal for applications such as meat trays (MAP), vegetable trays, ice cream containers and frozen TV dinners, as well as packaging for delicatessen, dairy products, margarine, cream cheese, spreads, jams, jellies, cereals, pet food and non-food products. And even more applications making use of this new packaging solution can be expected in the future to spruce up the product at the PoS — to the benefit of the environment, the package contents and the consumer.

Flexible solution for an impressive design

Not only a feast for the eyes – but a good reason to buy! Because the visual appearance of a product has a huge impact on consumers when deciding to purchase a product. The more attractive the packaging design, the greater the chance the product is perceived positively by the consumer and therefore selected.

With the decoration technology of the In-Mold Labeling in Thermoforming, abbreviated to IML-T®, ILLIG offers a flexible solution for the realisation of considerably more attractive decorations for cups, containers, and lids in different shapes and sizes.

With the ILLIG IML-T® system pre-printed, pre-punched labels or cardboard are inserted directly into the forming tool. Then the cup is formed into the cavity. Forming and decorating are thus effected in only one work step! Result: top appearance and quality from a single source.

Neue Freiheiten bei der Dekoration Dieses Thermoformsystem eignet sich für sämtliche Etikettenvarianten: vom 2-Seiten-Etikett bis hin zur 5-seitigen Volldekoration.
New liberties during decoration
Our system is suitable for all label types: from 2-sided labels to 5-sided fully decorated labels. Vertical container walls such as banding cups are no longer required.

Decisive advantages for you

  • Protective layer.
  • Design for Recycling.
  • Reduction of plastic, as the stability is provided by the cardboard.
  • Easy separation of cardboard and plastics.
  • The decoration impresses with its excellent quality and high shine, which is achieved in the offset or gravure printing.
  • The container base can be decorated. It is important the EAN code at the base is prominent.
  • The label improves the side wall stability so that the output material thickness can be reduced.
  • Efficient realisation of particularly demanding decorations, e.g. real-like photo decorations.
  • IML-T® makes possible the use of smaller font and thus more information on less packaging space.
  • Simple change of the container décor during running production.
  • Unique possibilities for cup design through optical singling-out of available relief.
  • Shorter processing time compared to time-consuming post-printing.
  • Cost benefit as opposed to other manufacturing processes as there is considerably higher output.


Neue Freiheiten bei der Dekoration Dieses Thermoformsystem eignet sich für sämtliche Etikettenvarianten: vom 2-Seiten-Etikett bis hin zur 5-seitigen Volldekoration.

More Options in Label Design
Label materials or cardboard can be combined with cup materials without effort, e.g. PP labels on PP, PS labels on PS, paper labels on PS or APET. ILLIG IML-T® System Technology - for impressive appearance of your premium products on the shelfes.

Neue Freiheiten bei der Dekoration Dieses Thermoformsystem eignet sich für sämtliche Etikettenvarianten: vom 2-Seiten-Etikett bis hin zur 5-seitigen Volldekoration.

Photo-realistic IML-T® Decoration
It is important to present high-quality products appropriately in terms of optical effects. In this way consumers can recognize right away the content‘s special quality. The more concise and appetizing the decor, the greater the incentive to buy at the PoS. ILLIG IML-T® technology helps to achieve the brilliance required.

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