Leonhard Kurz presents single-step process for complex 3D geometries


The plastic component that will be decorated live at Fakuma using Kurz's IMD Varioform process (photo: Kurz)
The plastic component that will be decorated live at Fakuma using Kurz's IMD Varioform process (photo: Kurz)

Leonhard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG (Fürth, Germany) has developed an IMD Varioform process that can be used to manufacture and decorate, in a single step, components for which no efficient decoration solution was previously available due to their particularly three-dimensional geometry. Thanks to IMD Varioform, the fast and flexible IMD roll-to-roll technology can now be employed with these components. Using the single-step IMD Varioform process, the component is decorated, formed, back-injected, and stamped directly within the injection mould. The process combines IMD, forming, and stamping techniques.

“We have been looking for a way to economically decorate somewhat more three-dimensional shapes. With IMD Varioform, we have now filled this gap and rounded off our broad range of decoration technologies,” explains Martin Hahn, in the application division responsible for technology and innovation at Kurz. “The process is highly efficient and offers previously unimaginable flexibility in the selection of surface design, geometry, and moulding material. IMD Varioform is the perfect solution to the increasingly stringent requirements of product developers and designers.”

IMD Varioform offers the same design freedom as the IMD process. Design changeovers are performed simply by exchanging the IMD Varioform foil roll. This enables a wide variety of single-image and continuous designs to be processed in the very same mould. It also makes individualised features economically viable. Kurz offers a large spectrum of design and functional foils for its decoration technologies, and these are also available for IMD Varioform.

The possibilities include metallized surfaces right through to true-chrome coatings, brushed effects, wood, marble or carbon look, single-image designs plus partial and full-surface backlit designs. Various tactile properties are also possible, for example smooth surfaces, distinctive structures, or soft touch effects. IMD Varioform foils can also be produced as topcoats formulated to meet customer-specific durability requirements. It is even possible to add touch functionality to the component by integrating the capacitive touch sensors from Kurz subsidiary PolyIC.