In Mold Decorating, commonly known as IMD, is used to mold high-precision plastic parts with exceptional color and appearance. It involves placing a decorative element (an appliqué) into a mold, and then filling the area behind and around it with plastic. The decorative element thus becomes an integral component of the final molded part.
The IMD process offers all of the advantages of injection molding (low cost, high precision, net-shape parts) with the added advantages of modern digital printing (high resolution images in any color, or any combination of colors). Using IMD, the appearance options for an injection molded part are virtually unlimited.
One type of IMD process involves the use of a heat transfer foil, which transfers the printed ink directly onto the surface of the molded part. Developed by the Nissha Company in Japan, it is one of the few manufacturing processes that allows for a true chrome finish on a molded plastic part.
These lens prototypes were made to explore the use of organic finishes in the second surface of the molded lens assembly. They were fabricated using various materials, including cellulose acetate, abalone shell, and wood veneer.