The IML of today is a world leader in the production of high performance labels and tags for numerous industry sectors, applications and environments. This is our success story, from our humble beginnings to our current position.
In The Beginning…
Our story began in October 1936 when the company began producing metal tags for the local steel producing giants of Sheffield. At the time we were known as The Improved Marking And Labelling Company Limited (a bit of a mouthful!).
Over the years we have shortened our name to IML Labels & Systems Ltd and diversified into other industry sectors in order to meet market demand to identify and track products through harsh production processes, or to withstand difficult supply chain conditions.
The production, processing and stockholding of steel and other metals has remained one of IML’s main markets.
One Giant Step…
In the late 1980’s IML pioneered the development of a highly durable, synthetic tag material – Rip-proof, which could be overprinted with variable data and barcodes.
When Rip-proof material, in its raw form, first caught IML’s attention it was being utilised as side curtaining on haulage wagons. IML’s R&D team began talks with the raw material supplier and set about developing a unique coating which would be applied to allowing thermal transfer overprinting.
IML’s production presses were also adapted to accept Rip-proof. Never before had they been used to convert and print such a durable material.
Material suppliers and coaters, IML production operatives, printing press engineers, cutting tool manufacturers and even ink suppliers all spent many days with their heads in a machine on IML’s production floor and sleepless nights thinking of ways to overcome initial teething problems.
Getting it right revolutionised industrial labelling; other suppliers were keen to jump on the bandwagon and scrambled to source a similar product but none were able to match up to IML’s extensive knowledge and specially adapted production methods.
Rip-proof is still popular today owing to its unrivalled strength and durability. It resists moderate temperatures and its rubbery texture springs back after creasing and crushing to maintain data readability.
Planting The Seeds…
IML showed its softer side when it began supplying labels to the horticultural sector whose needs were no less complex than engineering!
Resistance to water, chemicals, UV light, frost and pro-longed outdoor exposure made up the horticultural label wish list. IML were tasked with developing materials which could meet all these conditions and be suitable for use with hot foil and dot matrix printers originally, and later thermal transfer and laser printers.
In 2012 IML set up a Sales Office, based in Cambridgeshire, dedicated to horticultural label sales with access to a stockholding warehouse in order to support next day delivery of stocked horticultural labels.
In 2014 IML bought the licensing rights and the associated intellectual property of HLS Pro software which is well known and used extensively throughout the horticultural industry.
Gaining 100% control of HLS not only paved the way for future development of the software but also ensured its longevity and ongoing support for existing users.
HLS is offered in black and white (for use with thermal transfer printers) or in full colour (for use with full colour laser printers).
A database of 14,000+ plant names and descriptions gives users a head start. The database also allows users to add their own descriptions and images. IML’s image library is offered as an optional extra along with unlimited end user technical support delivered by IML’s own horticultural labelling experts.
Taking On The World…
Today, IML is recognised and respected as a world leader in the field of durable labelling. We supply labels and tags around the globe often with the support of our network of distributors and agents.
Export sales currently account for around 25% of IML’s turnover and we have a dedicated Export Department handling enquiries, organising the necessary paperwork and arranging shipping.