Lamination film is an effective and reliable way to protect and preserve documents. This could be a business card, a book cover, a picture or a sign. Laminators are nothing new, but the technology behind them has changed. Gone are the days of frustrating projects, cloudy results and ruined documents.
Many roll laminators are now utilizing technology and computers to help balance heat, adjust speeds and help eliminate waste. For years operating a laminator almost required a college degree. Dials and levers had to be fine-tuned to prevent a flawed job. Many modern laminators now have an LCD interface and require little setup, usually only requiring the operator to push a few buttons.
Laminators are used to apply a thin protective layer of plastic over the surface of a document. This plastic, known as lamination film, uses adhesives to bind itself to a flat surface. The adhesive glue in lamination film is usually activated with heat, although cold lamination film is available for temperature sensitive items. Cold pressure-sensitive film is applied to an object using an adhesive that is similar to tape.
Lamination film is available in different thicknesses. The thickness of lamination film is referred to as a “mil.” A mil is one thousandth of an inch. Film is typically broken down into 1.5, 3, 5, 7, and 10 mil thicknesses. The thicker the film, the more rigid the end result is. If rigidity is not a factor, a thin 1.5 or 3 mil coat is more than enough to protect and preserve.
Pouch laminators, the smaller cousin to the roll laminator, are used to laminate pictures, menus, signs and other material. Roll laminators are used to laminate larger items, such as posters, maps, signs and banners.
Roll laminators, however, can still laminate the small stuff if needed.
Roll laminators, unlike pouch laminators, use two rolls of film to laminate. A top roll and a bottom roll are combined to completely encapsulate a document. The film is placed on metal mandrels, which keep the film in place. Mandrels vary in diameter, depending on the laminator and the film being used. The most common core size of roll lamination film is one inch. Wider laminators use a larger diameter core, usually around 2 ¼ to three-inches.
The most common width of a roll laminator is 25 to 27 inches. Copy shops and schools commonly use this size of roll laminator. This is because the 25 to 27-inch range is very versatile, allowing the operator to easily laminate small documents or laminate larger items such as a small poster or map. This size of laminator is also much easier to transport, set up and use.
Roll laminators are available in much wider formats as well, with some in excess of 65-inches. Wide format laminators are used to laminate banners, large posters and other large material. These laminators are typically used by print shops.
Features in laminators vary, depending on the make and model. A few options that will vary between roll laminators are luxuries such as variable speed control, heated rollers, mounting capabilities, slitters and variable temperature control.
Lamination continues to be an effective, fast and cost-effective way to protect and preserve documents. Contact Office Zone at 1-800-543-5454 for more information on laminators.