The Types and Functions of a Laminator

Laminators are machines that help classify, organize and seal documents. A laminator is also used to protect sensitive materials by creating a coating of protective film. Laminators have evolved over time to the current models in the market that have actually greatly improved with time.

There are several functions of a laminator machine and these include easy application, easy assembly and portability among others. The materials used in making a laminator have also varied with time such as the cutting function gradually being replaced with an application function on the laminator machine.

From the beginning, there has been a major improvement in the lamination process after a few years of improvement from all brands globally. Plans for future research include identifying new material applications and repositionable adhesives.

However, we won’t go much into the evolutionary trends of a laminator. We are going to tell you about the different types of laminators! Like the hot, cold laminators, pouch or roll film laminators.

Pouch Laminator

A pouch laminator employs a single-sided laminating pouch. A heat-activated film coats the interior of the lamination pouch, which sticks to the laminated product as it passes through the laminator.

A heat-activated adhesive on the substrate side of the board secures the print to the substrate. This can be a different laminated sheet or a variety of different board goods. To ensure that all adhesive layers adhere to one other, the bag is placed on a set of heated rollers under pressure.

When used sparingly, pouch laminators are ideal for light-duty applications in the workplace or at home. However, a roll laminator is more efficient for continuous, high-volume lamination jobs.

Pouches can be purchased in various micrometer thicknesses. Pouches ranging in size from 80 micrometers to 250 micrometers are commonly used in standard home and business machines. Naturally, the price goes up with the thickness of the pouch. 

Pouches can also be measured in millimeters, which equals one-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter. Pouch thicknesses of 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil (76, 127, 178 and 254 m) are the most commonly used sizes.

A pouch laminator can create ID cards from certain pouches, such as butterfly pouches. A variety of butterfly pouches with magnetic stripes are available.

Types of Pouch Laminator

Hot Pouch Laminators

The most common type of laminator for enclosing a document in a pouch with two connected sides in which the object to be laminated is placed is a hot pouch laminator. After passing through heated rollers, the pouch is coated with a heat-activated film, which liquefies and adheres to itself under pressure, eliminating any bubbles.

Cold Pouch Laminators

When laminating heat-sensitive materials like faxes, pictures, and documents created with an inkjet printer, cold pouch lamination is the ideal solution. Cold lamination is safer and more effective than hot lamination in UV protection. In addition, a pressure-activated adhesive is used in cold laminating pouches because they do not get hot and may not require electricity to operate.

Roll Feed Laminator

For the roll feed laminator, there are two types, namely: hot and cold roll feed laminator

Cold roll laminators make use of a plastic film that is covered with an adhesive and has a glossy backside that repels the glue. When the glossy backing is removed, the adhesive is revealed, and it adheres directly to the item being laminated. Apart from the apparent advantage of not requiring expensive equipment, this procedure is also suited for artifacts that might be harmed by heat. Cold laminators range in complexity from simple two-roller hand-crank machines to big, complex motor-driven machines equipped with high-precision rollers, adjustable roller pressure, and other modern features.

Cold lamination gained popularity as wide-format inkjet printers became more widespread, as they frequently employed inks and materials that were incompatible with hot lamination. Although PVC accounts for a sizable portion of cold laminate used in the print industry, many alternative materials are available. Outside of the print business, cold laminating methods coat sheet glass or stainless steel with protective films.

Cold roll laminators are also used in the sign-making industry to put down adhesive films, for example, when mounting a huge print to a board. A skilled operator can apply a big adhesive sheet in a fraction of the time required by manual application.

Cold Basic Roll Feed Laminators

Cold Basic Roll Feed laminators are heavy-duty cold laminating devices ideal for producing high-quality results with graphics and signs materials specifically marketed to sign makers, graphic designers, print shops, and vinyl/tape installers. They employ two cold, big diameter rollers and a release liner take-up roller to ensure uniform pressure. From 650mm to 1600mm, various laminating widths are offered.

Hot Roll Feed Laminator

The hot roll laminator melts glue extruded onto lamination film using hot rollers. This film is then placed using pressure rollers to a substrate such as paper or card.

Typically, roll laminators employ two rolls to complete the lamination process, one on top and one on the bottom. These rolls slip onto metal bars referred to as mandrels, inserted into and fed through the machine.

Laminating using this type of machine is mostly used to enhance or protect printed documents or photographs. Heated roll laminators come in various sizes, ranging from small office pouch laminators to large industrial equipment. Printers or print finishers usually utilize these industrial machines for high-volume/high-quality output.

Whether tiny office or industrial devices, their major role is to enrich or protect printed works. These laminators apply lamination film in varied thicknesses to substrates such as paper or cloth.

The primary benefit of using hot roll laminators is their speed. Hot laminators melt the adhesive applied to the lamination sheet using hot rollers or hot shoes. The heating of the adhesive prior to putting the film to a substrate enables the film to be applied more quickly. 

The laminates and adhesives used are typically less expensive to manufacture than cold roll laminates, frequently by up to half, depending on the comparison. Since the materials are non-adhesive until heated, they are much easier to handle. Because the glue is solid at normal temperature, it is less prone to shifting or warping than pressure triggered laminates, which rely on a highly viscous adhesive fluid.

Type of hot roll feed laminators

Single Hot Roll Feed Laminators

Single Hot Roll Feed Laminators contain a thermal film activated by heat applied on one side of the print. The print is trimmed to provide a clear border around its edge, making it waterproof. Thicknesses ranging from 42 to 250 microns are offered in gloss and matte finishes.

Double Hot Roll Feed Laminators

Double Hot Roll Feed Laminators encase a print with a heat triggered thermal film applied on both sides. The finished product is trimmed to leave a distinct border around the print’s edge, thus encapsulating it. The film is offered in a gloss or matte surface with 42 to 250 microns thickness.

Cold Laminators

This is a new type of laminator that employs adhesives to laminate papers. On the other hand, cold laminators employ pressure to apply adhesives to documents rather than heat.

Even some cold laminators do not require electricity to operate; they may be utilized in any location, regardless of where they are. Although cold laminators do not use heat for the same reason, they are also safer than heated laminators.

You may get these kinds of laminators from the store. However, to be safe, be certain that the laminator you choose has all the capabilities you require, including the ability to go back in time and a warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the purpose of laminating my papers?

Documents should be laminated if you want to save them for a long time. The laminating film shields the paper from damage caused by water and regular wear and tear. There is no doubt that laminating papers is a great way to extend their usefulness.

How much time does it take to laminate?

Laminating can take up to ten minutes to complete. Laminating takes about 30 seconds after the initial warm-up.

Is cutting the laminated paper possible?

The laminated document can be folded, yes. There are times when folding the laminated paper manually might be difficult since the laminating material is thick and rigid, but with the help of an automatic scorer, you can fold the laminated document with ease.

No, you cannot cut laminated paper.

The laminated paper can, in fact, be sliced. However, laminating material thickness affects the difficulty of cutting. It is tougher to cut laminated paper if the laminating material is thicker. To cut laminated paper, you’ll need a pair of scissors that are both sharp and sturdy.

Can old pictures be laminated?

Yes, you can laminate old photographs. If you have vintage photos printed on an inkjet printer, consider that the heat can damage them. You should use a cold laminator or a pouch laminator set to “cold” to laminate ancient images.

Is it necessary to use a carrier with my laminator?

Carriers are no longer required for most laminators on the market today. A poor finish or an increased chance of jamming are both possible outcomes of utilizing a carrier. In addition, to ensure the pouch is fully sealed when using a carrier, you may have to run the paper through the laminator more than once because carriers absorb heat.

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