What is Laminating Film Made out Of? Lamination Composition
When shopping around for laminating pouches (found here) or rolls of laminating film (found here), have you ever wondered what the film itself is made out of? Plastic…right? While laminating film is made out of certain types of plastic, it is usually a combination of several types. This article will go into great detail regarding the composition of laminating film.
The first thing you need to be aware of, when shopping for laminating film, is that a sheet of laminating film is composed of various layers of plastic. The harder layer is on the outside and the softer layer is on the inside. Combined, these layers make up the mil thickness, with a mil being a thousandth of an inch (0.001″). Outside the United States, laminating film is measured in microns rather than mils. A micron is a thousandth of a millimeter (0.001 millimeters).
Have you ever shopped around for a laminating pouch (or roll) and saw 4/3 on the outside of the box, or perhaps 3/2 on the outside of the box? These are numbers displaying the ratio of hard to soft plastic used in the laminating sheet. A 4/3 would be 4 mils of hard plastic and 3 mils of soft plastic (glue), totaling 7-mils. A 3/2 pouch is a 5 mil thick pouch. This ratio can change depending on the amount of hard and soft plastic used, however, the ratio will always add up to the total “mil” thickness of the sheet of film.
So what kind of plastic is used in laminating film? While this isn’t always going to be the case, the harder outer layer is usually made from PET plastic (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and the softer inner layer is made out of EVA plastic (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate). Occasionally a combination of PET plastic, PE (Polyethylene Plastic) and EVA plastic are all used together.
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – This type of plastic is commonly used in food, beverage and other plastic containers. It is also used for producing synthetic fibers used in clothing. It is a resin of the polyester family. It can be easily formed into various shapes, and in the case of laminating film, it is formed into a thin sheet. The funny thing is that PET plastic doesn’t actually contain Polyethylene, which is why PET is sometimes simply called Ethylene Teerephthalate. In the case of laminating film, the PET is clear. It was especially popular in the 70’s for the production of polyester clothing.
EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) – This type of plastic is condiered to be extremely durable, stress resistant and is commonly used as a hot-melt adhesive. Have you ever used a glue gun? Glue sticks are made out of EVA plastic, the same material that lines the inside of a laminating sheet. EVA is also used in materials such as plastic wraps due to its “clingy” properties. EVA plastic is also used in expanded rubber or foam rubber for padding in ski boots, fishing reel handles and more.
PE Plastic (Polyethylene) – This is by far the most common plastic used today and is commonly used for bags, packaging and more. This isn’t as common in laminating film, although some may contain PE plastic.
I hope this helps you out. While this may not influence or change your mind on the type of laminating film you purchase, I still think it is helpful and educational to know what laminating film is made out of. Hopefully this will help you better understand how laminating film works and exactly what it is.
If you still want to learn more, or need help finding the right film for your laminator, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788. Have a great day!