Archive for the ‘Laminators’ Category

Why Should Your School Upgrade from 1.5 mil to 3 mil Roll Laminator Film?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

 

3 mil Roll Lamination Film

3 mil Roll Lamination Film

 

 

There are several different types of roll lamination film available today. Customers often ask, “What’s the best film for me?” We ask them about their application before recommending the optimum roll laminator film. When new customers call from a school ordering lamination film, we typically ask them about the film thickness they are currently using. If they tell us they are using 1.5 mil film, that’s when the conversation takes an interesting turn.

 

Not only is ABC Office roll laminating film affordable, it’s also made from high quality materials. Our roll laminating film makes posters, banners, signs, maps and other similar school projects look professional and highly presentable. Unfortunately, there are some 1.5 mil (this is a measurement in thousandths of an inch) lamination films out there that are actually not 1.5 mil in thickness. Some manufacturers will market school grade film as 1.5 mil thick when the actual thickness is closer to 1.2 mil. This film is a low-cost alternative that indeed saves the school money, but also sacrifices some of the rigidity and durability that most schoolteachers need in a lamination film. This is why ABC Office often upgrades its education clients from 1.5 to 3 mil film.

 

When schoolteachers and other employees visit our offices and have the opportunity to see the differences between 1.5 vs. 3 mil film, the contest is immediately over. They upgrade to 3 mil roll lamination film and never look back.

 

What is 3 mil Clear Lamination Film?

 

Three mil thick roll lamination film is basically an everyday film that will adhere to most printed documents, signs and posters. Clear film is popular with schools and copy shops because it works very well on a variety of substances. When properly laminated, clear 3mil film gives your document a professional, glass-like appearance. It comes in widths of nine, 12, 18, 25 and 27 inches.

 

Roll lamination film also comes in other mil thicknesses: five and ten mil. Some roll laminators, especially models purchases by most schools, are restricted to a narrow range of lamination film thicknesses … typically 1.5 to 3 mil. Be sure you are using laminate film that is compatible with your laminator.

 

At ABC Office we have the best selection and prices on roll laminating film available online. Our lineup also includes matt film, UV lamination film, pressure sensitive laminating film and more. We mostly sell clear glossy film, which means we are able to provide you with some of the lowest prices available online. We also offer roll lamination film core sizes and widths that accommodate most roll laminators available on the market. Some of the major manufacturers we represent include: Ledco, Sircle, GBC, Tamerica and more.

 

Contact ABC Office today at 1-800-658-8788 to ask about our selection of clear 3 mil lamination films.

 

How To Set Up And Operate A Roll Laminator

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

During the past few weeks at ABC Office, we have held free roll laminator training sessions. The purpose is to help train local schoolteachers and other employees how to properly set up and operate a roll laminator machine. The goal was to help educators get the best performance out of their school’s laminator and ensure that everyone knows the safe and proper way to operate a roll laminator. We also wanted to demonstrate how to use the least amount of lamination film to save money.

Most schools will only permit a few employees to operate their laminator since the process can be somewhat complex. After meeting with our recent workshop attendees, we decided it would be helpful to create a brief summary of the roll laminator set up and operation process. This should help even more school staff learn how to use a roll laminator so that that responsibility does not belong to just one employee. The following will show you how to load and operate a school type laminator in just minutes.

Roll Laminator

Tahsin / Tamerica TCC2700 27-Inch Thermal Roll Laminator

This is the Tahsin / Tamerica TCC2700 27-Inch Thermal Roll Laminator, the machine we used during the laminator training session. We chose this model because it has most of the features that are found on a typical school laminator. We also wanted to show the attendees a model that can process a wide range of lamination film, from 1.5 to 10 mils in thickness. Most school laminators are limited to a range of 1.5 to 3 mil lamination film, but there are some school projects that require a stiffer and more durable lamination film.

Roll Laminator Side Handle

Put the side handle/lever in the “Up” position.

Before you turn on the laminator, be sure to disengage, or separate, the top and bottom silicone heat rollers (if this feature is included with your laminator). On the model TCC270 laminator, this is done by pulling the side handle/lever into the “Up” position. This will give you ample space to feed the film through from the top and bottom lamination rolls.

Top and Lower Laminator Rollers

There should be a gap between the top and lower laminator rollers.

Next, install the top and bottom lamination rolls onto the laminator. You can do this by inserting the top and bottom mandrels into the lamination film cardboard core. With the model TCC270 laminator, the top mandrel is inserted by twisting the metal bar clock-wise. This prevents the metal film prong/stopper from stopping the film installation process.

Roll Laminator Mandrels

Install the top and bottom lamination rolls onto the laminator.

The prong/stopper ensures there is no slippage during the lamination process. You should next install the bottom lamination roll the same way as the top, except you twist the mandrel in a counter-clockwise direction.

Laminator Film Threading Diagram

Laminator film threading diagram for the TCC270 laminator.

Now, thread the top and bottom lamination rolls. Carefully follow the threading diagram provided with your laminator. The product manual will have a diagram and most laminators, such as the model TCC270, have a diagram printed on the side of the machine. If you have threaded the film correctly, the glue side of the film will be facing towards you.

Taping top and Bottom Lamination Film Rolls.

Join the top and bottom lamination rolls together with a few strips of tape.

Next, tape the top and bottom lamination rolls together in front of the gap of the top and bottom laminator rollers. You will want to use a fairly stiff and wide piece of paper to feed the lamination film trough the rollers.

Put laminator handle in down position.

Laminator’s side handle/lever should now be in the “Down” position.

Now, put the laminator’s side handle/lever in the “Down” position to close the gap between the top and bottom rollers.

Laminator run button.

Push the “Run” button next.

Push the side operation switch to “Run.” Next, turn on the machine. Select “Heat” and adjust the speed to “3.”

Laminator heat and speed button.

Select “Heat” and adjust the laminator’s speed.

The rollers should begin rolling and your test sheet of paper should feed trough with the film, exiting from the back side of the laminator.

Laminator test sheet.

Your test sheet should exit from the back of the laminator

Set the laminator speed to zero and adjust the temperature for the type of film you are using (1.5, 3, 5, 7 or 10 mil films require different temperature settings).

Laminator feed tray.

Replace the laminator’s paper feed tray.

Replace the paper feed tray in the front of the laminator and pull down the plastic safety heat shield. You may now operate your laminator after is reaches the desired temperature.

Be sure to contact ABC Office at 1-800-658-8788 for all of your roll laminator questions, supplies and needs!

Eight Questions you Should ask Before Buying a Laminator

Thursday, May 12th, 2016
Tahsin Tamerica TCC2700 27-Inch Thermal Roll Laminator

Roll Laminator

 

1. When Should I Use a Roll Laminator? When Should I Use a Pouch Laminator?

It really depends on the size of the document you are laminating and the volume you need to laminate. Traditionally, it was assumed that pouch laminators were used for small documents and roll laminators were used for large documents. This still holds true to a certain point, but volume also plays a big role. You can still laminate small documents on a roll laminator, but just a lot more at a time. If you plan to laminate a few small items on occasion, you might as well use a pouch laminator and save yourself wasted film. Also, be aware that a roll laminator will take up a lot more space than a pouch laminator. The methods used between the two machines are different, but the end result looks the same.

2. Why Do Some Laminators Have a Reverse Button?

If for any reason your pouch or roll laminator gets jammed, the reverse function is excellent for backing out documents for re-adjustment or clearing jams. This is especially nice when loading film rolls on a roll laminator. It is not uncommon to accidentally feed a document through a pouch laminator crooked, in which case the reverse function is a must-have.

3. Why Do Some Laminators Have a Temperature Control?

Temperature control is nice for adjusting the heat to accommodate various thicknesses and styles of lamination film. Different mil thicknesses and types of lamination film melt at different temperatures. Several laminators come with preset temperatures, but many higher-end laminators come with a fully variable temperature control.

4. What Is The Purpose of the Speed Controller?

Speed control is another way to help control the quality of the laminated product. Some films, in conjunction with temperature control, need the speed to be adjusted for optimal quality.

5. What Mil Thickness Is Best to Use?

The mil thickness used depends entirely on what you will be laminating and how rigid you want the end result to be. If you are laminating cardstock, thicker film may not be required. If you are laminating 20-pound paper, you may want some lamination film that is a little thicker. One of the most common lamination film thicknesses purchased is 5mil.

6. After I run Something Through the Laminator, What Does it Mean When the Film is Cloudy?

If the lamination film is cloudy, you are running your laminator too cold and need to increase the temperature. The cloudiness is un-melted film.

7. What Causes Lamination Film to Ripple?

If the film is rippling, your laminator is running too hot. Turn down the laminator temperature. That should eliminate the ripples.

8. What Does it Mean if the Film has Bubbles?

If the film has bubbles, the laminator is running too hot. If the laminator is too hot, the film can boil and bubble. Turn down the laminator temperature. This should eliminate the problem.

 

 

GBC HeatSeal Pinnacle 27 Roll Laminator Video Demo

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

GBC HeatSeal Pinnacle 27 Roll LaminatorThe 27” wide roll laminator (found here) continues to be the most popular size used today. It is commonly found in schools, copy centers, print shops and businesses around the world. The 27” size is ideal for laminating posters, signs, banners, multiple letter-size documents and more. It is just a very affordable and versatile size and is an excellent upgrade over the slower pouch laminator. One laminator I recommend time and time again is the GBC HeatSeal Pinnacle 27 (found here).

Now that the popular EasyLam roll laminators are no longer available, many people ask me, “Which roll laminator do you recommend?” There are still a lot of great laminators out there, but I have always considered the Pinnacle 27 to be an excellent machine and have felt this way for years. This laminator produces excellent results, is very nicely priced and is very easy to set up.

The GBC Pinnacle is available in two different versions. You can buy it as the standard HeatSeal Pinnacle 27 or as the Pinnacle 27 EZLoad. The EZLoad version uses special roll cartridges, which is nice for people who don’t like to hassle with loading and feeding individual rolls of film. The EZLoad film packs are actually pretty affordable, considering they are a proprietary product only available from GBC.

Personally I prefer the standard Pinnacle 27 as it allows you to use standard thermal roll lamination film (the most common thermal film out there). This means if you are in a pinch and need film fast, it won’t be hard to come by. This is a huge advantage for me. Standard rolls of film are also 25%-50% less money.

Both versions of the Pinnacle 27 can be used with 1.5, 1.7 and 3 mil rolls of film. A mil is a thousandth of an inch. The higher the number the thicker the film. Most schools and businesses won’t need anything thicker than a 3 mil roll of film. Both are compatible with NAP I or NAP II film. Here is more information on the differences between the different types of NAP lam film.

Here is a video on exactly how the standard Pinnacle 27 laminator is set up and used:

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There are a lot of reasons why this laminator may be a good option for you. To begin with, it is extremely fast. Many laminators out there require you to wait a good 10-20 minutes before it is ready to use. This laminator takes just 6 minutes to warm up, which is excellent for organizations that are pressed on time. It is also nice to have someone that is easy to set up and simply “works” in a short period of time.

Controls are located on the right-side of the machine. The control panel allows you to select the type of film, adjust the temperature and adjust the speed. It also makes it very easy to shut off and start. It cans also be switches to reverse if needed. A digital readout lets you know the exact temperature of the machine.

Once you are done laminating, the machine can be turned off and a built-in slitter can be used to cut off the item you have just laminated from the continuous roll of film. This laminator is extremely easy to clean and maintain.

We have sold a lot of these laminators and they have a great track record. I would easily put this laminator up there with Ledco laminators and the now discontinued EasyLam roll laminators. If you have any questions about this laminator and its features, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. You can find our entire selection of roll laminators here.

The PL12A Pouch Laminator’s Replacement

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

PL12A Pouch LaminatorPouch laminators are remarkable machines, making it possible for businesses, homes, schools and others to affordably laminate products. The PL12A (formerly made by Banner American & Laminators Specialties) used to be the pinnacle of pouch laminators. It was considered to be the best out there. Unfortunately the PL12A has been discontinued and it now looks like it will not be coming back. So what does this mean for those of you in the market for a pouch laminator or who need a replacement for a worn out PL12A? I have the perfect replacement for you.

Unfortunately the PL12A is not coming back. That’s right. Neither is the smaller PL4A. This is sad for me because I have been selling and promoting this laminator for well over a decade. It just worked really well. The company, Laminators Specialties, recently closed up shop. Another company is in the process of acquiring their roll laminators (thankfully), but it looks like the pouch laminators aren’t going to be part of that acquisition.

Akiles ProLam Plus 330 Pouch LaminatorLuckily there are a lot of good pouch laminators out there, many of which I have had the chance to personally use. One of the best replacements is the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 (found here). This laminator has also been around for a long time and it currently has all of the features many people came to love in the PL12A. This includes such features as:

  • 10 Mil Laminating Thickness – The thickest standard laminating pouch on the market is the 10 mil thickness. This laminator will easily handle it as well as smaller thicknesses.
  • Adjustable Temperature Control – Rather than having a basic high and low setting, this laminator has an adjustable dial that allows for several different temperature adjustments to accommodate a variety of types of film.
  • Independent Motor / Heat Control – This is a personal favorite. Many laminators require that the motor and the heat be on at the same time via a single switch. This laminator, along with the discontinued PL12A, allows you to leave the heat on without running the motor. This significantly saves on the lifespan of the motor.
  • Four Roller Design – A four-roller design allows for the appropriate amount of heat and pressure distribution during the lamination process. This helps improve clarity and removes artifacts such as waves, ripples, bubbles and cloudiness.

It also includes a few features the PL12A didn’t have such as:

  • Dual Heat System – This makes the ProLam Plus 330 more efficient by providing heated rollers and a heat plate. This more efficient distribution of heat allows for crystal clear results and allows lamination at lower temperatures.
  • Reverse Switch – One of my biggest complaints with the PL12A was the lack of a reverse witch. The ProLam Plus 330 has that, allowing you to back a pouch out if it is fed in crooked.
  • 13” Laminating Width – Having a little extra room to work with makes it easier to laminate 11” x 17” and 12” x 18” pouches.
  • Photo Ready – While the PL12A did a decent job of laminating photos, the use of heated rollers in the ProLam Plus 330 allows for even better results when laminating photos and ink-jet printouts.

We have been recommending the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 as THE alternative to the PL12A and our customers for several months now and they have been very happy with the switch. Having used both, I can comfortably say that you will be very happy with the results and will notice no difference in quality or in functionality over the now discontinued PL12A.

We offer a lot of great pouch laminators. You can find the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 here and our entire selection of pouch laminators here. If you have questions about the PL12A or its replacement, or if you simply need some additional information, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out.

Roll Versus Pouch Laminators – Which to Use

Monday, August 5th, 2013

If you are looking for a reliable way to laminate material on a daily basis, you may be wondering which type of laminator to buy. While several different models exist today, thermal roll and pouch laminators (found here) continue to be the two most popular formats used. These laminators are used to laminate everything from business cards and signs to restaurant menus and banners. So which of these two laminator styles should you consider using?

There are two major things to consider when purchasing a pouch or roll laminator. You need to look at the volume of what you are laminating and the size of what you are laminating. Here is a brief description of how the two types of laminators work:

Pouch Laminators (found here) – Pouch laminators are tabletop units that use pouches of lamination film to laminate documents, literature and other material. These pouches open up much like a file folder, with one edge sealed shut. This can be the long or short side, but it is usually the short side. Once the pouch is opened, the item being laminated can be placed inside. This means there is a layer of lamination film on both the top and the bottom of the object.

Prior to being run through a laminator, the lamination pouch is typically placed in a protective carrier. This carrier is designed to take the lamination pouch through the machine. It provides added rigidity, preventing jams, and helps keep hot glue from squeezing out and getting on the rubber rollers inside the machine. Not all laminators require the laminating pouch to be put in a carrier prior to use. These laminators come in sizes typically ranging from 4” up to 13” wide.

Here is a video of a pouch laminator in use:

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Roll Laminators (found here) – Roll laminators don’t use laminating pouches, but rather lamination rolls. There is a top and a bottom roll, which work together to completely encapsulate the item being laminated. No carrier is required. Simply turn the laminator on, set the temperature, insert the item you are laminating and let the machine do the rest. The end results look great and are equally comparable to the results found in a pouch laminator. These types of laminators rang in sizes anywhere from 12” up to 65” in width.

Here is a video of a roll laminator in use:

Here are the biggest advantages between the two formats:

  • Pouch Laminators – These laminators are much more affordable than roll laminators, although the price of film (per square foot) is slightly higher. These laminators are also extremely portable and very easy to use.
  • Roll Laminators – These laminators are excellent for laminating larger items or several smaller items at the same time. Roll laminators are also extremely fast, making them ideal over pouch laminators for volume and speed.

Where are these laminators typically used? You will usually find pouch laminators in locations such as small businesses, homes, photography studios, schools and churches. You will find roll laminators in copy centers, print shops, schools and other locations where a lot of laminating is required on a daily basis.

So is one format better than the other? I would have to say no. It is really a situation where you really need the right tool for the job. Both formats have their place in business and both produce clean and clear professional results.

Both of these laminators share several features in common. They both use heat to melt glue found on the inside of the lamination film. Both also produce results that are very comparable with each other. These can both be used to laminate photos, cards, menus, business cards and much more.

Do you still have questions about pouch or roll laminators? Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help answer questions and have decades of experience to help point you in the right direction. You can find our entire selection of laminators here.

LWS-1 Roll Laminator Cart & Workstation Stand Review

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

LWS-1 Roll Laminator Cart & Workstation StandI normally only write reviews on machines, but I felt the LWS-1 laminator cart (found here) warranted a review. It has been around for decades and is currently one of the top choices schools, businesses, copy shops and other organizations use for holding their laminator. This warrants the question, “Is the LWS-1 something that I really need in my office?” I would like to answer that question and more in this article.

Roll laminators (found here) are heavy machines. Even the smaller 25” and 27” models still weigh a hefty amount. This creates a couple of problems. First off, a heavy laminator is hard to move around. If you’re in a classroom / school setting, and you need to shuffle and move equipment around on a regular basis, this poses a very big problem.

The second problem is that not all tables and desks are able to support a lot of weight, especially considering many of these laminators weigh in excess of 50 or more pounds. Desks and tables are also large, awkward and can be difficult to maneuver around. A cart makes a laminator easy to access from most angles.

This is where a laminator cart comes into play. The LWS-1 is a laminator cart designed to be used with 27” wide or smaller laminators. It is sometimes called the Tamerica LWS-1 or the HOP LWS-1.  It can support a roll laminator up to 110 pounds and it sits on four casters, making it possible to move a laminator around a room. This card isn’t flimsy like many carts out there. You don’t need to worry about the cart tipping over or causing safety problems like you find with many cheaper laminators.

I have used the LWS-1 laminator cart. We have used it to hold the Ledco Educator and the Easy Lam 27” laminator. In both of these situations, it supported and held the laminator without a problem. The legs that support the table on the LWS-1 is really tough made from a durable metal frame.

The table that sits on top of the frame is also extremely tough. The base of the frame features four plastic guard bumpers that prevent the card from running into and causing damage with walls and office furniture. The cart measures in at 42”L x 26”D x 29 ½”W.

A feature I especially like is the roll film holder and finished product holder. The film holder can be used to hold rolls of lamination film up to 27” wide, making it easy to change out film in a moments notice. A flat slanted basket on the other side of the laminator can be used to hold finished lamination projects or additional supplies.

Overall I would have to say that this cart is the best out there for a laminator up to 27” wide and under 110 pounds. It is mobile, easy to work around and is much nicer to use versus a table or desk. To this day we still use one of these carts out on our own showroom floor.

If you have any questions about this roll laminator cart, just give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We are also able to provide you with roll lamination film (found here) and many other laminator cart and stands (found here). Do you have experience using the LWS-1? Post your experience in this article in the form of a comment. Thanks for reading!

Can Any Laminator Be Used with Photos?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Akiles Pro-Lam Photo LaminatorI spoke with a customer a few days ago who wondered if any laminator could be used to laminate photos. They had apparently been doing research online and had come across a few photo forums where people were saying you simply couldn’t do it yourself and have the results come out right. It sounded to me like this person had come across a lot of vague and incorrect information. After speaking with the customer, I helped answer a few questions and pointed them in the right direction. I would like to help you, the reader, learn more about laminators (found here), photos and which models will get the job done right.

Laminating a photograph can be a stressful event. Regardless of whether the photo was created using a printer or produced in a lab, nobody wants to ruin the photo while laminating it. Some prints are one-of-a-kind items that can’t be reproduced. In order to understand why some laminators work and others don’t, I would like to cover the differences in laminators.

Speedy-Lam 330R-10 10 Roller LaminatorFirst off, the most popular laminator used with photos is the pouch laminator (found here). These laminators use pouches of film that open and close much like a file folder. You basically insert the item you need laminated inside the pouch, place it in a special carrier and run it through the laminator. While cold (pressure sensitive) pouch laminators do exist, thermal (aka hot) laminators are what the professionals use to laminate photos.

Pouch laminators are broken up into different categories, depending on the built-in features. The two most common categories you will find are mil thickness (how thick a film it can use) and the amount of rollers that are inside the machine. Let me start with the mil thickness.

The mil thickness is the actual thickness of the laminating pouch the laminator can handle. A mil is a thousandth of an inch, which is about 0.025mm. The higher the mil number, the thicker the pouch. Laminating pouches (found here) are broken up into 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. Most people use a 5 mil pouch when laminating documents and photos. The 7 and 10 are usually only used with a lot of rigidity and stability are needed, perhaps for a sign. The 3 mil thickness is usually only found with larger pouches, such as those used with restaurant menus.

The roller number is the amount of rubber rollers used in the machine’s design. The minimum number you can have is two, one on the top and one on the bottom. These rollers are what help adhere the hot glue to the item being laminated. These rollers are sometimes heated. The more rollers you have, the better the results. I personally recommend you stay away from two-roller laminators all together as they are generally cheap. Four roller laminators are excellent for laminating paper and documents.

When it comes to laminating photos, especially on a regular basis, I recommend going with 6 rollers or more. This will allow the laminator to produce high-quality results. You won’t end up with artifacts such as bubbles, cloudiness, ripples and other flaws. I have seen photo laminators out there with six, eight and even 10 rollers. These rollers help apply pressure, deliver heat and remove head (towards the end of the process). Can you laminate a photo with a four-roller laminator? Sure, and I have seen good results, but I can’t guarantee that you will always have good results.

Here are a few good photo laminators:

Film quality can also be a factor when laminating a photo. Truth be told, the older the lamination film is, the poorer the results will be. I recommend you use film (for photo laminating) no older than a year, perhaps two. Most film manufactured today, even the cheap stuff, usually produces pretty good results.

My recommendation is that you test the laminator and film with a regular piece of paper prier to sacrificing a photograph. If the paper turns out well, you can then move up to testing a photo.

Do you still have questions about laminating photos? Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our experts. We also have a full-time Service Department that can help you find replacement parts for your roll or pouch laminators. You can find our entire selection of laminators here.

Ten Things to Look for in a School Laminator

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

School Roll LaminatorIf you’re a K-12 school, chances are you laminate a lot of stuff. Most schools use laminators for protecting, enhancing and improving maps, posters, signs, banners, flash cards and educational material. If you’re looking to expand or upgrade your laminating capabilities, this guide is for you. I would like to answer a few questions and point out a few features you should have in your school laminator (found here).

Before I go too much further with this guide, I would like to point out that there are two primary types of laminators. These are pouch and roll. Here is the definition of each:

  • Pouch Laminators (found here) – This is a laminator that uses “pouches” to laminate material. These pouches open up like a file folder, allowing you to insert your photo, card, letter, sign or other material. These pouches range in size from just a few inches to 12″ x 18″ in size. These types of laminators are ideal for laminating smaller items and the laminators themselves usually fit on any table or desk.
  • Roll Laminators (found here) – These laminators are designed for either laminating larger material, such as maps and posters, or for laminating multiple smaller items at the same time. Simply put, these laminators are designed to laminate more than a pouch laminator. These types of laminators can be used on a desk or table, but are also often put on a laminator card or workstation.

Here are ten features I recommend considering when purchasing a school laminator:

  1. Laminator Width – Laminators come in all sizes and shapes. Be sure you buy a laminator that accommodates the largest item you need laminated. The most common sizes schools use are 25″ and 27″ wide roll laminators (found here). That’s because these laminators handle posters, maps, signs and banners.
  2. Film Thickness – Lamination film is available in different thicknesses, referred to as the mil (a thousandth of an inch). The thinnest available is 1.5 mil for roll laminators and 3 mil for pouch laminators. The thickest common film available for all laminators is 10-mil. The most common film for schools is 3 mil, although 1.5 and 5 are also very popular. You can find our laminating pouches here and our lamination rolls here.
  3. Mounting Capabilities – Some teachers like to laminate a poster or sign onto ¼” foam core board. In the laminating industry, this is referred to as mounting. Many roll laminators come with the ability to mount material while laminating. The thickness tolerance varies, so be sure you know what the laminator can handle if mounting is a required feature.
  4. Speed – If you need to laminate a lot of stuff in a short period of time, you may want to take the laminator’s speed into account. Laminators all have a set maximum speed. Some have a variable speed. The speed is usually rated in feet per minute.
  5. Options – A few options you may want to consider in a laminator includes things such as side margin trimmers or a built in slitter for cutting off film after it leaves the laminator. These are purely optional, and many require factory installation, but are definitely something to be aware of prior to making a purchase.
  6. Adjustable Temperature – Most laminators will allow some sort of temperature adjustment. How much control you have, however, varies from one machine to another. Some simply have you select the mil thickness and the temperature is adjusted accordingly. Others offer a dial that allow you to specifically select a temperature. I personally like to have the ability to select a wide range of temperature settings as different types of lamination film require different temperatures.
  7. Analog or Digital – Laminators are now available with analog and digital controls. This means a dial or switch, versus a button or even a touch-capable control. This is often more aesthetic than critical in a laminator. Some laminators with digital controls, however, offer even more control over the laminator’s functions than analog controls.
  8. Brand – Do I have specific brands I like and recommend? You bet! I highly recommend laminators from Laminators Specialties (formerly Banner American), Ledco, Intelli-Lam, Tamerica and Ledco all make top-notch products.
  9. Switches – I’m not a big fan of the “one switch does all” design. I like to have different switches (or buttons) for different functions. I highly recommend you buy a laminator with independent heat and motor switches. By allowing the laminator to warm up, without the motor running, will help extend the life of your laminator.
  10. Cooling Fans – This isn’t a critical feature to have for a school laminator. Cooling fans help quickly cool the lamination film as it leaves the machine, which helps cut down on curling, warping and other lamination artifacts and defects.

I hope this guide helps you out. We have been selling laminators since 1980 and are well versed when it comes to laminators. We have years of information we would love to share with you, so please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. Many schools also like to pay on terms using a Purchase Order. You’ll be happy to know that we accept school purchase orders. They can be faxed or e-mailed in to us.

You can find our entire selection of laminators here. Please feel free to post your comments and questions.

Akiles Pro-Lam Photo Pouch Laminator Review

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Akiles Pro-Lam Photo Pouch LaminatorLaminating photos is a delicate process and requires professional equipment if you want to ensure the job is done right every time. You don’t want to use just any off-the-shelf machine. Laminated photos look great, but when the process doesn’t work, a photo can be permanently destroyed. If you are a professional business, or need the utmost quality in your laminated photos, consider using the Akiles Pro-Lam Photo laminator (found here). This is my review.

There are several reasons why someone may want to laminate a photo. I have broken these down into two types of people:

  • Sentimental Preservation – Photographs can hold a lot of sentimental value, especially when it comes to memories. When dealing with older photos, rare photos and one-of-a-kind photos, you want to use the utmost care. One way many people like to protect and preserve a photo is by laminating it. You do not want ripples, bubbles or cloudiness in the film. The Akiles Pro-Lam Photo is an example of a laminator that can handle sentimental photos and laminate them correctly the first time.
  • Professional Presentation – If you are a photographer, or a business that needs quality laminated photos and signs, the Akiles Pro-Lam is also a great option. Many businesses use lamination for protection and to provide added support to signs, photos and other material. Lamination film has a way of enhancing and bringing out colors. The glossy finish also has a clean and fresh appearance.

There are a few reasons why the Akiles Pro-Lam Photo is so good at laminating photographs. It all starts with the design. To begin with, the Pro-Lam photo uses a 6-roller system. This consists of 4 heated rollers and two cold rollers. In most cases, the more rollers you have in a laminator the higher quality the results will be. Most department store laminators only have 2 rollers and most commercial business laminators have 4. More rollers ensure better heat distribution and better application of pressure.

Technology, along with a microprocessor, built into this laminator helps to regulate the temperature during the laminating process. This especially helps when laminating photographs. Because the temperature is so well regulated, bubbles and other artifacts in the final product are eliminated. This technology also ensures proper lamination regardless of the thickness of the film. The Pro-Lam Photo handles 3, 5, 7 and 10-mil film without a problem.

The Akiles Pro-Lam Photo isn’t just good for laminating photos. It can also be used for laminating standard paper, card stock, for mounting and even for use with some hot foiling. The wide 13″ laminating width handles a wide range of pouch sizes and material.

This laminator includes an auto memory function that will automatically remember the previous speed and temperature settings. This is ideal if you repeat the same job multiple times throughout the day or on a daily basis. When the laminator isn’t being used, it will go into standby mode, which is designed to save on energy as well as ensure a longer laminator lifespan.

A few additional features that make the Akiles Pro-Lam Photo a great option includes:

  • Jam Release Switch – This makes it easy to remove jams and misfeeds.
  • Cold Lamination Function – This allows the laminator to be used with cold lamination and pressure sensitive lamination film.
  • Silicon Rollers – These special rollers allow you to laminate products without or without the use of a carrier.
  • Overheating Protection – If for any reason the laminator gets too hot, it will automatically shut off to prevent a hazardous situation.
  • CE & TUV Certified

In conclusion, I can safely say that Akiles is one of the best manufacturers we work with. Their products, including their laminators and binding machines, are some of the best on the market. Their products are solid. If you do a lot of laminating, need a multi-roll laminator or need something for laminating photos, this is a great option. If you have additional questions about this laminator, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

If you have this laminator or have used it, please post your experience at the end of this article as a comment. Thanks for reading!

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