Posts Tagged ‘Lamination Film’

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.

 

 

Is Thermal Lamination Film Universally Accepted By All Hot Laminators?

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Pouch LaminatorsI recently had a customer ask me if you had to use the laminating film indicated in the laminator’s manual. The manual indicated brand, size, thickness and a few other things. Most manufacturers want you to use their laminating film. GBC is a prime example of this. What many people don’t realize is that most laminating film (found here), regardless of brand, will work in your machine. There are just a few numbers you will need to be aware of before placing an order.

So why do manufacturers want you to use “their” film? It’s all about money. It’s kind of like my Volkswagen’s owner’s manual, which indicates I should have my car’s oil changed by an authorized Volkswagen technician. In reality, just about anyone can change the oil on my car. So now that we have established that you can use other brands of film with your laminator, what else should you look out for?

First off, ensure that the film you are buying is thermal (hot) laminating film and that your laminator is a thermal (hot) laminator. Pressure sensitive film, aka cold laminating film, is not universally accepted in all laminators.

There are a few numbers that you will need to look up when shopping around for laminating film. The first is the mil thickness. A mil is a thousandth of an inch (1 mil = 0.001″). Laminating film usually comes in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. Most pouch and roll laminators can use 1.5, 3 and 5-mil film. The 7 and 10 are a little to thick for some laminators, so be sure your laminator specifically says it can use 7 or 10 mil film before purchasing it.

Roll LaminatorsIf you are using a roll laminator, be sure that the core diameter size of the film that you are buying fits the diameter of mandrel your laminator uses. The core of the film slides over the laminator’s mandrel. Most 8″ to 27″ wide roll laminators use a 1″ diameter core size. Larger wide format laminators use a 2 ¼” up to a 3″ diameter core size.

If you are using a roll laminator, ensure the roll width is the right size for your laminator. A 27″ roll laminator can typically use any laminator width up to 27″. This means you can typically use smaller width rolls as well.

If you are using a pouch laminator, I recommend using a pouch that is ¼” to ½” smaller than the laminator’s maximum width. If your pouch laminator is 12″ wide, and you use a 12″ wide pouch, the likeness of a crooked misfeed is high and can result in a jam. Cutting that width down by up to ½” allows a little room for error.

You can find our entire selection of pouch lamination film here and roll lamination film here. I understand that this may be a little confusing, so please don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Laminator Specialists at 1-800-658-8788 for answers to your questions. We have been in business since 1980 and know a lot about laminators. We can help match up the correct supplies for your machine.

Business Card Laminating Pouches – A Professional Finish

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Laminating Business CardsWhile many things in this world have gone digital, business cards still play an important role in helping establish contacts and promoting an individual or business. There are many ways to create, produce and print business cards. Some are glossy, some have a dull luster and others are created on a laser printer. Regardless of the style of business card you use, you can benefit from laminating them with a business card laminating pouch (found here).

Lamination adds a lot of qualities and benefits to a business card. Aesthetically, it looks great. A laminated business card has a nice shine and glossy “new” look to it. If you don’t like the glossy look, matte pouches are also available. Laminated business cards have several other benefits:

  • They have a longer lifespan.
  • They don’t get bent out of shape.
  • They are less likely to be discarded.
  • They have a professional sturdy feel to them.
  • They are waterproof.
  • They stand out from other business cards.

Business Card Laminating PouchesBusiness card laminating pouches measure in at 2 ¼” x 3 ¾” in size (5.72 cm x 9.53 cm). The standard business card is 2″ x 3.5″ in size. The laminating pouch adds a thin border around the card for added security and durability. This border is usually no more than 1/8″ wide. While most people are fine with a small border, it can be trimmed off by using a rotary paper cutter (found here).

Business card laminating pouches are typically sold in quantities of 100 per box and generally cost less than $5 per pack. They come in different thicknesses, referred to as mil thickness (1 mil = .001″). The higher the mil thickness, the thicker the pouch.

Which mil thickness should you use? In the business card size, there are 5, 7 and 10 mil thick options. The thickness you use really depends on the thickness of your card. If your business card is printed on card stock, you are probably going to be fine with a 5 mil thick pouch. Five mils is the most popular thickness. If you are printing your own business cards on thin stock or standard copy paper, I recommend using a 7 mil thick pouch. Once all is said and done, a 10-mil pouch will give our business card the thickness, weight and feel of a credit card.

Laminating a business card is easy. Place your business card in the pouch, place the pouch in a carrier and run it through a laminator (found here). Once done, you may want to consider rounding the corners by using a corner rounder (found here).

At ABC Office, we offer bulk quantity discounts. We offer price breaks at 5 boxes, 10 boxes, 25 boxes and 50 boxes of film. We are a wholesaler for laminating pouches, so we can typically get you the best price possible. If for any reason you find the price for less, we can almost always match it. You can find our entire selection of business card laminating pouches here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Laminating Film Conversion Guide (Mils, Microns, Inches and Gauge)

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Lamination FilmIf you have been shopping around for laminating film, pouches or lamination rolls (found here), you have probably come across terms such as mil thickness or micron thickness. There are several different ways to measure the thickness of a laminating pouch. I have come up with this conversion chart that should help you determine which pouch thickness you need and which your laminator can handle.

In the United States, lamination film is typically measured in mils and in Europe it is measured in microns (aka micrometer). One is based on English measurements and the other is based on the metric system. In between these two common measurements are other less common measuring units used for determining the thickness of film.

In the US, laminating film usually comes in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thickness. The higher the number, as is the case with microns, the thicker the film. Because most people in the United States measure laminating film by mils, I am going to use mils as the base measurement.

Here is a chart that will help you with your conversions:

Lamination Film Conversion Chart Mills Microns Gauge

Hopefully this information helps you out. As far as mil thickness goes, I have found that 3 and 5 mils are the most popular for pouch laminators and 1.5 and 3 mils are most popular for roll laminators. Ultimately the thickness you use will depend on preference, budget, purpose and laminator capabilities. As you probably know, the thicker the film, the more it will cost.

At ABC Office we offer a great selection of pouch laminating film (found here) and lamination rolls (found here). Our film is extremely affordable, is made from high quality materials and produces beautiful results. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions regarding what type of laminating film you may need.

We also offer a great selection of pouch laminators (found here) and roll laminators (found here).

5 Mil Laminating Pouches – Best Universal Thickness

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

5 Mil Laminating PouchesWhen shopping around for laminating pouches (found here), you probably want to use the best thickness for the job at hand. While you may not know what thickness to buy, I can tell you that 5 mil laminating pouches are by far the most popular thickness. ABC Office offers a great selection of 5 mil pouches in a wide range of sizes. So why is the 5 mil thickness so popular? I’ll explain in this article.

To begin with, you probably need to know what a mil is. Mil is not short for millimeter, although many people think it is. A 5-millimeter pouch would be extremely thick. A mil is one hundredth of an inch (1 mil = 0.001″), where a millimeter is 0.039″ thick. In relation to what we are used to dealing with, a mil is pretty thin. A 1.5 mil pouch is about as thin as they come and a 10-mil pouch is about as thick as they comb. Five mils is a great compromise between price and durability.

At ABC Office, we offer 5 mil pouches in about 18 different sizes. These include:

  • Business Card (2 1/4″ x 3 3/4″)
  • Credit Card (2 1/8″ x 3 3/8″)
  • Driver’s License (2 3/8″ x 3 5/8″)
  • IBM (2 5/16″ x 3 1/4″)
  • Key Card (2 1/2″ x 3 7/8″)
  • Miliary (2 5/8″ x 3 7/8″)
  • School Card (2 1/2″ x 3 5/8″)
  • Jumbo (2 15/16″ x 4 1/8″)
  • Luggage Tag w/o Slot (2 1/2″ x 4 1/4″)
  • Luggage Tag w/ Slot (2 1/2″ x 4 1/4″)
  • Index Card (3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″)
  • Circulation Card (3 15/16″ x 5 11/16″)
  • Postal Card (3 9/16″ x 5 5/16″)
  • Extra Circulation Card (3 15/16″ x 6 7/8″)
  • 6″ x 9″
  • 9″ x 11 ½”
  • 9″ x 14 ½”
  • 12″ x 18″

These various size pouches can be used to create photo IDs, laminate photos, business cards, menus, cards, signs and much more. The 5 mil thickness is affordable, with 100 pouches per box costing very little, yet it still has enough stability to keep the item being laminated from being easily damaged.

Unlike other online dealers of laminating pouches, whose quality is often questionable, ABC Office’s pouch laminating film is fresh, new and high-quality stuff. It has a crystal clear finish with a glossy surface.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminating film here and our entire selection of pouch laminators here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Laminating Film is Cloudy! What Can I Do?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Laminating Pouches & Film / TroubleshootingHave you ever run a picture or an important document through a pouch laminator only to have it come out with cloudy splotches all over it? It can be pretty frustrating, especially if it is something you really care about. So is there anything that you can do to fix the cloudy splotches? Here are a few tips.

You may have noticed, when you first place a document in a laminating pouch, that the film is translucent. That is because the glue, which lines the inside of the pouch, hasn’t been melted. Once melted, the glue becomes clear and stays that way. If the glue isn’t properly melted, some of that translucent cloudiness remains.

I would say 9 times out of 10, when cloudy splotches and spots appear, the laminator being used is running too cool. Some areas of the film melt and laminate properly, but the rest remains in an “unlaminated” state.

There are two things you can do to fix this problem. The first thing you can do is run your pouch through the laminator again and hope that a couple of passes will properly laminate the film. Your second option is to increase the heat of the laminator and run the pouch through. This should eliminate the cloudy spots.

If you are still noticing cloudy spots, even after adjusting the temperature or re-running the pouches through the laminator, your film may be too old or the laminator may be defective. If the film is too old, you’re probably out of luck and will need to buy new film. Unfortunately, the item you are laminating may be irreparably cloudy. I would certainly try at least running the pouch through another laminator before deeming the project a failure.

Some lower-end pouch laminators may require that you run the laminator through multiple times, every time. This is often the result of the laminator only having 2 rollers, which sometimes results in uneven heat distribution, or the laminator may simply have a week heating element.

For clean and clear results every time, I highly recommend using a laminator with 4 rollers or more. The more rollers used, the more evenly heat is distributed, which in turn produces great results.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here and our entire selection of pouch laminating film here.

Good luck!

10 Mil Laminating Pouches & Film Explained

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

10 Mil Thick Laminating Pouches & FilmDo you have a pouch laminator and want to be able to use the coveted 10-mil thick pouch? There are a few things you may not know about 10 mil thick pouches. I will explain in great detail everything you need to know about 10-mil thick film in this article.

In case you are unfamiliar with the term “mil,” a mil is one thousandth of an inch. That means that a 10 mil pouch is 10 thousandths of an inch or 0.010″ thick.

A bit of trivia: A 10-mil pouch isn’t actually 10 mils thick. It is in fact 20 mils thick. This is because pouch thickness measurements only take into account one side of the pouch. That means both flaps together equal 20 mils.

All said and done, counting the paper / material inside the pouch, a 10 mil pouch is closer to 30 mils thick laminated. A credit card is 30 mils thick. I can tell you from personal experience that a laminated 10-mil pouch is extremely rigid.

Ten mil thick pouches are not the most common thickness used with laminators. The 5-mil thickness is actually the most common thickness purchased today. This is due in part to the fact that 5 mil pouches are almost universally accepted by pouch laminating machines.

Not all pouch laminators can handle a 10 mil thick pouch. Before you purchase film, be sure your laminator can handle a 10-mil thick pouch.

At ABC Office we offer a huge selection of 10 mil thick laminating pouches and film. This includes credit card, IBM card, business card, luggage tag, letter size and many other pouch sizes. You can find our entire selection of 10 mil thick laminating film here.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here. Our laminators, under the specifications, will indicate the thickness of laminating film they can handle.

Does Laminating Film Expire? (Lamination Shelf Life)

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Laminating / Lamination Rolls & FilmI had a customer ask me a while back how long laminating pouches and lamination rolls lasted before they stopped working. I honestly didn’t know a definitive answer at the time. I just sent this question over to TJ with Banner American and he provided me with a detailed answer to this question, “Does Laminating Film Expire?” This is his answer.

Does Laminating Film Expire? Answered by TJ McCarthy with Banner American:

Thermal laminating films are made by coating a film such as polyester, polypropylene, nylon, etc.. with a thermal polymer based plastic adhesive.  During the extrusion coating process the adhesive is treated to increase its surface energy to a specific level which enhances the adhesives’ ability to wet-out as it is laminated onto the print which improves the ability to the adhesive to stick to the item being laminated.

The measurement of the surface energy is called dyne level.  Banner American’s premium HMR grade laminating films for traditionally printed output are treated to a range of 44-52 dynes. Digikote laminates for inkjet prints are treated to a range of 52-54 dynes.  BANLAM DLF laminates for fuser oil based color copier output are treated to a range of 52-56 dynes.  Digikote and BANLAM DLF films have a higher dyne levels because inkjet and fuser oil based prints are much more difficult to adhere to than traditionally printed output. Over time the dyne treatment slowly decays and as the dyne level drops the adhesive loses some of its adhesion.

The industry standard recommended shelf life for all types of thermal laminating films is 1 year.  This does not mean that film older than 1 year is no good it only means the film’s adhesion level has dropped below its ideal level and therefore the manufacturer no longer stands behind its performance.  It really depends on what is being laminated.

Banner American Roll LaminatorOld film probably won’t adhere to inkjet or fuser oil based output because they are the most difficult types of output to stick to.  Most traditionally printed output is much easier to stick to so old film may work fine on it for several years.  I still use Glenroy pouches, which are at least 8 years old, and they work fine on my black & white laser printer output, newspaper articles and even traditional photographs.

Recommended shelf life for cold pressure sensitive laminating films and mounting adhesives vary by manufacturer and product and range from 6 months to 5 years and are always based upon storage in ideal conditions.  Banner American’s cold laminating and mounting films have a maximum shelf life of 3 years under ideal storage conditions – 60 to 80° F; 40 – 65% relative humidity.

BANTAC Exhibit 5 has only a 1 year maximum shelf life under ideal storage conditions – 60 to 80° F; 40 – 65% relative humidity.  Exceeding shelf life on cold films can cause the adhesive to dry out which can result in bond failure and release liner removal difficulty.  Also, PVC (vinyl) films lose plasticizers over time, which can cause the film to shrink and lose flexibility.

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So there you have it! That is a great answer to a very common question. You can find our entire selection of Banner American laminators here and our entire selection of laminating film here.

5 Mil Laminating Film – Best Thickness?

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Laminating Film / Lamination SuppliesWhen customers are shopping around for laminating film and supplies, I often get asked which thickness is the most popular. Laminating pouches (and rolls) can be found in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. While all thicknesses of laminating film have certain benefits, the 5 mil thickness is the most commonly used. This is why.

To begin with, 5 mil laminating film is the most universally accepted mil thickness used by laminators, especially pouch laminators. Both 7 and 10 are often too thick for most entry to mid-level laminators. Thinner 1.5 and 3 mil film is also very popular with roll laminators.

Five mil thick laminating film is popular because it provides a nice clean look with great support without being too flimsy or as thick as a credit card. It can be used to effectively laminate photographs, business cards, menus and more.

Cost is another factor. The 5-mil thickness is also a great balance on price. The thicker the film, the more expensive it is.

While all these factors point to 5-mil laminating film as being the most popular, thicker and thinner films have their benefits as well.

You can find our pouch laminating film here and our roll laminating film here. Be sure to check the user manual prior to purchasing film. You don’t want to end up with film that is too thick for your laminator. Using laminating film that is too thick often manifests itself in cloudy patches in the film.

You can find our entire selection of laminators here. Have a great day!

What Film Core Size Should Your Roll Laminator Use?

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Banner American Green Roll LaminatorSo you have a roll laminator and now need some replacement film for it. So what size core should you get? There are three common sizes available. This includes one-inch, 2 ¼-inch and three inch. Here are a few ways to get the right film for your laminator.

The easiest way is to simply measure the inner diameter of the hole on your old roll lamination film. Unfortunately this isn’t always an option. Often times the old rolls are no longer around or the person that used to buy the film is no longer with the company.

Another way to determine the size of film you need is to measure the mandrel. The mandrel is the rod that the roll film is slid onto. A one-inch mandrel is pretty easy to spot out. The 2 ¼ or three-inch mandrel may require you to break out the tape measure.

As a general rule, roll laminators that fall within the 25 to 27-inch wide range use a one-inch core. The one-inch core diameter is the most common size used today.

Larger roll laminators (30-inches plus) typically use a wider core. This is because the wider film usually requires more stability.

Roll Lamination FilmWhat if you have a one-inch mandrel on your laminator but the film you want to use is only available with a larger 2 ¼ or three-inch core? Some laminator manufacturers make core adapters that will allow you to use a larger core film with a smaller mandrel.

Still not sure what film you need to use with your laminator? Call one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of roll lamination film here.  You can find our entire selection of roll laminators here.

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