Posts Tagged ‘Laminator Troubleshooting’

Common Roll Laminator Issues & Solutions

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Roll Laminator TroubleshootingRoll laminators are amazing machines. If you have never used one, you have probably seen something laminated on one. Roll laminators are typically easy machines to use, which is why it is so frustrating when things don’t go as planned. Roll laminators (found here), as amazing as they are, can cause some serious headaches. If you know what you’re doing, and what to look out for, you should be able to quickly remedy any issues you may run across. Here are some common issues and some simple solutions to help you out.

Before you troubleshoot a roll laminator, it is important to have basic knowledge on how they work. The process is simple when you break it down into a few simple features:

  1. Roll laminators use two rolls of film. One roll goes on the top and the other roll goes on the bottom. This is often referred to as double-sided lamination.
  2. Roll laminators use special film rolls that are placed on rods called mandrels. This is how laminating film is attached to a roll laminator and it is from there that the film is dispersed.
  3. Roll laminators use heat to melt the glue on the laminating film, causing it to stick to the document or item being laminated. When the item leaves the laminator, the glue cools and the process is completed.
  4. Paper enters the roll laminator from the front and exits it from the back.

With this basic knowledge in mind, here are a few of the most common issues that occur with roll laminators and simple solutions to fix them:

  • Cloudy Film – Symptoms of cloudy film involve patches of white throughout the laminated document. This is typically the result of non-melted film. When the adhesive melts on laminating film, it becomes crystal clear. The easiest way to remedy this issue is to turn the temperature up on the laminator. If this still doesn’t fix the problem, you may be using old film or defective film.
  • Ripples – If your film has ripples in it, the film may be being fed in incorrectly. When the top roll and bottom roll aren’t aligned, this can cause ripples and crinkles in the film. Try running the laminator without documents and see how the film is lining up. If it isn’t aligned, adjust the roll on the mandrel until it is lined up with the other roll. This could also be the result of the tension being far too high on one of the rolls, causing film to be dispersed faster on one roll than the other. Most user’s manuals include instructions on properly adjusting the tension on a mandrel.
  • Waves – Waves in laminating film is usually the result of the temperature being too hot. The glue is liquefying too quickly and slides around, resulting in waves when the glue solidifies. Try turning the temperature down and see if this remedies the problem. It could be that the tension on your film mandrels needs to be adjusted as well.
  • Bubbles – Bubbles in film is almost always the result of the temperature being too high. Many people don’t realize different mil thicknesses of film require different temperatures. If there are bubbles in the film, the glue is actually boiling, creating air pockets in the film Turn the temperature down and you will more than likely fix the problem.
  • Curl – If your film is curling, you have the tension too high or too low on one of the film roller’s mandrels. What is happening is one roller is dispensing film slightly faster or slower than the other roller. This causes the film to curl into a U shape after it is cut. While the results may look OK, curled film is difficult to work with and isn’t good for signs, posters and other documents. Try tightening or loosing the tension on one of the mandrels. Run a few tests and decide if more adjustments are necessary. If the curling gets worse, it means you need to loosen the tension rather than tighten it.
  • Jams – I have found that the most common culprit with a roll laminator jam is misfeeding the document from the start. This is where it is critical that you have your side guide properly lined up. If the document is fed crooked, even if it is off by a few millimeters, the angle will progressively get worse as the material is pulled into the laminator. Eventually the document will hit the side of the laminator and will cause a jam to occur. The only solution is to ensure the side guide is correct and that the item is fed in properly. This also happens when a user is trying to laminate an item that is probably too big for the laminator being used. A 27″ laminator can be used to laminate a 27″ wide document, but there is absolutely zero room for error.

This isn’t going to solve all your issues, but should help with the most common issues. We have a really nice Service Department here at ABC Office that can help you fix your roll laminator, get replacement parts and more. You can contact our Laminator Service Department by calling 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of roll laminators here.

Best Way to Clear out a Jammed Pouch Laminator

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Clear Pouch Laminator JamsPouch laminators (found here) are wonderful machines to have in the office or even at home. They can be used to protect, enhance and preserve a wide variety of documents. Many people like to laminate photographs, their business cards, menus, signs and more. So what do you do when things go south and your pouch laminator jams? Here are a few tips that may help you get your laminator back up and running.

I would like to break this article don into three categories. I would first like to cover why jams occur and what you can do to prevent them, how to fix a jam if one occurs and what not to do.  While these tips aren’t a guarantee, they should at lest help put you on the right track.

Why do laminating jams occur? The most common reason a laminator experiences a jam is a misfeed. This occurs when a pouch is fed into a laminator at an angle. As the laminating film continues its progression through the laminator, the incorrect angle worsens until the film is crashing into the side of a laminator. If the laminator is not stopped, this can result in permanent damage to the laminator’s gears or motor.

The second most common reason for a laminator jamming is the lack of using a carrier. Laminating pouches are floppy and have almost no rigidity until they are laminated. For this reason, carriers are typically used. Carriers look like manila folders. The lack of using a carrier can often result in the film wrapping under a roller, which can result in the pouch lodging itself in the laminator. While many laminators today claim they are carrierless, I still recommend using a carrier.

How can you fix your jammed laminator? If your laminating pouch is feeding in crooked, try flipping the reverse switch and backing it back out. This will allow you to re-position the pouch. Many laminators, especially those made by Fellowes, include a release lever that releases the laminator’s roller pressure. If your laminator isn’t equipped with a reverse button or a clamp release, turn off the motor and try gently tugging on the pouch. If it moves, try pulling it a little more until you have it released. If the pouch doesn’t move, don’t try forcing it. At this point you’re either going to have to remove the cover of the laminator you’re your going to have to call our Service Technician at 1-800-658-8788.

If the film is wrapped around the rollers inside your laminator (as a result of not using a carrier), you are going to have to remove the cover of your laminator. This will give you access to the inside of the laminator, making film wraparounds easy to remove. Be sure the laminator is unplugged and cool before attempting this. If the idea of using a screwdriver to remove your laminator’s cover is a bit intimidating, please don’t hesitate to call our Service Department at 1-800-658-8788.

Things you should never do. Never under any circumstances try forcing a stuck pouch out of the laminator. This can result in stripped gears and other broken parts. Also, never try using a knife or a pair of scissor to try and “fish out” a jammed pouch. This will often only result in damage to the delicate silicon rollers inside the machine.

If you need additional tips, or would simply like some advice, please call our Service Department at 1-800-658-8788. They are more than happy (and equipped) to help you fix your roll or pouch laminator. They can also provide you with replacement parts. If your laminator is at its end, consider one of our new pouch laminators found here.

Laminator Troubleshooting Guide – Common Laminating Issues

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

GBC Heatseal Pouch LaminatorSo you’re laminator is heated up and ready to go, but the results aren’t turning out exactly the way you had hoped. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. We get calls from customers on a regular basis with laminating woes. Luckily most laminating issues can be quickly resolved by making a few simple adjustments to your laminator. Here are some of the most common issues we see on a daily basis:

My lamination film ends up cloudy.

Cloudy film is very common in thermal laminating film and is almost always a result of the laminator being too cold. The cloudiness in the film is un-melted glue. Turning up the heat on your laminator will almost always fix this. In rare cases, this can be a result of using old film.

My lamination film has ripples and waves in it.

Ripples and waves are caused by either too much heat or bad silicon rollers. If you notice waves in your laminating film, turn down the heat and see if that fixes the problem. Although rare, this can be caused by warped or damaged rollers in which case you will need to speak with our Service Technician at 1-800-658-8788 x129.

My laminating film ends up with bubbles in it.

Bubbles are almost always caused by excessive heat. Bubbles are caused when the glue gets so hot that it actually boils. This can be quickly fixed by turning down the heat on your laminator.

Can laminating film get old?

The effectiveness of laminating film can diminish with age. One sign your film is getting too old is cloudiness in the film after it has been laminated. Laminating film, however, has a shelf life of several years. Need new film? You can find our pouch laminating film here and our roll laminating film here.

My laminator is jammed, what do I do?

First off, don’t use scissors or a screwdriver to try and fish out the paper as this can damage internal components. If your laminator has a reverse button, try using it. This will often safely back out the film. In worst-case scenarios, the cover of the laminator may need to be removed to gain access to the jammed film.

If you are still experiencing issues, even after trying these tips, feel free to call our Service & Repair Department at 1-800-658-8788 x129. You may also contact our Service and Repair Department by filling out this form.

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