Posts Tagged ‘Roll Laminators’

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.

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.

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.

Replacement 27″ Rolls of Lamination Film – Machine Compatibility List

Monday, February 11th, 2013

27" Wide Roll Lamination FilmIf you own a laminator and are looking for some replacement lamination film (found here), you may be wondering if the film you are finding is going to work with your machine. At ABC Office, we offer a great selection of affordable film, so I have taken each of our 27″ wide roll laminators and have created a list that shows which machine is compatible with our standard 27″ wide film. This list will help you find compatible roll lamination film.

The most common type of 27″ roll lamination film we offer is what’s known as thermal lamination film, meaning the glue is activated by heat. This film has a glossy finish and is totally clear when laminated. We offer our 27″ wide roll film in 1.5, 3, 5 and 10 mil thicknesses. The length of the film depends on the thickness of the film. Our 1.5 mil film is 500 feet long, where our 10 mil film is 100 feet long. The higher the mil thickness, the thicker the film. One mil equals 0.001″.

I will begin by listing our 27″ wide 1.5 mil thick film that has a 1″ core and will go up from there. Remember, I am only covering the 27″ wide film in this article. Also be aware that most 27″ laminators can use smaller width rolls.

27" Wide Roll Laminators27″ Film 1.5 Mil w/ 1″ Core (found here)
Compatible Roll Laminators:

  • EZLam School Budget
  • ARL 2700 Roll Laminator
  • Tamerica TCC2700
  • EZLam 27″ Roll Laminator
  • GBC Pinnacle 27 (Non EZLoad Version)
  • GBC Ultima 65 Roll Laminator
  • Mightly-Lam 2700 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Compass Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Premier 4 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Professor Laminator
  • SircleLam SRL-2700-HR
  • SircleLam SRL-2700-Plus
  • SircleLam Eclipse
  • SircleLam QuickPrint 27

ARL2700 Roll Laminator27″ Film 3 Mil w/ 1″ Core (found here)
Compatible Roll Laminators:

  • EZLam School Budget
  • ARL 2700 Roll Laminator
  • Tamerica TCC2700
  • EZLam 27″ Roll Laminator
  • GBC Pinnacle 27 (Non EZLoad Version)
  • GBC Ultima 65 Roll Laminator
  • Mightly-Lam 2700 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Compass Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Premier 4 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Professor Laminator
  • SircleLam SRL-2700-HR
  • SircleLam SRL-2700-Plus
  • SircleLam Eclipse
  • SircleLam QuickPrint 27

Ledco Compass 27" Roll Laminator27″ Film 5 Mil w/ 1″ Core (found here)
Compatible Roll Laminators:

  • Tamerica TCC2700
  • EZLam 27″ Roll Laminator
  • Mightly-Lam 2700 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Compass Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Premier 4 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Professor Laminator
  • SircleLam Eclipse
  • SircleLam QuickPrint 27

Ledco Professor 27" Roll Laminator27″ Film 10 Mil w/ 1″ Core (found here)
Compatible Roll Laminators:

  • Tamerica TCC2700
  • EZLam 27″ Roll Laminator
  • Mightly-Lam 2700 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Compass Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Premier 4 Roll Laminator
  • Ledco Professor Laminator
  • SircleLam Eclipse
  • SircleLam QuickPrint 27

One thing you may notice as you look through this list is that there are far fewer roll laminators capable of handling the thicker 5 and 10 mil film. If you have a 27″ wide thermal roll laminator with a 1″ core, you can more than likely use all of the 1″ core film found on this page. You can find our entire selection of 27″ wide roll laminators here. If you are unsure, or have additional questions about compatibility with your laminator, please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out.

Can You Mix the Mil Thickness of Roll Laminating Film?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Roll Laminating FilmI recently had a customer, who was using a roll laminator, ask if they could mix the mil thickness of their film rolls (find our film here). They wanted to use a 1.5 mil thickness film on the back and a 3 mil on the front. He wanted to know if it could be done and if I had any advice on how to get it to work properly. This isn’t the firs time I’ve gotten a question like this. I have a little advice I’d like to share about mixed mil thicknesses and how to get the results you want

The above-mentioned customer wanted a thicker film on the front that would be exposed for added protection. He still wanted film on the back of the sign, but wanted to save money by using a thinner film. This is a fairly common reason for mixing film. The thinner film comes in longer rolls and costs less per square foot. Some people only laminate one side all together to save money.

Before you jump on board with mixing laminating film thicknesses, keep in mind that there is a little work involved in getting things properly set up. If you don’t want to mess around with a trial and error process, you are probably better off keeping the mil thickness the same on the top and bottom. If you want to try mixing film, whether it is for a certain look or to simply save money, here are my personal recommendations.

  • Roll LaminatorsCore Size – While you may be mixing the mill thickness of your laminating rolls, you cannot mix the core size of the film. If you’re laminator has 1″ mandrels, only use film with a 1″ diameter core.
  • Mandrel Tension – Because you are using film of different thicknesses, you will need to adjust the tension on the mandrels accordingly. Failure to adjust the tension can result in curled film. You want your film to come out of the roll laminator flat and flush. If the film is curing up, you may need to relieve tension on the top mandrel or increase tension on the bottom mandrel. This will involve a little trial and error work on your part.
  • Temperature Settings – Different film thicknesses (and brands) require different temperature settings. Thicker film often requires less temperature because it retains the heat longer. If you are using a 1.5 and a 3 mil film, you will have to play around with the temperature settings until you find that “sweet spot.” Most glossy laminating film has a melting temperature between 260 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. I recommend starting low and working your way up. If the film is cloudy, you will need to turn up the temperature.

Once you have figured out what your laminator likes, I recommend jotting the settings down on paper so you can get things up and running in just minutes after the next roll change. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

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

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.

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.

Introducing Four New 27″ SircleLam Roll Laminators

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

If you are a school, a business or an organization that handles, prints or deals with posters, maps, signs and other printed material, you may be interested to know that we have just added four new 27″ roll laminators to our site. These new laminators are from SircleLam, a leading manufacturer of pouch laminators, binding machines and other precision office equipment. Their products are known for being extremely affordable, yet packed with features. One of these four new roll laminators may be just what you need.

All four of these new laminators come in a 27″ laminating width and all four feature a 1″ mandrel. Both the 27″ width and 1″ mandrel are the most common specifications found in laminators today. The 27″ laminating width can be used for laminating posters, maps and more. They can even be used to laminate several smaller items at the same time. Twenty-seven inch wide film is extremely common and each of these laminators can be fitted with smaller rolls if needed.

So which of these four new SircleLam laminators is for you? Really it all boils down to the features you need, the type of film you wan to use and the budget that you are on. I would like to highlight a few features of each of these new laminators. This may help you determine which model is best for you.

SircleLam Roll Laminators

  1. SircleLam SRL-2700-HR (found here) – This laminator is the budget roll laminator. It still has a nice 27″ laminating width, but won’t handle laminating film thicker than 3 mils. This isn’t a big deal for most people as a 3 mil thickness is one of the most common used today. The SRL-2700-HR still features an LED display, is built with several key safety features and includes a 2-setting temperature adjustment.
  2. SircleLam SRL-2700-Plus (found here) – This 27″ laminator is very similar to the HR version, but includes a variable temperature dial and is slightly faster at 6 feet per minute. It also features an automatic shutoff after inactivity.
  3. SircleLam Eclipse (found here) – This laminator is 27″ wide, just like the above-mentioned laminators, but has several new features. This laminator runs at a speed of up to 10 feet per minute and can be used with laminating film up to 10 mils thick. This laminator is perfect for daily use and can be used for medium-volume laminating. It can also be used for mounting up to 3/16″ thick. The Eclipse also features a 3 position roller gap control.
  4. SircleLam QuickPrint 27 (found here) – This is the workhorse of the SircleLam lineup of 27″ laminators. It has a nice 15 feet per second laminating speed, has a 7-position roller gap control and even includes a built-in trimmer. Capable of using laminating film from 1.5 up to 10 mils thick, this is a great higher-end laminator. It is perfect for print shops, copy centers and more.

If you have questions about these four different models, please feel free to speak with one of our Laminating Specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of roll laminators here.

Ten Things to Consider When Buying a Laminator

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Roll LaminatorsLaminators come in all shapes and sizes and isolating the model that will work best for you can be a challenge. The two most popular types of laminators used today are pouch laminators (found here) and roll laminators (found here). These are both commonly used in businesses for laminating a wide variety of documents. In order to purchase the right machine, you will want to ask yourself a few questions.

Here are 10 things you will want to consider before purchasing your laminator:

  1. What is your budget? While a budget shouldn’t hold you back from correct laminator you need, it will still play a role in narrowing down the field. I recommend speaking with a Customer Service Rep (800-658-8788) for help narrowing down the field once you know what you want. They are very good at working within your budget.
  2. What will you be laminating? What type of material are you laminating? If you are laminating something that is temperature sensitive, you may want to consider going with a cold laminator (found here) like those from Ledco or Xyron. If you are laminating photographs, consider a laminator with at least four rollers or more. The more rollers, the more professional the results.
  3. What is the largest size you will be laminating? Don’t just take into account what you are laminating now, but also what you will laminate later down the road. Remember, wider laminators (both pouch and roll) can be used with smaller laminating pouches or rolls. Also be aware that most pouch laminators max out around 14″ wide. If you need to laminate something wider than 14″ (perhaps a poster, banner or map), I recommend going with a roll laminator. They range in size anywhere from 12″ up to 70″ wide.
  4. How much will you be laminating? As a general rule, pouch laminators are ideal for small to medium volume laminating and roll laminators are good for medium to high-volume laminating. I consider laminating a few dozen to a few hundred items a day to be small to medium and a few hundred to a few thousand items a day to be medium to high volume.
  5. What thickness of film would you like to use? Laminating film (found here) is measured in mils, which is a thousandth of an inch (0.01″). The larger the mil thickness, the thicker the pouch or roll. Film usually comes in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. The most common used with pouch laminators is 5 mils and the most common used with roll laminators is 1.5 and 3 mils.
  6. Who will be using the laminator? While it is best for only an adult to use a laminator, pouch laminators are by far the safest for children to use under supervision. I do not recommend children using a roll laminator. There are far more exposed “hot” components in a roll laminator.
  7. Where will you be keeping your laminator? Space is always an issue and roll laminators take up far more space than pouch laminators.
  8. Will the laminated documents be used indoors or outdoors? This applies more to film than the laminators themselves. If you plan to use your laminated documents outside, be sure to use UV laminating film. UV film will filter out damaging UV rays that cause color prints to fade. If you don’t expect your laminated items to be outside more than a week or two, you may be fine with standard film.
  9. Do you need to mount pictures on foam core board? If you need to mount posters, maps and pictures to foam core board, you will probably need to use a roll laminator. Most roll laminators will specify if they can mount, and if they can, it will usually let you know what the maximum thickness is.
  10. Which brand is the best? There are a lot of great brands out there. As far as pouch laminators go, I have had great luck with Akiles, Banner American (now out of business), GBC and Tamerica. As far as roll laminators go, I have had great luck with Ledco, GBC, Banner American (now out of business) and Tamerica.

Hopefully these ten tips have helped you out. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788. You can also find our entire selection of laminators and film here.

Banner American Pouch and Roll Laminator Alternatives

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Banner American PL12a Pouch Laminator AlternativesIn case you haven’t heard, the iconic manufacturer of pouch and roll laminators, Banner American, recently went out of business. While you can still find a few of their laminators here and there (lingering stock), people are now wondering which laminators are good alternatives. Banner laminators were probably some of the best on the market. Luckily there are some great alternatives out there.

Banner American was easily one of my favorite laminator manufacturers. They made laminators like the PL12A, Pl4A, PL100, Easy Lam and many other laminators. Their products were mostly made in America and lasted literally for years. I remember us having a PL12A out on our showroom for 5+ years without issue. We used it to laminate samples, test pouches, shoot video demos, for demonstrations and more. I know of customers who had their PL laminators for over a decade.

I would like to produce a list of some Banner American laminators and their ideal alternatives. These pouch and roll laminators should perform on an equal level to the old Banner American laminators.

  • Banner American MightyLam-2700HC AlternativeBanner American PL4A Alternative – The best replacement for this laminator is the Akiles Pro-Lam 100 (found here). This laminator is still 4″ wide and is still perfect for quickly laminating ID badges.
  • Banner American PL12A Alternative – An ideal replacement for this laminator is the Akiles ProLam 320 (found here). This laminator is just ¼” wider than the PL12A and features a very similar build quality.
  • Banner American PL135 Alternative – A great 13″ wide alternative to this laminator is the Akiles iLam 340 (found here). This laminator accepts most pouches and is just as good.
  • Banner American PL135-4 Alternative – A good replacement to the PL135-4 is the Akiles ProLam Plus 330 (found here). This laminator has a comparable 13″ width and in my opinion is a better laminator.
  • Banner American Easy Lam Alternative – A comparable laminator to the classic Banner American Easy Lam is the Tamerica TCC2700 (found here). This laminator accepts the same film as the Easy Lam while producing similar results.
  • Banner American Easy Lam II Alternative – A great replacement to this iconic roll laminator is the GBC Ultima 65 (found here). It is still a 27″ roll laminator and can still be used in schools to laminate posters, signs, banners and more.
  • Banner American MightyLam 2700HC Alternative – The standard MightyLam 2700 and newer MightyLam 2700 were both classics. A great alternative to this classic is the GBC Pinnacle 27″ roll laminator (found here). It has about the same build quality and duty cycle. Another good alternative is the Ledco Professor 27″ Laminator.
  • Banner American ValueLam 4500HC Alternative – This laminator was one of Banner American’s heaviest-duty models. It could be used for laminating, mounting and more.  There are a couple of laminators that compare, although they are a bit more of an investment. The first is the Pro-Lam PL-244WF and the second is the MRL 42 Roll Laminator.

While it is extremely sad to see a valued manufacturer like Banner American go, it is nice to know that there are some high-quality alternatives out there. I have personally used laminators from Tamerica, GBC, Ledco and Akiles and can vouch for the fact that you will be just as happy with them as you would have been with the Banner American alternative.

We also carry a great selection of other laminating machines that you may want to consider using. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here and roll laminators here. If you need additional help finding a Banner American alternative, please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788.

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