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How To Use A Pouch Laminator:

What is pouch laminating?

Pouch laminators are the most popular type of laminator used today. They are relatively inexpensive, yet the job they do is invaluable for report covers, protecting photographs, business cards and more.

Why is it called a pouch laminator? This is because this style of laminator uses a lamination pocket, aka pouch, to laminate documents and material. The laminating sheet has a seam and is folded over, making a convenient pocket. Material is slid into this lamination folder, where it is then run through the laminator.

Most laminators use a lamination pouch carrier. The carrier looks a lot like a manila folder and is designed to protect the laminating machine. As a lamination pouch is run through a laminator, the glue gets warmed up, allowing it to stick to the object being laminated. The rollers in the laminator then squeeze the lamination film onto the object being laminated, removing bubbles and creating a tight seal. Excess hot glue, albeit a small amount, can seep out of the sides of the lamination pouch. The carrier has a non-stick surface that catches this hot glue and prevents the hot glue from "gumming" up the machine. Lamination carriers also provide rigidity to the item being laminated, preventing jams.

You need to be aware that not all pouch laminators are created equal. There are several features, bells and whistles in different models. This accounts for much of the price difference between laminator models.

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Differences between pouch laminators.

1. Rollers - Laminators use silicon rollers to assist with the lamination process. These rollers apply pressure and distribute heat. Basic pouch laminators only have two rollers. Medium to high-volume laminators often use four rollers. Many high-end photograph laminators will even use six rollers. The more rollers, the better the lamination results will look. I like to recommend four-roller laminators, such as the PL12A.

2. Buttons - Some basic pouch laminators only have one button to operate the laminator. This button turns on the heat and the motor at the same time. Many higher-end pouch laminators will include two buttons, one for heat and the other for the motor. Two buttons are nice because it allows the operator to heat up the laminator, but not wear out the motor in the process.

3. Temperature Control - Some basic laminators do not allow you to adjust the temperature. They use a "one temperature fits all" setup. Many higher-end laminators give you the option to adjust the temperature to accommodate various types of lamination film.

4. Width - Laminators are available in many different sizes. The smallest laminators are usually around four-inches wide. Laminators are typically about 12-inches wide, but may be wider. Wider laminators are usually more of an investment than smaller pouch laminators.

5. Mil Thickness - Different laminators are capable of handling different thicknesses of lamination film, referred to as the mil thickness. A mil is one-thousandth of an inch. Entry-level laminators typically can't handle anything over 5 mils. Higher-end laminators can handle 7 and 10 mil lamination pouches.

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How to pouch laminate a doucment.

Laminating a document is very easy and usually involves only a few simple steps.


1.Turn on your laminator. It will need about 15-20 minutes to warm up. The warm-up time varies from laminator to laminator.

2. Determine the size of the item being laminated and choose the correct size pouch. Also be sure you select a lamination pouch with the mil thickness (rigidity) you need.

3. Place the item you will be laminating into the pouch.

4. Place the pouch inside the protective carrier.

5. Be sure to turn the motor on (if so equiped), and run the carrier, with pouch enclosed, through the laminator.

6. Inspect the finished product and begin the process again (if you need to laminate more material).

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Types of supplies.

LAMINATION POUCHES: ABC Office has a wide selection of lamination pouches to choose from. This includes both small and large pouches of all sizes and mil thicknesses. We also have a great selection of accessories such as pouch carriers, slot punches and more. You can find our pouch lamination supplies here: Pouch Lamination Supplies.

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Video demos of pouch laminators.

Sometimes watching a document being laminated is easier than reading about it. We have a lot of video demos available showing our pouch laminators in use. You can find video demonstrations of the following machines here:

VIDEO 1: Banner American PL12A Pouch Laminator
VIDEO 2: Banner American PL135-4 Pouch Laminator

We also offer several Live Video Demonstrations of our pouch laminators as well. You can call us (1-800-658-8788) or fill out an online form to see one of these machines demonstrated over the Internet with a customer service representative in real-time.

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