What’s a mil and how does it apply to lamination?

LaminatorsWhen looking for lamination film, you have probably noticed the term mil come up. Lamination film is often available in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10-mil thickness. Logically it would seem the higher the number the thicker the film. That would be correct. But what does the term mil stand for?

Mil comes from the Latin mille, which means a thousand. One mil, in lamination measurement terms, is a thousandth of an inch. Your standard credit card is 30-mils thick, which equals out to be 0.03-inches thick.

If you like to use pouch laminators, you may think that a 10-mil pouch is 0.010 inches thick. That would be incorrect. It is a bit of a trick question. Lamination pouches, when labeled 3, 5, 7 or 10 mils thick, are actually referring to one side of the lamination pouch (total of two sides). Combining both sides of the lamination pouch, the thickness is doubled. A 10 mil lamination pouch is actually a total of 20 mils thick once laminated, not counting the paper, photograph or card being laminated.

Roll Lamination FilmRoll lamination film, on the other hand, is a little less confusing. When you buy a roll of 5-mil film, you get a 5-mil roll. Remember, however, that roll laminators use two rolls of film to laminate a poster, map or whatever you need. Using a 5-mil roll on the top and a 5-mil roll on the bottom would be a total of 10 mils of film. Simple math.

Getting back to pouch laminators, you may have ordered a box of 7-mil lamination pouches and noticed on the box that it says 2/5. Yes, 2+5 does equal 7, but what does it mean? That number is letting you know that the pouch consists of 2 mils laminate glue and 5 mils of hard plastic, giving you the total of 7. This isn’t always labeled on the box, but often is.

You can read more about laminators and lamination by reading our lamination guide here: https://www.abcoffice.com/laminating_guide.htm.

Good luck laminating!

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