Does Laminating Film Expire? (Lamination Shelf Life)

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.


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.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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