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You are being redirected to ABC Office. Why? has joined their sister company ABC Office to provide our customers with a greater product selection, while offering the same great prices and service you have come to love and expect!If you have questions or concerns during this transition please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788, or email us at sales@abcoffice.com.


How Does a Pouch Laminator Work?

Pouch LaminatorsPouch laminators (found here) are the most popular type of laminating machines used today. This is because they are affordable, can be used by just about anyone and the supplies are extremely affordable. While the end results are pretty obvious, have you ever wondered how one actually works? This article will cover in great detail exactly how a pouch laminator works.

Why do people use laminators? Most people who use a pouch laminator want to add an extra layer of protection or stability to a document. This may be a picture, a card, a sign or other piece of material. While some laminators can be used with plastic sheets or foam core mounting board, most are used with some sort of paper. Laminated documents are water resistant, are easy to clean and do not damage easily.

There are two crucial elements to keep in mind when talking about how a pouch laminator works. This includes pressure and heat. I would first like to explain how the laminating pouches themselves work.

Laminating pouches (found here) consist of a hard plastic outer shell with a softer plastic lining. The lining, which usually makes up about half of the pouches thickness, gets soft and liquefies with heat. It is very similar in makeup to a hot glue stick. As this glue softens, it sticks to the object that has been placed inside the pouch. Once heat is removed, the glue cools and solidifies. The cooled glue is clear and transparent.

A pouch laminator essentially provides the heat and the pressure needed to make the pouch look good. You could technically use a hot iron to laminate a pouch, but the end results wouldn’t look very good. A laminator has a heating element. This may be in the form of a heating plate or as heated rollers. This is how the heat is transferred to the laminating film.

As the pouch warms up, pressure is applied to the pouch via silicon rollers. Pouch laminators feature at least 2 rollers (top and bottom), with many including four, six or even more rollers. As a general rule, the more rollers you have the better the results will be.

This diagram shows you where the rollers are generally located, where you typically find the heat source and how the carrier (with the film) makes its way through the laminator:

Pouch Laminator Diagram

 

Sometimes seeing things in action helps better demonstrate a point. This is a video demo of a thermal pouch laminator being used. This will demonstrate how a laminator works from start to finish.

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The end results look great. Laminating pouches themselves come in a wide variety of sizes and thickness. The thickness of the pouch is referred to as a mil (thousandth of an inch). Not all laminators can handle higher mil thicknesses. Prior to purchasing film, find out what your laminator’s maximum thickness is.

Features you may want to look for in your pouch laminator, that I consider to be nice to have, include an adjustable temperature control (for precision laminating) and a reverse switch (in the event your laminator gets jammed). I also like a laminator that has an independent switch for the motor and for the heating element.

You can read step-by-step instructions on how to use a pouch laminator by reading our guide here.

Many people ask me which brands I personally recommend. I have used and like laminators by Tamerica, Fellowes, Intelli-Lam and Banner American. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here and pouch laminating film here.

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions regarding pouch laminators. You’re also more than welcome to leave a question as a comment. Happy laminating!

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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