Best Way to Clear out a Jammed Pouch Laminator

Clear Pouch Laminator JamsPouch laminators (found here) are wonderful machines to have in the office or even at home. They can be used to protect, enhance and preserve a wide variety of documents. Many people like to laminate photographs, their business cards, menus, signs and more. So what do you do when things go south and your pouch laminator jams? Here are a few tips that may help you get your laminator back up and running.

I would like to break this article don into three categories. I would first like to cover why jams occur and what you can do to prevent them, how to fix a jam if one occurs and what not to do.  While these tips aren’t a guarantee, they should at lest help put you on the right track.

Why do laminating jams occur? The most common reason a laminator experiences a jam is a misfeed. This occurs when a pouch is fed into a laminator at an angle. As the laminating film continues its progression through the laminator, the incorrect angle worsens until the film is crashing into the side of a laminator. If the laminator is not stopped, this can result in permanent damage to the laminator’s gears or motor.

The second most common reason for a laminator jamming is the lack of using a carrier. Laminating pouches are floppy and have almost no rigidity until they are laminated. For this reason, carriers are typically used. Carriers look like manila folders. The lack of using a carrier can often result in the film wrapping under a roller, which can result in the pouch lodging itself in the laminator. While many laminators today claim they are carrierless, I still recommend using a carrier.

How can you fix your jammed laminator? If your laminating pouch is feeding in crooked, try flipping the reverse switch and backing it back out. This will allow you to re-position the pouch. Many laminators, especially those made by Fellowes, include a release lever that releases the laminator’s roller pressure. If your laminator isn’t equipped with a reverse button or a clamp release, turn off the motor and try gently tugging on the pouch. If it moves, try pulling it a little more until you have it released. If the pouch doesn’t move, don’t try forcing it. At this point you’re either going to have to remove the cover of the laminator you’re your going to have to call our Service Technician at 1-800-658-8788.

If the film is wrapped around the rollers inside your laminator (as a result of not using a carrier), you are going to have to remove the cover of your laminator. This will give you access to the inside of the laminator, making film wraparounds easy to remove. Be sure the laminator is unplugged and cool before attempting this. If the idea of using a screwdriver to remove your laminator’s cover is a bit intimidating, please don’t hesitate to call our Service Department at 1-800-658-8788.

Things you should never do. Never under any circumstances try forcing a stuck pouch out of the laminator. This can result in stripped gears and other broken parts. Also, never try using a knife or a pair of scissor to try and “fish out” a jammed pouch. This will often only result in damage to the delicate silicon rollers inside the machine.

If you need additional tips, or would simply like some advice, please call our Service Department at 1-800-658-8788. They are more than happy (and equipped) to help you fix your roll or pouch laminator. They can also provide you with replacement parts. If your laminator is at its end, consider one of our new pouch laminators found here.

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