Posts Tagged ‘Laminating Machines’

How to Select a Home Laminating Machine

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Intelli-Lam IL300 Pouch LaminatorIf you have photographs that you would like to protect, enjoy scrapbooking or would like to create your own at-home signs and banners, you may want to use a home laminating machine. These small devices are easy to use, are extremely affordable and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Which machine should you use? Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself prior to buying a laminator.

Laminating machines, that used to cost hundreds of dollars only 10 years ago, are now far more affordable, making it possible for more people to use and own a home laminating machine. These machines, sometimes referred to as pouch laminators, can be purchased for $110 or less for home and entry-level use.

Prior to purchasing your laminating machine, consider answering the following 5 questions:

  • How large an item are you laminating? Try to determine the maximum width that you will need to laminate and use that to determine the width of the laminator you will purchase. Be aware that you will probably want something slightly larger that the maximum width you will be laminating to allow for some wiggle room. If you will be laminating 8 ½” x 11″ documents, I recommend going with a laminator that is at least 9″ wide or wider.
  • What are you laminating? If you are only laminating basic copy paper, just about any laminator will work for you. If you will be laminating thicker items, such as cardstock, or perhaps photos, I recommend using a laminator with at least 4 rollers (versus 2).
  • How many documents are you laminating per day? Volume can play a big determining factor in your purchase. If you are laminating a few dozen items per day, which is typical for home or small business use, most entry-level laminators will work for you. If you will be laminating dozens to hundreds of items a day, you may want to consider a commercial-grade laminating machine.
  • Where will you keep your laminator? While laminators have varying capabilities, they also come in different sizes. Determine where you will be storing or using the laminator and make sure you have ample room. Most laminators will specify, on the product page, their length, width and height.
  • What thickness of film would you like to laminate? Laminating pouches come in 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. A mil is a thousandth of an inch, which means the higher the number the thicker the pouch. While most people don’t use anything thicker than 5 mils, you may want to use 7 or 10. Most laminators will handle 3 or 5, but not all will handle 7 or 10. Be sure you know the laminator’s capabilities and the film you want to use.

Now that we have covered a few important questions, I would like to recommend a few nice “all around” good laminators. These machines have a proven track record, are designed for home or small business use and are affordable.

Recommended Home Laminating Machines:

  1. Intelli-Lam IL300 Pouch Laminator
  2. Intelli-Lam IL200 Pouch Laminator
  3. Banner American QuikFinish PL100 Laminating Machine
  4. Fellowes Cosmic CL-125 12″ Pouch Laminator
  5. SircleLam SG-230 Pouch Laminator

While I have tried to answer all the important questions in this article, I understand that you may still have a few questions. If you need an answer to one of your questions, please feel free to contact one of our laminating experts by calling 1-800-658-8788.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminating machines here.

How to Use a Laminating Machine

Monday, October 24th, 2011

How to Use a Laminating MachineLaminating machines, in particular pouch laminators, are far easier to use that you might think. Many people get frustrated by all the dials and buttons. Don’t worry. You can have your laminator set up in less than 60 seconds with these easy-to-use instructions.

To start with, just keep in mind that a laminator is simply a glorified heater with a motor. All a laminator does is melt glue and apply pressure for sticking it to paper, photos, cards and other documents. I have spoken with people that went extremely retro and simply used an iron and a towel to laminate documents. While I don’t recommend the iron approach (although some people swear by it), it really is that easy.

Here are 5 easy steps to get you laminator up and running.

  • Step 1 – Plug in the machine and set the temperature. If there is no temperature dial, set the switch to the pouch thickness you are using. Common pouch thicknesses include 3, 5, 7 and 10 mils. The higher the number, the thicker the pouch.
  • Step 2 – Turn on the motor.
  • Step 3 – Insert your document into the pouch folder and then place it in a carrier folder.
  • Step 4 – Place your pouch into the machine and wait for it to run through.
  • Step 5 – Remove your document and repeat the process (if needed).

Sometimes seeing something in action is easier than following a step-by-step list of instructions. Here is a video demo of a pouch laminator:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

While there are minor differences between pouch laminators, they all pretty much operate in a similar manner. I have personally found that once you know how to use one, the rest are all pretty easy to figure out. At ABC Office we offer some of the best prices and selection on pouch laminators. You can find our entire selection of laminating machines here.

Fellowes Cosmic 125 12″ Pouch Laminator Review

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Fellowes Costmic CL-125 12" Thermal Pouch LaminatorDo you need a reliable pouch laminating machine for use at home or in a small business environment? If you’re in the shopping process right now, you have probably discovered a huge selection of machines. One model I would recommend you look at is the Fellowes Cosmic 125 12” pouch laminator (found here). This is my review.

Fellowes, although better known for their shredders, also makes a wide variety of pouch laminators. The Cosmic 125 (aka CL-125) pouch laminator is the home / small office version of the heavier-duty Saturn 125. This laminator has been around for some time now and has a great reputation for light to medium-volume jobs.

Let me get down to the basic specs. This laminator has a 12 ½” wide opening that is designed to laminate wider documents or several smaller documents. As far as pouch laminators go, a 12 ½” wide opening is very large. This allows you to use the Cosmic 125 to laminate signs, menus, photos and much more. The Cosmic 125 literally measures in at 3.5625″ x 20.6875″ x 7.875″

Aesthetically, the Fellowes Cosmic 125 is one of the best looking laminators around. It features a calm white and gray color scheme. Rounded edges almost make this laminator look like a piece of home entertainment equipment than a piece of office machinery. It should easily fit in with your existing office products.

This particular laminator is designed to be used both 3 and 5 mil thick pouches. A mil is a thousandth of an inch. The 5-mil thickness is compatible for use with index card size items and smaller. The 3-mil thickness can be used with larger documents. While this is a thermal laminator, capable of heating up in 5 minutes, it can also be used for cold laminating.

If you have ever used a pouch laminator, you may have noticed that they can get pretty hot. Some are extremely hot to the touch. The Cosmic 125 uses special HeatGuard technology that keeps the laminator cool to touch. This is nice when you need to quickly unplug and move (or re-position) the laminator.

Portability is extremely easy with the Cosmic 125. An included carrying handle is located on the back of the laminator. It also features cord storage. This is nice for packing up and moving the laminator.

Have you ever started laminating something only to notice that you fed it in crooked? If not fixed, this can result in a jam. The Cosmic 125 features a release lever that disengages pouches, making them easy to remove or re-position. Once you’re ready, this lever can be re-engaged and laminating can re-commence.

Overall I think the Cosmic 125 is a good value. Just remember that this is not designed for high-volume use. It is best used for low to medium-volume laminating. Also be aware that you cannot use this laminator with 7 or 10-mil thick pouches.

You can find the Fellowes Cosmic 125 12″ pouch laminator here and our entire selection pouch laminators here.

Model: Cosmic 125 Laminator
CRC: 52160
Item Number: 5216001

Laminating Film is Cloudy! What Can I Do?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Laminating Pouches & Film / TroubleshootingHave you ever run a picture or an important document through a pouch laminator only to have it come out with cloudy splotches all over it? It can be pretty frustrating, especially if it is something you really care about. So is there anything that you can do to fix the cloudy splotches? Here are a few tips.

You may have noticed, when you first place a document in a laminating pouch, that the film is translucent. That is because the glue, which lines the inside of the pouch, hasn’t been melted. Once melted, the glue becomes clear and stays that way. If the glue isn’t properly melted, some of that translucent cloudiness remains.

I would say 9 times out of 10, when cloudy splotches and spots appear, the laminator being used is running too cool. Some areas of the film melt and laminate properly, but the rest remains in an “unlaminated” state.

There are two things you can do to fix this problem. The first thing you can do is run your pouch through the laminator again and hope that a couple of passes will properly laminate the film. Your second option is to increase the heat of the laminator and run the pouch through. This should eliminate the cloudy spots.

If you are still noticing cloudy spots, even after adjusting the temperature or re-running the pouches through the laminator, your film may be too old or the laminator may be defective. If the film is too old, you’re probably out of luck and will need to buy new film. Unfortunately, the item you are laminating may be irreparably cloudy. I would certainly try at least running the pouch through another laminator before deeming the project a failure.

Some lower-end pouch laminators may require that you run the laminator through multiple times, every time. This is often the result of the laminator only having 2 rollers, which sometimes results in uneven heat distribution, or the laminator may simply have a week heating element.

For clean and clear results every time, I highly recommend using a laminator with 4 rollers or more. The more rollers used, the more evenly heat is distributed, which in turn produces great results.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here and our entire selection of pouch laminating film here.

Good luck!

Hot or Cold Laminating Machine?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Pouch Laminators / Laminating MachinesIf you are shopping around for a laminator, you may have noticed that there are two primary methods used for laminating documents and pictures. These two methods are cold and hold lamination. Both laminating techniques have their benefits, but which style of laminator should you use?

Both hot and cold laminating is still commonly used today, however, hot thermal laminating is by far the most popular. Each of these laminating styles has unique features that make them ideal for certain laminating jobs. I’ll explain the differences between the two.

Cold Laminating – Cold laminating is often referred to as pressure laminating. That is because cold laminating film has a tacky adhesive on one side that sticks to documents when pressure is applied, much like scotch tape. This laminating method is popular for making stickers (Xyron), arts & crafts and for laminating temperature sensitive documents.

Hot Laminating – Hot laminating, often called thermal laminating, is very common. This laminating method uses laminating rolls or pouches that are coated on one side with thermally activated glue. Once heat is applied, the glue melts, much like a hot glue gun. Heat, along with pressure, coats the laminating film to documents, pictures and more. This laminating style is extremely common for laminating photos, signs, posters, banners, business cards, restaurant menus and much more.

Multi-Format Laminating – Some pouch and roll laminators are capable of being used with hot or cold laminating film. Most of these laminators are designed for hot lamination by default, but offer the option of turning off the heat for cold lamination.

If I had to pick between the two formats, I would personally go with a hot laminator. This is mostly because hot laminated documents tend to last longer and the film is generally less expensive. Both laminating styles produce professional results.

You can find our entire selection of laminating machines here.

Top 10 Uses Of Laminator Machines

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Laminator Machines from ABC OfficeWhether you own a laminator machine or are shopping around for one, you may be curious to see what people are using them for. Both pouch and roll laminator machines can be used to laminate literally dozens of different products. Here is what our customers are laminating.

Top 10 Uses Of Laminator Machines

  1. Pictures & Photos
  2. Report & Book Covers
  3. Signs
  4. Posters
  5. ID Badges
  6. Business Cards
  7. Scrapbook Pages
  8. Stickers (Xyron)
  9. Certificates
  10. Menus & Programs

Laminator machines can be used to protect, preserve and coat a wide variety of material. So what are you laminating? I would love to hear from you. Post your comments below this article.

At ABC Office we offer both pouch laminators and roll laminators. You can find our entire selection of laminator machines here.

Pouch Laminators – Looks Aren’t Everything

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Banner American PL12A Pouch Laminating MachineHow often have you purchased something purely based on looks? I’m sure car shopping probably fits into this category, along with clothing, electronics and other “toys.”  Should you be factoring in looks when shopping for a pouch laminator? I would answer yes and no. Here’s why.

As far as laminating machines are concerned, I would definitely have to say that looks are not important. Some of the most beautifully designed and best looking laminators out there produce some of the poorest results. While some manufacturers get looks and function down right, this isn’t usually the case.

Great looking results, however, are very important. How professional and nice does the laminating film look as it leaves the machine? Is the finish clean, clear and flawless? You don’t need to worry about being “shallow” if these things concern you.

The Banner American PL12A is a good example of a laminator that doesn’t have all the looks, but produces great results. I’m not saying it’s ugly, but it does have an industrial look that hasn’t changed in 10+ years.

Here are a few laminators that ultimately have great “looking” results:

  1. Banner American PL12A Pouch Laminator
  2. Intelli-Lam IL400 Quality Pouch Laminator
  3. Tahsin TCC-330 Pouch Laminating Machine
  4. Akiles Pro-Lam 230 Pouch Laminator
  5. Intelli-Lam IL300 Commercial Pouch Laminator

This is just a small sampling of some of our best pouch laminators. We try our best to only carry products that our customers like. If a laminator fails the test, or has issues, we are quick to remove it from our lineup. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

How To Laminate Documents With A Pouch Laminator

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

How To Use A Pouch LaminatorPouch laminators are great machines to have on hand for a variety of reasons. They can be used to laminate menus, protect pictures, create professional business cards and much more. Not only does lamination film protect, but it also provides stability and a professional sheen to documents.

If you already own a laminator, have lost your manual or perhaps are looking for a machine and want to know more, this “how to” guide should help you out. I am going to provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to use a pouch laminator.

While laminators vary from one model to another, most work in a similar way. If you know how to use one model of laminator, you should pick up very fast on another model. I hope you enjoy this guide.

Use A Pouch Laminator In 6 Easy Steps

Step 1 – You will first want to plug your laminator into the wall and turn it on. Warm-up time ranges from laminator to laminator, but you should be ready to go in 15-20 minutes (with even the slower laminators).

Pouch Laminator Step 1

Step 2 – Choose the size of laminating pouch film you want to use. Remember, many pouches have a seam along the edge.

Pouch Laminators Step 2

Step 3 – Place your document into the pouch and close it shut. Make sure all edges are covered.

Pouch Laminators Step 3

Step 4 – Put the laminating pouch into a protective laminating carrier. These carriers usually come with laminating film. While some laminators claim you don’t need to use them, I still consider it to be a good idea.

Pouch Laminators Step 4

Step 5 – Turn on the motor (if it isn’t already on). Place your pouch and carrier into the entrance of the laminator. The laminator should grab the pouch automatically and begin to pull it through.

Pouch Laminators Step 5

Step 6 – After a few seconds, the pouch should come out the opposite side of the laminator finished and ready to use. The pouch, depending on the laminator, may be hot to the touch. Inspect the pouch and make sure everything looks good. If everything looks good, you should be ready to insert another pouch.

Pouch Laminators Step 6

Hopefully this has helped you out. We have a lot of experience with pouch laminators, so feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here and pouch laminating film here. Have a great day!

Banner American PL4A Pouch Laminating Machine Review

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Banner American PL4A Pouch LaminatorAre you in need of a compact, durable and commercial-quality pouch laminator that can be used to laminate ID cards, business cards and other material? One pouch laminating machine you may want to consider using is the Banner American PL4A pouch laminator (found here). I have used this laminator and this is my review.

Banner American, the people who make the PL4A, have been making laminators for years now. In fact, the actual design of the PL4A has been around since I started working for ABC Office 10 years ago. The design has been tried and tested. Customer complaints are nil.

The Banner American PL4A is a 3 ¾-inch wide pouch laminator primarily designed to laminate photo ID cards, luggage tags, business cards, photographs and other documents. Not only does the PL4A do this quickly, it does it well.

The PL4A utilizes a four roller system, which is really nice (and uncommon) for a laminator this small.  Four rollers, versus two, more evenly distributes heat and pressure. This means fewer bubbles, ripples and cloudy results.

The PL4A is capable of using laminating film up to 10 mils thick. This is the thickest film that we sell. This means you can laminate documents using 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil film.

The adjustable temperature, located on the bottom of the machine, makes it possible to get the perfect temperature for the item you are laminating. The PL4A is even available in a version called the PL4AT that includes a built in thermometer for precision.

Another nice feature about the PL4A is that it has separate motor and temperature controls. This means you can keep the PL4A fully warmed without having the motor running. Laminators that use one single switch for heat and motor often suffer premature motor issues.

One thing I would like to see in the PL4A is more digital controls. The PL4A is very analog with switches and dials. This is more of a wish than a complaint. Of course the PL4A is a solid machine and as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is probably the case with the PL4A.

I have to say that the PL4A, after having used it for years, is probably my favorite pouch laminator in the four-inch range. It simply works well, very well.

You can find the Banner American PL4A pouch laminator here. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

How Long Does It Take A Laminator To Warm Up?

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Pouch Laminating MachinesI had a customer ask me the other day how long it takes a laminator to warm up. This is a tough question to answer because of all the variables involved. It is almost like asking how long it takes a “car” to go from 0 to 60. It all depends on the make and model.

I have come up with a list of basic rough estimates with regards to laminator warm-up times.

Entry-level roll or pouch laminators will typically take anywhere from 8-15 minutes to warm up. This is because the heating elements are cheaper to make and simply aren’t as efficient.

Mid-level laminators typically warm up in 5-8 minutes, which isn’t bad at all. These laminators will typically handle most everything people need to laminate. Mid-level laminators can handle low to medium-volume laminating.

High-level laminators can often warm up in as little as 1-5 minutes, which is phenomenal. These laminators use high-efficiency and high-quality heating elements to get the job done. These laminators are typically designed for medium to high-volume laminating and can be used throughout the day.

Keep in mind that these are estimates and will not always be the case with your laminator. You can find our entire selection of laminating machines here. Happy laminating!

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