Posts Tagged ‘Laminators’

What is Laminating Film Made out Of? Lamination Composition

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Roll Laminating FilmWhen shopping around for laminating pouches (found here) or rolls of laminating film (found here), have you ever wondered what the film itself is made out of? Plastic…right? While laminating film is made out of certain types of plastic, it is usually a combination of several types. This article will go into great detail regarding the composition of laminating film.

The first thing you need to be aware of, when shopping for laminating film, is that a sheet of laminating film is composed of various layers of plastic. The harder layer is on the outside and the softer layer is on the inside. Combined, these layers make up the mil thickness, with a mil being a thousandth of an inch (0.001″). Outside the United States, laminating film is measured in microns rather than mils. A micron is a thousandth of a millimeter (0.001 millimeters).

Pouch Laminating FilmHave you ever shopped around for a laminating pouch (or roll) and saw 4/3 on the outside of the box, or perhaps 3/2 on the outside of the box? These are numbers displaying the ratio of hard to soft plastic used in the laminating sheet. A 4/3 would be 4 mils of hard plastic and 3 mils of soft plastic (glue), totaling 7-mils. A 3/2 pouch is a 5 mil thick pouch. This ratio can change depending on the amount of hard and soft plastic used, however, the ratio will always add up to the total “mil” thickness of the sheet of film.

So what kind of plastic is used in laminating film? While this isn’t always going to be the case, the harder outer layer is usually made from PET plastic (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and the softer inner layer is made out of EVA plastic (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate). Occasionally a combination of PET plastic, PE (Polyethylene Plastic) and EVA plastic are all used together.

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – This type of plastic is commonly used in food, beverage and other plastic containers. It is also used for producing synthetic fibers used in clothing. It is a resin of the polyester family. It can be easily formed into various shapes, and in the case of laminating film, it is formed into a thin sheet. The funny thing is that PET plastic doesn’t actually contain Polyethylene, which is why PET is sometimes simply called Ethylene Teerephthalate. In the case of laminating film, the PET is clear. It was especially popular in the 70’s for the production of polyester clothing.

Roll Laminating FilmEVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) – This type of plastic is condiered to be extremely durable, stress resistant and is commonly used as a hot-melt adhesive. Have you ever used a glue gun? Glue sticks are made out of EVA plastic, the same material that lines the inside of a laminating sheet. EVA is also used in materials such as plastic wraps due to its “clingy” properties. EVA plastic is also used in expanded rubber or foam rubber for padding in ski boots, fishing reel handles and more.

PE Plastic (Polyethylene) – This is by far the most common plastic used today and is commonly used for bags, packaging and more. This isn’t as common in laminating film, although some may contain PE plastic.

I hope this helps you out. While this may not influence or change your mind on the type of laminating film you purchase, I still think it is helpful and educational to know what laminating film is made out of. Hopefully this will help you better understand how laminating film works and exactly what it is.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminating film here and roll laminating film here. As far as machines go, you can find our pouch laminators here and roll laminators here.

If you still want to learn more, or need help finding the right film for your laminator, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788. Have a great day!

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.

Manufacturer Spotlight: Tamerica Binding Machines

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Tamerica Office EquipmentIf you’re shopping around for a binding machine, or even a laminator or paper cutter, one manufacturer you may want to consider using is Tamerica. Established in 1985, Tamerica Products Incorporated (TPI) has been manufacturing and distributing office machines for over 24 years. ABC Office has been selling Tamerica products for decades and they are considered a customer favorite.

Tamerica states that they operate under process-oriented principles of Kaizen, which is Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the better.” In true form, Tamerica is always making improvements and increasing the performance of their machines.

Tamerica is best known to our customers for their line of binding machines. Their 190PB, 210PB, 213PB and TCC 210EPB comb binding machines are particularly popular. These binding machines all utilize durable metal components and are known for their rich features for little cost. You can find our entire selection of Tamerica comb binding machines here.

Tamerica V2000-Pro SecureBind Binding MachineA few years ago Tamerica released one of the first-ever alternatives to the GBC VeloBind bookbinding format known as SecureBind. SecureBind, found in their V2000-Pro, uses the same hole pattern and thermal process as standard GBC VeloBind machines, but at a fraction the cost. The V2000-Pro has an impressive 2″ binding capacity.

While Tamerica is extremely well known for their binding machines, they also manfacture an impressive line of stack paper cutters, roll laminating machines, pouch laminators, business card cutters, paper folding machines, laminating film and workstations.

Here are just a few of Tamericas most popular cutters, laminators and folding machines

Tamerica is continually developing new machines, so be sure to check back often to see what’s available. You can find our entire selection of Tamerica office equipent here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

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.

Common Reasons for Pouch Laminator Jams

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Cut Down on Pouch Laminator JamsA pouch laminator jam is no fun. The causes and reasons for laminator jams vary a lot. Some are basic enough that you can clear them out manually, where others are so bad that they require the machine to be completely disassembled. There are a few things you can do to help cut down on or completely eliminate laminator jams.

I personally have well over a decade of experience using pouch laminators from GBC, Akiles, Tamerica, Fellowes and many other brands. Each of these brands manufacture machines that are very similar in functionality. These tips should help you prevent laminating jams regardless of the make or model.

Laminator Jam Prevention Tips

Carriers – Most pouch laminators still require the use of a carrier to provide support to laminating film as it runs its course. I personally like to still use carriers, even when the laminators say they are carrier free (unless the laminator specifically says no carriers). If you don’t use a carrier, the laminating film could potentially wrap itself around the internal silicon rollers and create a jam.

Widths – Be careful that the item you laminate fits within the maximum dimensions of your laminator. Many people (let’s use a 12″ laminator as an example) will try to laminate a 12″ wide piece of paper in a 12″ laminator. This isn’t a good idea as there is absolutely no room for error. When laminating something edge to edge in a laminating machine, the chances of a jam are almost guaranteed.

Angles – Make sure you feed your material into the pouch laminator straight and true. If there is any angle, that angle will become progressively worse as the material is pulled inside, ultimately resulting in a jam.

Reverse Button – I love reverse buttons on pouch laminators. If your material is starting to go in at an angle, or even if a jam has already begun, a reverse option makes it extremely easy to clear out material. I can vouch from personal experience that a reverse button will save you some serious headaches.

Motor Speeds – While not always an option, an adjustable motor speed can help when feeding material into a laminator. This is probably the least important feature in my list, but it is still a nice convenience should you find a machine with this feature.

If for any reason you need a new pouch laminator, you can find our entire selection of new pouch laminating machines here.

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.

Carrier-Free Laminators – Do They Work?

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Carrier-Free Pouch LaminatorsAbout 60% of pouch laminators today require the use of what’s known as a carrier. A carrier is a type of folder that holds laminating pouches as they run through a laminator. The general purpose of the carrier is to provide support to the pouch, preventing jams, and to prevent gumming glue from contaminating the laminator. Many laminators today, however, claim to be carrier free.

I have found, from personal experience, that it is still a good idea to use a carrier, even if the manufacturer says you don’t need one. This is more from a maintenance perspective. A carrier will still keep glue from squeezing out the edges of a laminating pouch and gumming up the rubber rollers.

If you own a carrier-free laminator, I would recommend laminating something with and without the carrier. If the results look the same either way, use a carrier. If the results look better without the carrier, then you may want to consider ditching the carrier. I know with some of our Intelli-Lam laminators, results actually look better without a carrier. This typically is not the case.

Laminating pouches, at least the ones we sell, come with a carrier in the box. This puts the carrier life at about 100 pouches. Once a box of laminating pouches is empty, the old carrier can be discarded or you can hold onto it if it is still in good condition. The new box will have another carrier with it.

If you have a non “carrier-free” laminator, ALWAYS use a carrier. Don’t even chance it or you’ll end up with a costly mess.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here and pouch laminating film here. Good luck and happy laminating!

Best Binding Machine / Roll Laminating Workstations & Carts

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Binding Workstations and Laminating CartsWhether you use a binding machine or a roll laminator, the ability to move equipment from one area to another is not only convenient, but also often necessary. At ABC Office, we carry a wide variety of binding and laminating carts. These carts, depending on the equipment you are hauling, include volumes of storage space. Here are a few options.

To begin with, these workstations and carts are customer favorites. Many customers, after using one, discover that they have use for multiple carts. Not only can these carts be used with laminators and binding machines, they can also be used to hold paper, act as a side table and move other office equipment.

Best Binding Machine & Roll Laminator Carts / Workstations

  1. Tamerica Tahsin Binding Workstation – This cart is probably the most popular model we sell. It has several pull-out trays for holding supplies and the table can support most binding machines out there.
  2. Akiles Binding Workstation – This machine is very similar to the Tamerica Workstation. The quality is great and it is ideal for moving and using binding machines. Pull-out trays can be used to hold a variety of supplies.
  3. Tamerica LWS-1 Laminating Workstation – This is the ultimate cart for roll laminators. The table can support most 25-27″ roll laminators and the shelves make roll laminating film easy to access and store.
  4. Akiles AUS Utility Station – This utility station makes binding easy. There are several shelves for supplies, paper and more. Built on wheels, this utility station is easy to move around.
  5. All-Purpose Laminator Cart – This cart is designed for heavy-duty roll laminators and includes a convenient cabinet for holding supplies. This cabinet can also be used for holding binding

These carts all offer solid, mobile solutions to office equipment. I have personally used the Tamerica Tahsin Binding Workstation, LWS-1 Laminating Workstation and Akiles AUS Utility Station and can tell you from experience that they are all solid options for binding machines and laminators.

You can find our entire selection of mobile binding machine and roll laminator carts here.

Pouch & Roll Laminators – Hot or Cold?

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

SircleLam Pouch LaminatorsIf you are in the initial phases of looking for a laminator, you have probably noticed that there are two primary different types of laminators. One type is referred to as a cold laminator and the other as a hot (thermal) laminator. So which style should you go with?

Cold and hot laminators each have their own benefits and disadvantages. About 90 plus percent of the laminators used today are thermal roll laminators. That doesn’t mean that cold laminators are bad, they are just less common. I will go into more detail on the advantages of each format in this article.

COLD LAMINATORS:
(view our cold laminators)

Cold laminators are primarily used for laminating material that is temperature sensitive. This may involve laminating paper with wax-based ink, thermally activated properties or special types of art prints and photographs.

Xyron Cold Roll LaminatorsCold laminators have come a long way over the past few years. Xyron is a great example of a cold laminator manufacturer that makes products capable of producing professional results. One of the biggest disadvantages of cold laminators, in my opinion, is that the film tends to cost more than a hot thermal laminator.

There is a huge range of quality among cold laminators. I have seen some machines that pretty much applied scotch tape to the document with the end results looking pretty sad. Xyron, as far as I’m concerned, gets the job done right the first time.

As a general rule, cold laminated documents will not last as long as hot laminated documents. This is due to the soft nature of the glue used during the cold laminating process.

HOT LAMINATORS:
(view our hot laminators)

Hot laminators, as previously mentioned, are far more common than cold roll laminators. This method of laminating documents has managed to iron out many of the issues associated with thermal laminating. Previous issues used to include cloudy results, bubbles and waves.

Thermal Hot Roll LaminatorsHot laminators are available from literally dozens of different manufacturers and come in hundreds of different designs. This includes both pouch and roll laminators. These laminators, in general, are very easy to set up and use.

If you aren’t laminating temperature sensitive items, I would personally recommend going with a hot laminator. This is due to the availability of machines and the fact that the film is pretty cheap to buy.

CONCLUSION:

Ultimately the machine you get will depend on what you’re laminating, how much you’re laminating and your own personal preference. You can find our entire selection of laminators here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our laminator specialists.

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