Posts Tagged ‘Pouch Laminating Machines’

How Does a Pouch Laminator Work?

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

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.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

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!

Best Pouch Laminator Width for Laminating Letter-Size Documents

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Intelli-Lam IL400 13" Pouch LaminatorIf you laminate a lot of letter-size documents, you may be thinking a 9″ pouch laminator is exactly what you need. While a lot of pouch laminators can be used to laminate 8 ½” x 11″ documents, there are a few tips to keep in mind that will help cut down on jams and bad results. Here are just a few of those tips.

To begin with, while a 9″ laminator may be technically wide enough to laminate a letter-size document, you end up with only ¼” wiggle room on each side of the document. From what I have seen, that can result in a serious jam if you are not extremely careful.

If you feed the film in at an angle, even off just 1/8″, the document begins to get more and more crooked as it progresses through the machine. What will happen, as the error becomes more pronounced, is the side of the laminating film will begin to touch the side, creating tension and pressure. This will often cause stress on the laminator’s motor and can cause a jam.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever consider a 9″ laminator. Laminating letter-size documents can be done, and may even be feasible for many of you, but I recommend going with something a little wider.

I personally like the 13″ width for laminating 8 ½” x 11″ documents. This gives you ample room. The wider 11″ width also allows you to laminate smaller ID cards, multiple smaller objects and more. You can even use it to laminate 11″ x 17″ and 12″ x 18″ documents.

Here are a few 13″ pouch laminators that I personally recommend:

Here are two great 12″ wide laminators, which are still great for letter-size documents.

Fellowes Jupiter JL 125 12.5″ Laminator

Banner American PL12a 12 ¼” Pouch Laminating Machine

These laminators should all perform well and produce professional results. I have personally used all the laminators on this list and consider them to all be great machines. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminators here. If for any reason you are having trouble deciding on a specific make or model, feel free to call one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788.

PL12A Pouch Laminator Video Demo

Monday, October 10th, 2011

PL12A Thermal Pouch LaminatorIf you need to laminate business cards, photos, cards, signs and other material, one machine that you should consider is the PL12A pouch laminator from Banner American. This compact thermal laminator is now well over a decade old, yet continues to be one of the best selling laminators in the USA. If you’re teetering on which machine you should purchase, you may want to check out or PL12A video demo.

Before I show you the video, I would just like to explain why I personally like this laminator so much. To begin with, it looks great. It has a certain industrial look to it that sets it apart from the competition. There’s also the long history. This laminator has been around for well over 11 years, being one of the first pouch laminators I remember using when I first got into the office equipment industry.

The PL12A utilizes 4 rollers when laminating material. There are two rollers in the front, a heating element and two in the back. The combination of 4 rollers, versus cheaper 2 roller laminators, produces far superior results. Four rollers help iron out wrinkles, better distribute heat and eliminate the need to run a pouch through twice.

This laminator has been designed from the ground up to be long lasting. This becomes abundantly clear when you notice that it has a separate heat and motor button. Many laminators require that the heat and motor be run simultaneously. The PL12A will let you keep the heat on and the rollers off, which helps preserve the motor. This also allows you to immediately begin laminating without having to wait for it to warm up.

The Banner American PL12A also features an adjustable temperature control, located underneath the machine. This allows you to accurately and professionally laminate stuff using 3, 5, 7 or 10 mil thick pouches.

This is a video demo of the PL12A in action:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

In conclusion I believe that this heavy-duty laminator is the perfect choice for most businesses, copy centers, schools and other organizations. I know of customers who are still using their PL12A well over 5 years after purchasing it. It is designed to last.

You can find the Banner American PL12A pouch laminating machine here and our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

Akiles iLam 240 9″ Pouch Laminator Review

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Akiles iLam 240 Pouch LaminatorAre you tired of your laminated photos, signs and cards being ruined by your laminator? Sounds like it’s time for you to upgrade to something a little more reliable. One great pouch laminator you should consider buying is the Akiles iLam 240 9″ pouch laminator (found here). This is my review.

To start with, Akiles has been making thermal pouch laminators for several years now. They are already well known for the ProLam and UltraLam line of pouch laminators. The new iLam series is available as the 9″ 240 and the 13″ 340.

At first one might think that the iLam is an entry-level machine, perhaps below the Akiles ProLam or UltraLam line. The iLam 240, in all truth, is a pretty robust machine capable of medium to even high-volume pouch laminating. It is packed with features as I will soon explain.

The 9″ width of the iLam 240 allows this laminator to handle most paper sizes, including the ever-popular letter size. While you may need something wider for menus and other signs, the 9″ width is optimal for most people.

I personally like the easy control panel the iLam 240 uses. Setup is as simple as turning a dial on the side of the laminator. The control dial allows the operator to set the laminator thickness and temperature in just seconds. Everything is clearly laid out on the dial. The dial changes colors, letting you know when it is ready to be used.

A reverse button is located on the left side of the machine. This button makes it easy to back out mis-fed items and makes jam clearance easy. If for any reason a jam occurs that the reverse button cannot fix, simply open the laminator and remove it yourself. Two latches allow for easy to access the heated rollers.

Unlike many pouch laminators that simply use a heating element to warm the pouches and film, the iLam 240 has heated rollers. A total of 4 rollers pull material through the laminator, evenly distributing heat as needed. As a result of a heated roller system (2 hot / 2 cold), results are clear, clean and crisp. There is no need to worry about cloudy results.

The Akiles iLam 240 utilizes a heavy-duty motor. This motor allows you to use the laminator on a continuous basis without causing any damage. The build quality on the iLam 240 should allow this laminator to be used for several years.

Overall I consider the iLam 240 to be a perfect laminator for home, business or copy center use. It is tough, robust, easy to use and pretty much portrays everything Akiles quality is known for.

You can find the Akiles iLam 240 9″ pouch laminator here and our entire selection of pouch laminators here.

Intelli-Lam IL200 Pouch Laminator Review

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Intelli-Lam IL200 Pouch Laminator from Intelli-ZoneLaminators are pretty nice machines to have on hand and can be used for a variety of projects. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to operate a copy center to own one. There are many laminators out there that are reasonably affordable for home use. One such laminator is the Intelli-Lam IL200 pouch laminator (found here). I have used this laminator on several occasions and this is my review.

Intelli-Lam laminators are made by Intelli-Zone, who also makes a wide variety of paper shredders, folding machines, cutters and other office products. Intelli-Zone office machines, including their laminators, feature a modern design and easy-to-use controls.

The IL200 is a small little laminator. It only weighs in at 6 pounds shipped. It has a mouth width of 9 inches. That means the IL200 can handle documents and material up to about letter-size paper. It can also be used to laminate smaller material such as business cards, photo ID cards, photos and other small documents.

Having handled this laminator myself, I have to say that the footprint and weight isn’t much more than a small radio. It is easy to pick up and move around and is small enough that you can put it in a drawer or cupboard for storage.

The design is impressive. It features a silver color and well-rounded edges. The control interface is pretty straightforward. Simply plug in the laminator, flip the switch on and you’re ready to go. A red light lets you know that the laminator is on and a green light will let you know when the laminator is fully warmed up. The laminator takes about 10-15 minutes to warm up.

The IL200 is an entry-level laminator that is designed for light use. That doesn’t mean it is a bad laminator by any means, but it is not a good option for continuous laminating throughout the day. It is best used for home to occasional small business laminating.

The Intelli-Lam IL200 can be used with laminating film up to 3 mils thick. This is a pretty common thickness for laminating photos, signs and protecting other documents.

Overall I really like the IL200. While it isn’t the toughest laminator out there, the price is excellent. Few laminators out there offer what the IL200 does for the same price.

You can find the Intelli-Lam IL200 pouch laminator here and our entire selection of pouch laminating 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!

Announcing 5 New Akiles Laminators & Binding Machines

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Akiles iCoil 41+ Coil Binding MachineAt ABC Office we make it our goal to continually add new products to our site that we feel offer you a great value. This includes products that are durable, affordable and easy to use. We are proud to announce the addition of 5 new Akiles office products to our site.

Akiles is one of the most reputable and well-known manufacturers that we offer on our site. This includes binding machines, laminators, paper joggers and many other products. One thing I personally like about Akiles is that their products feature a great build quality and I rarely (if ever) hear complaints about Akiles products.

We have added 3 new binding machines and 2 new laminators. Here is a brief description of each.

  • Akiles iCoil 41+ – This coil binding machine is compact, includes just about everything you need to bind a book and features oval-shaped holes that make coil insertion and page turns easier.
  • Akiles iWire 31 – This compact wire binding machine features a great build quality, a 3:1 pitch punching pattern and folds up into a compact shape that is easy for storage.
  • Akiles iWire 21 – The iWire 21 features the more popular 2:1 pitch hole pattern. It is easy to use, compact and can be used to bind a book in just a few minutes.
  • Akiles iLam 240 – This 9.4″ pouch laminator can be used to laminate most letter-size and smaller documents. Four rollers, an adjustable temperature control and a reverse motor switch make this machine ideal for most laminating jobs.
  • Akiles iLam 340 – This wider format 13″ pouch laminating machine is ideal for laminating signs, menus and other larger material. It can also be used to laminate smaller documents. It also features 4 rollers, an adjustable temperature and a reverse motor switch.

So there you have it! A total of 5 new Akiles products. You can find our entire selection of Akiles office equipment by visiting us here. Have a great day!

8 Things To Look For In A Pouch Laminating Machine

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Pouch Laminating MachinesIf you’re going to hand over your hard-earned cash for a pouch laminating machine, you’d better be sure you’re getting the right product. I have years of experience with pouch laminators and would like to offer you 7 simple tips you should consider prior to purchasing a machine. Once you have read through these tips, you should have a much better idea on what to look for in a laminator.

8 Things To Look For In A Pouch Laminating Machine

  1. Adjustable Temperature – I personally like to have an adjustable temperature in my pouch-laminating machine for fine-tuned precision. This isn’t a requirement, but is definitely a nice feature to have.
  2. Mil Thickness – How thick a laminating pouch do you want to use? The thicker the laminating film, the hotter and more robust your laminator has to be. Most people are fine laminating using 3 or 5-mil thick film (mil = thousandth of an inch). More robust laminators can handle 7 or even 10-mil thick film.
  3. Rollers – The number of rollers often determines the quality of the laminating job. Typically the more rollers the better.  Most cheap entry-level laminators only have 2 rollers. Commercial laminators often feature 4 rollers and some high-end photography laminators have 6 to 8 rollers.
  4. Separate Buttons – I personally like to have a separate temperature and motor switch on my laminator. This allows you to keep the laminator warm without running the motor. This is optional, but you will probably get more life out of your laminator with two separate switches.
  5. Reverse Button – A reverse button is a HUGE plus. If you feed laminating film in crooked, or the laminator begins to jam, a reverse switch can mean the difference between clearing out a jam or sending the machine in to be repaired.
  6. Width – Make sure your laminator has enough width to accommodate what you are laminating. Just because you have an 11″ laminator doesn’t mean you should laminate documents 11″ wide. Laminating something the exact same width as the laminator is a formula for trouble, especially since laminators are not very forgiving when pouches are fed in slightly crooked.
  7. Warm-Up Time – Most laminators will specify how long they take to warm up. Most laminators will warm up in under 15 minutes, but some will warm up in just a few minutes.
  8. Footprint – You may want to take into consideration how big the laminator is. Some people order a 13″ laminator not realizing how big it is, when they probably would have been fine with a 9″ laminator. This isn’t a big deal, but if counter space is in short supply, you may want to make yourself aware to the size prior to making a purchase.

At ABC Office we offer one of the largest selections of pouch laminators available online. This includes Fellowes, Tamerica, Akiles, Intelli-Lam, GBC and many others. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminating machines here.

by Category