Lamination 101: Laminating Basics (pt.1)

Lamination 101 is a four part series to help educate users with basic knowledge about the laminating process. This is part 1 of 4.

Laminating film consists of two layers, a base layer, most commonly consisting of polyester and an inner adhesive resin layer that becomes liquid when it reaches an activating temperature. The material to be laminated is placed between two sheets of laminating film. The laminating machine melts the adhesive resin layer, which then spreads over the document, hardening as it cools and creating a bond between the material and film
Roll Laminating is designed to run as a continuous roll of film (or web) for larger sizes and volumes of work. Spiral offers a wide variety of thermal roll laminating machines as well as supplies. Over the past couple years with changes in printing technologies, laminating films have also evolved. Spiral now offers 6 different types of laminating films

Standard Laminating Rolls: This laminating film is sometimes referred to as “school film” and is available in 1.5 mil or 3 mil thickness. Standard film is a mono polymer film, which means there is one type of adhesive coating the base material. These films tend to have a high operating temperature and are the least expensive films. You might also hear this film referred to as “nap-lam I” which is a trade name for GBC.

Premium Laminating Film: this is a co-polymer film, which has a more aggressive adhesive then mono polymer film. It also operates at a lower melting temperature. GBC’s brand name for this is “nap-lam II”. Normally available in 1.8, 3, 5 and 10 mil thickness.

Color-Bond Laminating film: This is a specialty film formulated toner based color copier output. Color copies have fuser oils that allow the toner to adhere to the paper. The Standard mono-polymer and Premium co-polymer films we currently carry will not always work with color copier output. The problem is magnified when customers have applications with heavy toner coverage and very dark colors that lay down a lot of toner on the paper.

Wide Format Thermal Laminating Film: This film has been designed for laminating paper based output from wide format inkjet printers. The inkjet printers come in sizes from 24″ wide to 72″ wide and the laminating film is sized to match hence the term wide format laminating. These prints have specific needs in laminating film. The most important aspect is special low-melt adhesive. These films have adhesive that operates at a melting temperature of 185 degrees. This is important to prevent out gassing of the inks that will cause de-lamination. Also these films have UV Inhibitors. Inkjet prints suffer from color loss over time and the UV Inhibitors help to prevent that from happening.

Wide Format Pressure Sensitive (cold) Laminating Film: This film has been designed for laminating vinyl based output from wide format inkjet printers. Generally these are used in the sign industry where most prints are done on vinyl based material rather then paper based. Although PSA film can be used with paper and other substrates the high cost makes its use in those applications as less desirable.

D & K Super Stick Wide Format Laminating Film: This film is a patented product that is a unique product that offers the benefits of both Thermal and PSA films. Super-Stick film is a liner-less vinyl based film that works well with both vinyl and paper based inkjet output. These laminates allow for greater flexibility on sensitive prints due to the very low activation temperatures (150 – 200 F). It comes in a variety of finishes including: gloss, luster, matte, textured and canvas. No release liners for reduced scrap, UV Inhibitors prevent color shift, less setup time and ease of use compared with pressure sensitive adhesives with better overall clarity and appearance.

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