Lamination 101: Glossary of Terms (pt.2)

Lamination 101 is a four part series to help educate users with basic knowledge about the laminating process. This is part 2 of 4.

Types of Laminating Film Finish

GLOSS: The most popular, best for bright colors, adds definition, radiance

MATTE: Non-reflective, slightly granular finish. Available in most types of film much more expensive then gloss films so used only on special applications.

SATIN / Lustre: Provides a reduced level of glare, and has a soft sheen. The term satin or luster is interchangeable between the two. Both films are virtually the same and some manufacturers call their film satin while others term it luster.

Glossary of Laminating and Mounting Terms

ACRYLIC ADHESIVE: A type of pressure-sensitive adhesive most often used on cold films.

BASE or FILM BASE: Laminating film is manufactured by applying an adhesive to a film base. The film base is the layer of film that doesn’t melt. It is the material the adhesive is extruded on to during manufacturing. In a thermal film the base is usually polyester but is also available in nylon base for one- sided laminating applications. Pressure sensitive film is generally vinyl based.

CO-POLYMERS: These are agents added to the polyethylene adhesive layer of a thermal film to lower its melt temperature, increase its adhesion, and improve its clarity.

CORE SIZES:This is the size of the cardboard core the film is rolled onto. The mandrels on your laminator will determine the core size film used , 1″ 2 ¼” or 3″ diameter.

DRY MOUNTING: is a thermal process, which uses a heat-activated adhesive (dry mount tissue) to adhere the back of an image to foam board, mount board or another paper-surface mounting substrate. It may be done with a press or with some types of laminators.

MELT TEMPERATURE: A range or a specific temperature at which a thermal film or a dry mount adhesive is best applied.

MIL: Laminating film thickness is measured in mils or 1/1000 of an inch. Ie. 3 mil film is 3/1000 of an inch. The thicker the film, the stiffer and more durable the laminated item will be

THE NIP: The line where the two laminating rollers press together and lamination takes place.

POLY IN or POLY OUT: Films are wound on a core either poly in (adhesive side in) or poly out (adhesive side out) This is simply the way the film comes off the roll.

POLYESTER: The base or outer protective layer of the most thermal laminating film. It does not melt during the thermal laminating process. It is also the base layer of many PSA films.

POLYETHYLENE: The adhesive almost always used in thermal films. During hot lamination it liquefies. The lamination takes place in the nip. Fans or chill rollers in the laminator then help cool the adhesive so it becomes a flexible solid again.
PSA – stands for pressure-sensitive adhesive. Pressure-sensitive adhesives will work cold or with some heat. Either acrylic or latex type adhesives are generally used in PSA materials. Pressure-sensitive adhesive is used on clear laminating films, on sign vinyl’s, and for mounting images.

SUBSTRATE: Literally means under-layer. It can refer to material we print on, or the board we use to mount an image

VINYL: Used as the base of some clear PSA laminating films. It is also used in colored sign materials.

A WEB: The unwinding width of plastic coming off a supply roll, or the continuous flow of laminate coming out the back of the laminator.

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