Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Lamination Under Wraps

Look around at all the papers you've got on and overlooking your desk. How about the entire office, like something on a billboard or crucial information resigned to a Post-It note? Some of that's important, right? Shouldn't there be more care taken to preserve this information, at least to showcase it and announce that yes, this is significant? It's the sort of thing begging to be laminated.

A laminator is one of those pieces of equipment around the office that everybody is aware of, but rarely gets used to its full potential. Part of the issue is that until you actually sit down and use a laminating machine, the concept of permanently encasing something in plastic seems expensive, time-consuming and complicated. None of these are true.

There are three types of laminators-hot, cool and roll. Hot and cool laminators have the same external mechanics, where you insert the item to be laminated into a special pre-sized pouch and insert the pouch into the machine. That's it. Hot laminators use a thermal adhesive and typically create the strongest bond, while cold laminators use a pressure-sensitive adhesive and are recommended when the contents being laminated might melt or bleed in high temperatures (such as ink). Some machines even allow you to choose between hot and cool lamination.

The only choice to make is the thickness of your laminating pouch. Pouches are available in different thicknesses (measured in mil) and, depending on the maximum thickness your laminator will allow, you can choose how bendy or rigid you want the finished prouct to be.

With roll laminators, you don't need pouches as the film is already loaded in the machines. With many of these, documents are loaded in and cranked manually, making it a little trickier to get a perfect, smooth lamination. The advantages are that, like the cool laminator, there's no risk of melting ink and since there are no pouches to worry about, you can laminate longer items like banners.

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