author:Peter J. Mason
Laminating equipment has many uses in the office and the home. Laminating documents or pictures protects them from tearing, smudges or other damage. Machines come in small sizes to laminate identification cards or single pictures all the way up to large, wide format machines for bigger projects. The machine you should choose depends on several factors.
An Overview of Lamination Equipment
Pouch laminators use film pouches to cover documents. They are compact and easy to operate. You can find this machine in sizes ranging from an ID tag up to 20 inches wide. These are available in hot, cold or combination machines.
Roll laminators are larger and require space to operate. These are also available in both hot and cold formats. Rolls are best for bulk work or for larger projects that won?t fit in a pouch machine. These laminators ( http://www.laminating-guide.com/laminators.html ) are often found in schools, offices and print shops.
Wide format machines are used for larger projects. These are very expensive, with some priced at nearly $40,000. This type of machine is most often found in print shops. They are great for custom lamination. If you do a lot of laminating, this machine is a great investment. If you only have the occasional need for wide format, it is more economical to buy a smaller machine and send larger projects to a printer for lamination.
Before you start shopping for a laminator, there are some questions you should ask yourself.
1. How much will the laminator get used? If you will laminate under 50 pages each day, a pouch laminator will be sufficient. For bulk work, a larger, roll model is needed.
2. Do you want a hot or cool machine? A hot laminating machine uses heat to seal the document inside the pouch. A cold machine uses adhesive inside the pouch, similar to contact paper to secure the document.
3. What will you be laminating? If you will be working with a lot of photographs or graphics, you may not want a heated machine. High temperatures can damage the images.
4. How large are the documents you will cover? If you will be doing mostly smaller projects, a pouch laminator is sufficient. For larger projects you will need a machine built to handle size. Pouch machines are labelled to show their capacity. An 8 X10 machine can handle paper up to 8 X 10. Most pouch laminating equipment doesn?t exceed 11 X 17, but a few go to 20 inches.
5. How thick are your projects? If they are very thick, you will need laminating equipment that is built to handle it. This includes projects that are mounted on a mounting board and then laminated. Look for a spring loaded roller that can automatically adjust for the thickness of the project.
6. Where will you store the machine? A smaller pouch machine can be stored on a desk, in the office supply closet or under the copy machine. A large roll machine is a big piece of office equipment that is more difficult to store. You will need to purchase a laminating stand to hold it. If your office is full of furniture with little empty space, this may not be practical.
7. Do you need any extra features? Some machines come with features like a cutter to trim documents or a combined laminator/binding machine to bind projects in book form.
Film for Laminating Equipment
A variety of finishes are available in laminating film. You may choose different films for each project. Most machines can handle any finish, but check to be sure the film you are using is compatible for your machine. For a high gloss look, chose a clear film. This is the most commonly used film. For a slightly less glossy finish, a satin film is the best choice.
Other films are available, but are less commonly used. A matte film has a surface that is slightly opaque. These are a good choice for photographs. Scratch resistant film is great for projects that will need to stand up to heavy use. Crystal film has a granular texture. The film you choose will depend on the document you are laminating.