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Laminator News

Protect Your Prints

By Kim Crowley

Over the past 12 months, there were enhancements and new additions to the laminator market. Here, several vendors share upgrades and new releases.


Advanced Greig Laminators redesigned its Compadre laminator, while offering it at a new lower price. AGL laminators are built in the U.S. and feature heat up times of ten to 15 minutes with a heated roller profile of +/- 5 degrees Fahrenheit across the entire width of the roll.


Clearstar LP’s StarLam 1600R is its most popular laminating machine. The 64-inch wide liquid laminator applies a smooth consistent coating of water-based liquid laminate. The company is currently developing a laminate for the UV-curable market.


Coda, Inc. added a heat assist, top and bottom feed to its laminators. The company offers film laminators in maximum widths ranging from 34 to 54 inches.


D&K Group recently introduced the EXP 65 wide format laminator, a commercial laminator designed for pressure-sensitive applications up to 67 inches. It offers roll-to-roll lamination, a swinging feed table, a heat assist top roller with a maximum temperature up to 140 Fahrenheit, a digital control panel with preset temperatures, and film/media storage mandrels.


Daige, Inc. Solo cold laminators, introduced in October 2009, are designed for one operator for mounting and laminating. Features include hard-bonded silicone on bottom rollers, print holder to wind up long prints, take-up system, and spring-loaded top roller.


Drytac Corporation additions to the JetMounter roller laminator line include the 63-inch JM63SHA, a single height adjustment laminator with a heat assist top roller. A heat assist top roller was added to the JM54SHA model. The heat assist roller on both the JM63SHA and JM54SHA models runs at 110 Fahrenheit, and helps pressure-sensitive materials to flow out and prevent silvering.


General Binding Corporation (GBC) recently introduced the 640t and 2064Ct pressure-sensitive production laminators, to meet the needs of the expanding market for solvent and eco-solvent printers. The 640t laminator runs jobs roll-to-roll up to 16 feet per minute (fpm), while the 2064Ct runs roll-to-roll up to 30 fpm.


LEDCO, a division of Graphic Laminating, plans to add a new wide format, 64-inch thermal laminator to its line up later in 2010. The company’s most popular laminators are in the Digital series. The Digital 42 and 60 use heat shoe technology for faster throughput. The Digital 44 model uses heated rollers and accommodates rolled laminates as well as laminate board stock.


Neschen America’s most popular laminators include the SEAL 62 Base and the SEAL 62 Pro D. The SEAL 62 Base, designed specifically for sign shops, features an adjustable nip for a wide variety of substrates and a heat-assisted top roller for optimum performance. The flexible SEAL 62 Pro D features dual heated rollers. Operators can use heat on one, both, or neither depending on the application.


Quality Media and Laminating Solutions (QMLS) offers their Quality 64TLX 62-inch film laminator. The laminator has a hot roller on the top that reaches temperatures of up to 250 Fahrenheit. The rewind in the back of the device makes it especially successful for fleet graphics production. Without this feature, one operator must be in the front of the machine to ensure that everything is going through the laminator properly and a second operator is required to catch and trim panels as they exit the laminator.


Royal Sovereign International’s RSC 1400 series 45-inch laminators were upgraded with 40 percent wider roll nip settings, designed for mounting images onto thicker substrates. They also feature newly designed electronic roller safeties, enhanced roller pressure balance, and improved set up features that reduce initial laminator set up times.


USTech Inc.’s WORF AK and MJ cold film laminators meet the low-end customer’s laminating and mounting needs. Recent enhancements to include heat assist, an on dial handle for adjusting the top roller, and increased maximum nip opening from 23 to 40 millimeters.


Xyron Inc. machines use a patented cold-seal lamination technology. The laminators offer a newly changed roller design to reduce the weight of the machines and allow thicker items to pass through more easily. The stand on the 43-inch XM4400 laminator is also upgraded.


Print providers still continue to utilize finishing devices—whether they be hot or cold laminators—to protect a variety of output. We spoke to two shops who rely on liquid and film lamination.


Auto Illusions

 “Lamination is the finishing touch that looks great and is the life of our graphics,” states Stephen Passione, operations manager, Illusions Inc. Located in Hudson, FL since 1999, the shop relies on Clearstar’s StarLam 1600R liquid laminator to protect about 70 percent of its custom automotive graphics.


Lamination is important to the auto work that Illusions creates. “The life of the graphics is so important—to the installer, dealer, and customer,” he says. “Getting the graphics to look better and last longer is a win-win situation.”


With the StarLam, Illusions uses Clearstar ClearJet Gloss 1020 LL laminate over Oracal USA media. In the past, Illusions faced issues laminating over Hewlett-Packard inks, but Clearstar works well on them. They laminate four 60-inch by 150-foot rolls in about eight hours.


“We love it,” says Passione. “The finish is ultra clear, smooth, and high gloss.”


The only lamination challenges Illusions notes are minor and easily conquered. “Just make sure the media rolls you put on the laminator are tightly wound and the alignment is correct when loading the machine,” recommends Passione.


Image Works

Don Wertman, owner, Image Works, based in Allentown, PA, just recovered from a short amount of down time with his early model Orca laminator from GBC. “We went out for a speed control and got it up and running,” explains Wertman. The quick fix is a testament to the heavy-duty makeup of many laminators as well as Wertman’s 30 years of experience. “I can take apart and fix anything with these three machines. They’ll be going forever,” he says.


Since about 80 percent of the shop’s output is film laminated, with small amount of jobs liquid laminated, keeping the laminators running is essential to business. “Hardly anything leaves the shop unprotected,” he shares.


Wertman admits that the laminators Image Works runs are extremely durable. “They are built like tanks. I couldn’t see why we would need another one in the next five years,” he states.


Image Works specializes in the design, printing, and installation of full-color pressure-sensitive vinyl graphics. With roots as a commercial photo lab, Image Works embraced large format digital printing in 1996. Today, the majority of their work is fleet and vehicle graphics, followed by banners, and a mix of wall murals, trade show graphics, and signs.


They utilize printers from Mimaki USA, Inc., Mutoh America, Inc., Roland DGA Corporation, and Seiko I Infotech. Media includes products from 3M Graphics Market Center for the vehicles, Oracal products, and a variety of laminates purchased from QMLS, including textured laminates, polycarbonate, dry-erase, and anti-graffiti.


Wertman shares a few tips for laminating success, “We try to do print projects enough in advance so the inks dry out an extra day before we laminate.” Also, the shop doesn’t need very much thermal laminating, but they do use the on-board heaters to warm the machines up a little bit on a cold day.


Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Jun2010, Digital Output Laminator News
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