Enhancing and protecting digital graphics with lamination leads to longer lasting, vivid output. Whether to protect outdoor signage against weathering or for indoor displays to hold up against cleaning solutions and foot traffic, lamination is a key consideration in almost any environment.
As laminating devices become more advanced, so too do the projects for which they are used. “The diversity of projects is unbelievable; there are a lot of creative people using laminators for displays, art, awards, certificates, signs, tags, reports, decals, promotions, and wide format prints,” shares Garth Bertini, marketing/sales manager, USI, Inc. “Lamination is mainly about protection and reusability—once a print is sealed, it is good for years to come. Lamination also enhances, giving prints rich vivid colors,” he adds.
“Lamination is a great way to protect an image from a variety of damaging elements such as dirt, moisture, and fading due to UV exposure,” explains Lee Coda, president, Coda, Inc. “In a cold process, the print is laminated on the image side only, and then trimmed and mounted to a substrate to keep it flat. Thermal laminating is primarily done to encapsulate, so the laminate is applied to both sides of the image,” he explains.
Wide format laminators are available in hot and cold models and used to laminate many different applications on a variety of substrates.
The Latest Laminators
The 64i is Advanced Greig Laminators, Inc.’s (AGL’s) most popular laminator, featuring pneumatic dual-heated rollers, pneumatic pull rollers, and a dial-in spacer system for bi-directional laminating and mounting to substrates up to one-inch thick. AGL’s unique repeatable tension system, brake unwind shafts, and pneumatically controlled rewind shafts give users the ultimate in process control feedback. Additional standard features, such as the web feed table and quick latch swing out supply shafts, help make setup fast and easy. The 64i also features a curl cam, which gives users the ability to encapsulate using two different thicknesses of laminates.
Coda’s 64-inch cold film Codamount laminator (CML) 64, as well as the CML 54-inch cold film laminator, features 4.5-inch diameter rollers and a top feed and take up. With a portable stand, they are priced at $8,510 and $6,600, respectively. Coda configures the laminators to customer needs and specifications. Each machine can be ordered for less without the stand or feed/take up. An optional bottom feed/take up can be added. The laminator can be configured as a cold, hot, or heat-assist machine. The roller gap accommodates two-inch thickness and can be run by a single operator.
Daige, Inc. manufactures the Solo cold laminator, providing customers with a 55-inch device at an affordable $2,195. Key features and functions include automatic take up, silicone covered nip rollers, heavy duty motor, print holder, and all metal construction. The device is available in 25-, 38-, 55-, and 65-inch widths and is made in the U.S.
The most popular GBC wide format laminators are the Titan series—the Titan 1244WF, 44 inches wide and the Titan 1264WF, 64 inches wide. These versatile devices are designed to work with both thermal and PSA overlaminates and adhesives. Titan Series laminators feature swing out supply shafts, usually found on more expensive units, which permit easy film loading and unloading. Additionally, they have nine programmable job memory settings for ease of operation when switching from job to job.
Neschen America’s Seal 54 EL is the company’s newest and best-selling laminator. The device is a cold roll laminator that mounts and laminates prints up to 54 inches wide. It has a manual nip adjustment for precise operation, 16.4 feet per minute speed capabilities, and a front table roll trough. It is ideally suited for beginners. The Seal 62 Pro D is another popular Neschen laminator. Positioned for production, the 62 Pro D offers dual-heated rollers, five unwind/take up shafts, and a film saving flip up pull roll system. The device is ideal for all hot/cold applications using materials up to 61 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick, including high-speed, single-pass encapsulation. It comes standard with a print roll trough mounted to the front table, an additional bracket to hold a spare auto-grip shaft, and a rear nip adjustment handle.
Quality Media and Laminating Solutions’ 64TLX is designed for the sign and graphics market and is capable of mounting and laminating materials up to 62 inches wide. A top heated roller climbs to 265 degrees, offers nip opening to one-inch wide, three unwind shafts, and two rewind shafts. Prominent features include a five-inch diameter, flat rollers that track straight for roll-to-roll lamination on rolls up to 150 feet long, and rear rewind, which allows laminated material to be rewound onto a roll instead of landing on the floor.
Royal Sovereign recently introduced the RSC-1401CW wide format cold roll laminator ideal for laminating and mounting pressure-sensitive graphics up to 55 inches wide, and mounting up to one-inch thick. It produces pressure-sensitive films at speeds of up to 16.4 feet per minute. The RSC-1401CW also includes a rear wind-up assembly—a $525.00 value—which winds up long runs of laminated materials to help prevent kinking or other damage. The RSC-1401HW has all the same features as the RSC-1401Cw and also includes a heat assisted top roller. The warm roller heats the adhesive on the pressure-sensitive film to help the adhesive flow into the textured areas of substrates and immediately forms a smooth, clear finish free from silvering with shorter laminate cure times. Suggested retail price for the RSC-1401CW is $6,167 and the RSC-1401HW is $6,665.
USI now sells the ARL 4000, a 40-inch roll laminator priced at $1,999. This laminator was built on the footprint of USI’s 2700 digital model. It features a one-inch mandrel and runs a one-inch core film from 12 to 40 inches.
Xyron Inc.’s most popular product is the XM4400, a 44-inch wide cold laminator listed at $4,995.99. No heat is required to turn it on and laminate documents up to 42 inches wide. Customers may also purchase adhesive rolls for edge-to-edge adhesive on media for mounting.
Many applications benefit from lamination—from trade show graphics, posters, and banners to outdoor signs, vehicle graphics, and wall decals. “Lamination protects graphics from moisture, UV, abrasions, and rough handling. It also reduces glare from direct lighting by offering a matte, luster, or textured finish,” says Jim Fino, product manager, finishing, Neschen.
Print service providers attain the many benefits of lamination by taking advantage of top quality hot and cold laminators available for purchase from leading manufacturers.