A Look at Laminators
Available Devices from Several Manufacturers
By Amber E. Watson
Part 1 of 2
Lamination protects digital output against weather, graffiti, and abrasive chemicals; it also providing pop to the print with a gloss, luster, matte, or textured finish. Today’s liquid and film laminators are engineered with cutting edge features for optimum functionality, reliability, safety, value, and ease of use.
Advanced Greig Laminators, Inc. (AGL)
AGL laminators feature pneumatically actuated nip rollers and shim spacer adjustments for mounting to substrates up to one-inch or more. More importantly, AGL laminators feature proprietary nip rollers designed to make lamination easy with minimal waste. When combining AGL’s equipment with the company’s full line of laminates, adhesives, and media, print service providers obtain an end-to-end match component solution. Prices begin at $13,500.
Alliance Technology Corporation (ATC)
ATC’s XL UV60-1TS and UV8-2TS Liquid Coating Systems are available in 60- and 80-inch coating widths, and provide high-speed, dry-to-dry protective lamination for digital inkjet images printed with various types of inks including UV, solvent, and water based. The application of the UV liquid is faster than traditional film lamination and has the added advantage of being dry to the touch immediately on exiting the coating machine.
The units coat both flexible and rigid substrates up to three inches thick, and feature super-sized rollers to assure full-width, edge-to-edge coating with a speed range of 30 to 110 feet per minute (fpm). Coating thickness is adjustable from 0.3 to 0.8 mil. The built-in triple liquid delivery system handles two liquids and a cleaning fluid, which are all filtered. The liquid metering roller and bottom roller scraper are pneumatically controlled. The estimated cost of investment for the UV60 is $83,000 and $100,000 for the UV80.
Artgrafix offers the Phoenix Pouch Board Mounter Laminator. The company touts it as the easiest way to mount and laminate a print up to 44 inches wide. Place the print between the film and pouch board, and then insert into the laminator. The print is professionally mounted and laminated in one step. The roll laminator uses films from 1.3 to 10 mil thick. An easy webbing idler bar quickens film changeover. The Phoenix laminator is priced at $2,395.
Coda manufactures a number of roll-to-roll, cold and heat assist wide format laminators ranging from 26 to 54 inches wide. Machines are capable of handling substrates up to two inches thick at speeds of up to 20 fpm. Base price begins at $2,100 and each device comes with a three year warranty.
Drytac’s JetMounter JM55 and JM63 Fuzion include top and bottom auto-grip supply shafts, rear and front take up or feed shafts, and a heat assist top roller. Ideal for shops that want to add roll-to-roll laminating capabilities, the JM55 and JM63 Fuzion are skilled at laminating vehicle wraps, creating window decals, and mounting graphics to substrates. The Fuzion models feature a one-inch nip opening, and are powered by 110 or 220 volts. The JM55 Fuzion sells for $7,995 and the JM63 Fuzion goes for $8,295.
Drytac also offers JetMounter Single Height Adjustment (SHA) Heat Assist (HA) laminators. In addition to the standard features offered by all JetMounter electric models, including variable speed electric drive, silicone rollers, all-steel construction, forward and reverse, foot pedal, and photo-cell safety protection, the JM55 and JM63 SHA-HA offer an LCD pressure gauge display to maintain greater control over the process; a front-mounted media supply shaft to feed media, mounting adhesive, or kraft paper; a heat assist top roller that runs at 110 degrees Fahrenheit and helps pressure-sensitive laminates flow out and eliminate silvering; and power at 110 or 220 volts. Cost for the JM55 SHA-HA is $6,295 and the JM63 SHA-HA is priced at $7,595.
Eastsign International Ltd.
Eastsign developed two new machines for roll-to-roll lamination and panel lamination. The BU-1600II WARM is the latest entry-level cold laminator. Maximum laminating width is 63 inches, while maximum laminating thickness is 1.3 inches.
This equipment enhances cold laminating by heat assist. The roller heats up the film up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and saves labor cost and time since lamination is driven by a motor or a controlled by pedal switch.
Based on the design of its CII series, the function of auto stripping and collecting back paper simplifies continuous lamination. Both film unwind/rewind as well as media unwind/rewind come equipped with this model.
In addition, Eastsign’s new flatbed laminator, the BU-1400FA, is designed for cold laminating on panels. Maximum laminating size is 63x157 inches, while maximum laminating thickness is 2.5 inches. An air compressor assists and pressure of the film can be adjusted. The working table is 33 inches high and equipped with lighting, made of strong aluminum, and easy to assemble.
GBC, an ACCO Brands Company
GBC’s Spire line includes eight laminators that come standard with a set of features based on whether it is hot or cold and if it is part of the Spire I, Spire II, Spire III, or Spire IV series. The base model within in each series can be upgraded as customer needs expand.
The Spire III series—available in quarter three—comes standard with multiple unwinds/rewinds, which consist of two drop-in auto-grip supply shafts and one drop-in multi-core media supply shaft. The Spire III Ct is a 64-inch cold laminator equipped with top heat assist and roll-to-roll capabilities. The Spire III 44T and 64T are thermal machines with independently controlled upper and lower heat rollers to allow for running multiple thermal film gauges and PSA films concurrently.
The units also feature a control panel that can be seen from any location around the unit. The extended feed and output tables assist the operator when changing and loading films, and the main roller crank handle rotates effortlessly when raising and lowering the rollers.
All models in the Spire line showcase a new, industrial design and are made of solid steel construction for added durability. The Spire line ranges in cost from $4,000 to $17,000.
Marabu North America
The StarLam 1600R roll-to-roll laminator applies a smooth, consistent coating of the company’s water-based ClearShield liquid laminate. It handles a variety of substrates up to 64 inches in width. Ideal applications include vehicle graphics, backlit signs, point of purchase, trade show displays, banners, and wallpaper.
Neschen’s new Seal 65 Pro MD and 65 EL laminators feature working widths of 65 inches. “This addresses the issue of printer manufacturers shifting to 64-inch and wider equipment, thus forcing the industry to evolve to larger size finishing equipment and media,” shares Ronit McGuthrie, senior product manager, finishing, Neschen.
The 65 Pro MD is capable of running thermal film at 15 fpm. The easy operator interface is a touch screen control panel that regulates the temperature, speed, cooling, and nip height of the laminator. It is mounted on a swivel pendant for easy movement between the front and back of the machine.
Additional features include swing out auto-grip supply shafts, bidirectional operation, dual IR Quartz heated rollers, and a fully adjustable two-inch pneumatic nip and flip up in-feed table.
Neschen’s Seal 65 EL is a cold roller laminator designed for new users and is ideal for mounting and laminating pressure-sensitive graphics up to 65 inches wide. The 65 EL features a durable uniframe construction, auto-grip supply shafts, simple controls, and requires minimal maintenance.
All Seal laminators are backed by a standard one year parts and six months labor warranty. Additionally, Seal offers the SEALguard Advantage Extended Warranty, which covers laminators for a total of three years and includes services such as free application training, unlimited phone and email technical support, and various payment plans. MSRP on the 65 Pro MD is $34,495.
Quality Media and Lamination Solutions (QMLS)
In addition to distributing laminators from AGL, QMLS also offers its own branded devices. The 64 TLX-P is a top-heated roller laminator. Features include laminating widths up to 62 inches, motorized nip assembly, fold down front table, auto and foot pedal running mode, and rear rewind for finished prints.
Rolinx Performance Products
The Kala Mistral 1650 top heat assist 140F and the Kala Arkane 1650 full top heat 285F features an electronically monitored pressure system that ensures uniform dispersion of pressure at the nip rollers, a one piece fully-welded frame, a feed tray that pivots upwards allowing full and secure access to all unwind and rewind shafts, five aluminum self-blocking roll shafts, roll-to-roll function at speeds up to 21.6 fpm, a storage area for up to four rolls of film, and a powder coated infeed plate that facilitates consistent webbing. The Mistral retails for $11,420 and the Arkane for $12,206.
Royal Sovereign’s 55-inch RSC-1401 series and 65-inch RSC-1650 series of cold roll film laminators are available in cold only or with heat assist top rollers, and are ideal for laminating and mounting pressure-sensitive graphics.
The RSC-1401 and RSC-1650 series handle a variety of media up to 65 inches wide, and mounting up to one-inch thick with pressure-sensitive films at speeds of up to 16.4 fpm. Digital controls for speed, combined with silicone rubber rollers, help deliver a perfect finish. Film supply shafts are equipped with auto-grip hubs allowing for quick and easy replacement of lamination film. The Quick Notch system for fast mounting gap adjustment, rear remote controls, and a start/stop foot pedal make one-person lamination quick and simple.
By adding the front feeder and rear wind up assembly, Royal Sovereign laminators provide true roll-to-roll laminating and allow for simple one-person operation. “One person takes a roll of printed media directly off the printer and slides it onto the front reel of the laminator where it is then lined up straight with the laminating film for a straight laminating run,” explains Wayne Borg, director of marketing graphics and appliances, Royal Sovereign. As it laminates, the rear wind up reel keeps the laminated media from kinking and touching any dirt or debris on the floor.
Royal Sovereign’s hot laminators are available from 15 to 65 inches wide and feature a dual-heated silicone roller system that helps eliminate laminating inconsistencies like bubbles, wrinkles, and hazing. The laminators are designed for ease of use and suitable for less experienced or infrequent operators as well as experienced users.
Royal Sovereign’s 55-inch RSC-1401 series retails from $6,333 to $6,833 and the 65-inch RSC-1650 series for $7,617 to $8,442. Hot laminators retail between $9,968 and $11,060.
Xyron’s XM4400 wide format laminator instantly applies gloss laminates, adhesives, or both without heat. It provides high-pressure rollers to improve both transfer and bonding qualities. The width is adjustable to accommodate 38- and 42-inch documents. It features a large input tray with alignment markers and an adjustable edge guide aid in document feeding.
Xyron also plans to introduce its new 63-inch XM6300 wide format process laminator in Fall 2013. The XM6300 laminator features a convenient floor pedal and a unique feed system for greater control when handling extra long or wide media. Support, guides, and collection rollers make laminating longer jobs manageable. Users may run jobs automatically with single pressure and tension adjustments for best control. Features also include two unwind shafts, one liner rewind, and variable roller gap to a one- and three-inch film core.
Xyron’s XM4400 and 63-inch XM6300 are ideal for signage and poster finishing up to 61 inches wide. Users instantly apply laminate, adhesive, or both without heat. Xyron’s cold laminators are capable of laminating heat-sensitve documents, as well as laminating one side of a document and putting adhesive on the back side.
There are many options available for protecting prints. Improvements in speed, precision, and operator-use make the newest lamination devices attractive to purchasers, while the benefits of a lasting product bode well with customers.
Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.
Aug2013, Digital Output DOLM1308