By Cassandra Balentine
Part 2 of 2
Laminators represent a core element in the print provider’s finishing portfolio. In part one of this series on wide format laminators, we looked at popular scenarios for lamination and addressed the technology’s future as advancements in print engines and ink sets evolve to produce more durable output.
We found that although the latest print technologies, especially latex and UV, may reduce the need for some lamination, this step is still necessary for many of today’s end uses.
In part two of the series, we highlight key features of available wide format laminators from some of the leading vendors.
Advanced Greig Laminators (AGL)
AGL manufactures seven different laminator models that can be configured in many ways. The company also custom designs and builds laminators to clients’ specific process requirements.
AGL’s Patriot laminator features an eight-inch diameter non-crowned roller, which is well suited for high production while offering consistent, high-quality output. The company’s proprietary roller design utilizes non-crowned, silicone-coated steel rollers. “The crowned rollers found in other laminators, while less expensive, are a major reason for in-feed waves, buckling, wrinkles, and silvering,” explains Tony Caruso, regional sales, AGL. He adds that the company offers pneumatically operated controls across its entire product line.
In addition, AGL’s process control feedback is designed to take the guesswork out of setting proper film tension. “Set it once, record it, and repeat it for all future work. With AGL’s process control feedback, adjusting settings and tensions is no longer an option or judgment call,” says Caruso.
Dataplot offers its line of Emblem Easylam Expert laminators. The company provides three types of Expert laminators, including the 140C and 160C cold laminators, and the 160W. The 140C and 160C models are designed for entry-level users while the 160W is ideal for professional users with a high output of daily lamination. The 160W’s upper roll can heat up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bernd Ruter, marketing/product management, Dataplot, says one feature that makes Dataplot’s solutions stand out from the competition is that the lower rolls in the machines go straight down by opening the rolls. “So the scaffold laminators don’t move the lamination film by opening and closing the rolls. The benefit is that this helps to laminate safely and smoothly without problems during the lamination process,” he explains.
Daige offers its Solo Cold Laminator, which is made in the U.S. and ideal for laminating wide format applications such as wraps, signage, and photos, and well as mounting prints to boards and applying transfer tapes and reflective sheeting.
Drytac manufactures three roll laminator models and two liquid laminator models for large format applications. Offerings include the JetMounter Pro, JetMounter Fuzion, and JetMounter SHA-HA. The Pro processes materials up to 63 inches wide and features a two-inch roller opening with a top roller heating setting up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The Fuzion and SHA-HA both offer 55- and 63-inch widths with a one-inch roller opening and top roller heat assist set to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Drytac’s liquid laminators include the SmartCoater roll-to-roll product line at 60-, 86-, and 128 inches maximum processing widths, and the EliteCoater, a sheet-fed machine that handles media up to 44 inches wide.
Nate Goodman, product manager, Drytac, points out factors that help its solutions stand out over the competition. The Drytac JetMounter line consists of durable metal machines without a larger price tag while the Pro and Fuzion models are capable of running material roll to roll, but can also process large substrates. He adds that the SmartCoater has more features than other liquid laminators, allowing the operator more flexibility during operation. Finally, he attests that the EliteCoater—the company’s newest machine—is specifically designed for coating canvas. However, it can coat other materials with an optional Mayer bar.
D&K Group, Inc.
D&K manufactures its Expression line of wide format laminators with working widths up to 65 inches wide. All Expression laminators include or can be purchased with a release liner take up to process cold films. Laminators also feature high-quality silicone rollers with hands-free mounting and laminating, and finished graphic rewinds.
Tim Saul, business development manager, D&K, says the company is a vertically integrated manufacturer with the ability to produce thermal, heat assist, and pressure-sensitive laminating films and mounting adhesives, as well as equipment of all sizes and capabilities to process these materials.
GBC’s flagship wide format laminator portfolio is the Spire. This line of five models includes thermal, cold, and cold with top heat assist offerings. Within the five machines there are two series—Spire II and Spire III. “We will be adding additional series to the line in the near future,” says Bob Elliott, product manager, wide format laminators, GBC/SEAL.
The Spire lineup currently ranges from 44 to 64 inches in width and are built as base models that can easily be added to as needs expand. It is ideal for operators at any skill level looking for a durable and affordable solution. “With durable, all-steel construction and features unmatched by the competition at their price points, the Spire line offers increased gapping, no hassle film loading, and ease of use—no matter what the skill level of an operator,” adds Elliott.
Graphic Finishing Products (Gfp), LLC
Gfp produces four laminator lines, including the 200 Series cold-only machines, which are available in 30- and 55-inch widths; the 400 Series, top heat-assist finishing systems in 55- and 66-inch widths with roll-to-roll capabilities; the 500 Series top heat-assist systems, which are available in 63-inch widths with roll-to-roll and swing-out shafts; and the 800 Series, featuring dual heat for PSA lamination or thermal encapsulation in 47- and 65-inch widths with roll-to-roll and swing-out shafts.
“Gfp machines are rugged, heavy duty, and built to satisfy the demands of the production environment, yet simple enough for entry-level users, and are offered at competitive prices. Our machines shorten production time, increase profitability, and produce consistent, professional results,” says Rob Acker, dealer manager, Gfp.
Quality Media and Laminating Solutions (QMLS)
QMLS distributes a number of well-known laminator brands, as well as offer its own products. The Quality 64 TLX-P is a top-heated roller laminator that laminates up to 62 inches in width. The Quality 64TLX is also a top-heated roller laminator, configured for pressure-sensitive, heat-set, and single-sided thermal overlaminates and adhesives.
Rolinx distributes the Kala laminator line in the U.S. Several models make up the portfolio, spanning usage requirements for beginner to the more experienced user. These models are referred to as the Starter, Atlantic, Mistral, and Arkane laminators.
Royal Sovereign International
Royal Sovereign provides a range of wide format roll laminator solutions that address lamination, mounting, and encapsulating needs. For more than 25 years, the company has produced high-quality graphics finishing products. Its laminators are designed to be versatile to support a range of applications.
The company’s laminator portfolio includes hot thermal roll laminators, cold pressure-sensitive roll laminators, and heat-assist roll laminators ranging from 15 to 65 inches wide.
The company offers tabletop 27-inch models designed for the education channel, as well as a dual hot and cold machine with digital controls ideal for sign and print shops with limited space. Its free-standing cold roll laminating machines feature easy-to-use digital controls and high-quality silicone rubber rollers that range from 32 to 65 inches.
Its Professional series wide format cold laminators are fully featured with high-speed laminating capabilities of up to 28 feet per minute, a two-inch mounting gap for mounting on thick media, a built-in front feeder, and two built in rewinders.
In addition, Royal Sovereign’s dual hot and cold laminators allow both cold pressure-sensitive film laminating, as well as thermal single-sided laminating and encapsulating.
The SEAL line of wide format laminators range from 44 to 80 inches in width. SEAL laminators are available in thermal, cold, and cold with heat assist. “SEAL machines are known for their dependability. Manufactured in the U.S. with the best warranty in the business, SEAL stands by its machines to offer state-of-the-art features with unprecedented reliability and durability,” adds Elliott.
Xyron offers two wide format laminators—the XM6300 and XM4400. The XM4400 instantly applies laminate, adhesive, or both without heat to documents up to 42 inches wide. The 63-inch XM6300 is similar, applying laminate, adhesive, or both without heat.
A Solution for All
Print shops rely on lamination to add value to prints, either for durability or special enhancement requirements. Manufacturers respond to evolving demands with easy-to-use features and added functionality to ensure versatility.
Sep2014, Digital Output DOLM1408