Despite digital art taking the art world by storm and the vast amount of images (photographic and other) stored on computers we still want our artwork whether it be hand drawn, photographic or digitally mastered to be printed out and persevered for ourselves and for future generations to enjoy. We also need to protect paper documents, making them sturdier and more durable for frequent use.
Some of the printed materials we seek to preserve, protect and make sturdier include:
- Pictures your child drew
- Pictures you drew
- Workplace posters and notices
- ID cards
- Business cards
An obvious solution is to use picture frames, which can, of course, work out very expensive not to mention tricky to hang requiring tools and picture hooks etc. Additionally, there is the potential damage to walls etc. This is why lamination of pictures and posters is now proving so popular. There are various methods of lamination which ensure that high volume lamination, as well as the lamination of documents of all sizes, can be accomplished quickly and easily within a small office, home or factory setting. Modern laminators are notoriously easy to use compared to laminators of days gone by and even the most technophobic amongst us can operate them.
What is lamination?
Lamination is a process of protecting pictures and posters inside a thin transparent, plastic film which is fairly durable, sturdy, can be wiped clean and is very inexpensive. It is also a lightweight material, which means that the majority of laminated pictures and posters can be easily hung using sticky tack which ensures that there is no need for tools, pictures hooks and of course little to no damage to walls.
Different types of lamination
- Hot laminators
- Cold laminators
- Pouch Laminators
- Roll Laminators
Hot lamination (pouch laminators)
Hot laminators generally require a laminating pouch (clear lamination material folded in half, can also be coloured for greater creativity) which is slightly larger than the picture or poster to be laminated and of suitable size for the lamination machine. The picture is inserted into the pouch laminators and then the closed end of the pouch fed gently into the laminator which will have been turned on and allowed to reach the required temperature before the operation. When the laminate pouch passes through the laminating machine, the heat from the laminator melts the plastic adhesive on the pouch bonding the laminate to the picture and to itself.
These pouch style laminators can be found in the home and small office equipment setting. They can laminate a multitude of sizes and thickness of documents.
Lamination pouches are available in the following thicknesses: 3mil, 5mil, 7mil and 10mil. Pouch laminators also come in varying sizes i.e.: A2, A3, A4 and ID sized. These laminators are generally portable, warm up within a few minutes and can accept documents up to 250 microns thickness. They are suitable for laminating photographs and paper and are mainly used in the home or office.
Cold lamination requires no heat as the laminate is already sticky and can
be applied by manually. If you have a picture that might be damaged by the heat caused by a hot laminator, cold lamination is advised.
Roll laminators are more likely to be used in industrial centres for high volume lamination and for lamination of very large items such as maps, posters etc. Schools may also use roll laminators to laminate posters and banners. Popular roll laminator sizes include A1, A2, A3 and A0. The most popular sized roll laminator in use is 25 to 27 inches. Roll laminators wider than 65 inches are less common but very useful for laminating maps etc.
- Paper is too thick to be laminated and edges do not seal properly
- Wrinkles in the laminate spoiling the picture
- The picture and laminate get stuck in the lamination machine
- The picture or poster you want to laminate is too big for the laminator or laminate material.
- Bubbles in the laminate
Many of the problems named above can be resolved by ensuring you plan ahead and buy a laminator that has a variable heat setting, is large enough for the job required and is properly used and maintained. A laminator with a reverse button is very useful for removing jammed objects before they get too caught up in the laminator’s rollers and damage the image or machine and laminators which allow for hot and cold lamination ensure you can protect different types of documents easily.
Whatever laminator you decide to buy, ensure you carefully consider how it will be used and what size documents you will be laminating because where laminators are concerned, size does matter.