Frequently Asked Questions About Laminators

posted this on Feb 3, 2016

Laminators are a popular office machine and they offer a great way of protecting treasured and important documents. The world of lamination can be a bit confusing, however, with the all the different types of laminators available. Hopefully this FAQ will help demystify lamination for you and maybe even make you want a laminator for yourself!

  1. What’s the difference between hot and cold lamination? When you think of lamination, perhaps the first thing you think of is hot lamination. Hot lamination occurs when a document is sheathed with laminate (often in the form of a laminating pouch) and is then fed through a machine that melts the adhesive on the film, thus bonding the laminate to the object. On the other hand, cold lamination is lamination that occurs without heat. The laminate used is already sticky, so no heat is required to melt the glue.
  2. What’s a pouch laminator? A pouch laminator is a very popular kind of laminator and one of the easiest kinds of laminators to use. A pouch laminator can laminate all sizes of documents, including tiny ones (such as business cards) and large, poster-sized items. A laminating pouch is simply a piece of laminate folded in half. You slide your document in, put it through your laminator, and you’re done. Pouches are available in many different sizes and some are clear and others are colored, so you can get creative when laminating, depending on your desired end result.
  3. What’s a roll laminator? Roll laminators are often found in high-volume professional operations, such as copy centers, and places that laminate lots of large items. (Your elementary school may have had one.) This type of laminator uses two rolls to quickly laminate large items such as posters, blueprints, and maps. Using a roll laminator is a good choice when you need to quickly laminate a large number of big items.
  4. What kind of things can I laminate? The main purpose of lamination is to protect your documents and make them sturdier. That said, almost any item can be laminated. Some obvious choices would be important personal documents (such as birth certificates), ID cards, signs, menus, and photographs.
  5. I have some fragile things I need to laminate. What kind of laminator should I use? If you need to protect a fragile document, especially one that could be damaged by the heat produced by a pouch laminator, cold lamination is the way to go. While you can use a machine for this, you can also do it manually by using self-adhesive laminating film.
  6. What’s a carrier? A carrier is a vital tool to have on hand when you use a pouch laminator. It kind of looks like an envelope and it surrounds your document while you’re laminating. A carrier prevents the glue from seeping out of the laminating pouch, which protects your document and keeps your machine clean. Carriers are usually included with every box of pouches you buy, so you can always have one handy.
  7. I keep seeing the term “mil.” What’s that? When buying laminating pouches, you’ll need to think about how rigid you want your items to be once they’re laminated. This where the term “mil” comes in. “Mil” refers to the thickness of a pouch in thousandths of an inch. Pouches are available in the following thicknesses: 3 mil, 5 mil, 7 mil, and 10 mil. Essentially, the higher the number, the thicker the pouch, and the stiffer the end result.
  8. What are some features I should look for in a laminator? One of the most important features to seek out when buying a laminator is a reverse button. Jams are bound to happen when laminating and a reverse button can help you remove the document before it gets wrapped up in the machine’s rollers and possibly damaging the unit. Another feature that’s nice to have is a variable temperature setting so you can perform both hot and cold lamination with the same machine. You might also want to look for a laminator that fits in with your home or office decor, or one that’s easily portable. Whatever your needs, there’s a laminator out there for you!
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