MyBinding Knowledge Base
What should I know about the different laminators available?
Looking for a laminator? Confused by the choices? Here are some of the basic differences between the different types of laminating machines.
Also known as film laminators, these are the kinds of machines that you will find in larger organizations such as schools. These machines use large rolls of film to laminate documents that are of just about any size, and you can even laminate many documents consecutively and trim them when you are finished. Items are placed at the opening on one sheet of plastic (the plastic sheets that are lined with adhesive). There is a roller on top that holds the top layer of laminate in place. As the machine starts, the item is run though and the two sheets of adhesive-lined plastic are heated to the extent that they will adhere permanently together around the document.
The advantages of using a roll laminator are as stated above: you can process documents of just about and and all sizes, and you can laminate many documents in a series, sort of like an assembly line. Some if the disadvantages of roll laminators are the higher cost of these machines as compared to smaller pouch laminators, and the larger size which means that your roll laminator will probably have to occupy a dedicated spot within your workroom or processing center.
A pouch laminator is generally a smaller, more portable machine that uses specific sizes of adhesive-lined plastic (known as pouches) to encase documents. The paper that you wish to laminate is placed inside the pouch, and the pouch is then placed into what is known as a carrier (a card stock protective covering) and run through the machine. Like roll laminating, when the plastic is heated the two sides adhere and the document is thus encased in plastic.
Pouches come in thicknesses from 3 mil to 10 mil (a mil is equal to one one thousandths of an inch). The thicker the mil, the more rigid the finished product will be. Documents that are laminated with 3 mil pouches bend easily, while those that were laminated in 10 mil pouches are very stiff and bend little if at all.
Some of the advantages of pouch lamination are that the machines are generally smaller so they can be stored away when not in use, and that they are usually much less expensive. Disadvantages include the fact that you can only laminate documents of a certain size (whatever fits into your pouch and your machine) so you are a little bit limited there.
A note about carriers: There has been a slight movement toward “carrier-free” laminators, but for the most part these are to be avoided. Carriers help to keep the adhesive from collecting on your rollers and may indeed save the life of your machine.
Fairly new on the scene, cold laminating presents consumers with a nice option. Using adhesive and pressure instead of heat, cold laminators are the only type of machine that can ensure water-tightness. They are also very handy for use when there will not be a power source around, such as on location at an outdoor festival. In some cases you might sacrifice rigidity, but the machines are also a bit safer because they employ no heat.
< Over the years, a number of customers have asked me whether they can use twin loop wire with their plastic comb binding machine. These customers often don’t want to have to buy a brand new machine but like the look and feel of twin loop wire binding. However, the answer to their question isn’t as simple as it seems. You see, they actually do make twin loop wire that is designed to work with the plastic comb binding hole pattern. With that said, if you want to use these wires you are going to need a way to close the wires. What is Spiral-O Wire?Let me explain a little bit more…There is a product that we carry called Spiral-O Wire. This wire has 19 loops and is designed to work with the hole pattern from a plastic comb binding machine. Spiral-O Wire is sometimes called Wire Combs or Ibico Wire and was originally designed for use with some of the older Ibico binding machines. A number of the older Ibico plastic comb binding machines also included a twin loop wire closer on the front of them to allow users to use both plastic combs and wire. This 19 loop wire was designed for this purpose.What Equipment is Needed? As the Ibico brand has been phased out by GBC and all of the older Ibico plastic binding machines have been replaced with new models, they no longer have the twin loop wire closer on the front of them. This presents a problem in trying to use these spiral-o wires since you can’t use the wires without a way to close them.One of the only options left is to purchase a Twin Loop wire closer. However, since twin loop wire closers are not incredibly cheap this option usually only appeals to users who have larger electric plastic comb binding machines. Otherwise, it is often advisable to simply buy a low end 3:1 pitch twin loop wire binding machine (the supplies are cheaper). This being said, if you have one of the older Ibico binding machines that has a wire closer included you are in luck. The Spiral-O binding supplies that we carry will work perfectly with your machine and you will be able to use both plastic combs and wire depending on your needs. These Spiral-O binding supplies are available in Black, Silver, White, Blue and Red and in sizes up to 1″ in diameter.If you aren’t sure what type of wire binding supplies that you need to work with your machine simply give us a call. Our trained sales representatives will be glad to help you find the correct supplies for use with your machine.(Read More)