What is a Pouch Laminator and how does it work?

posted this on Jul 21, 2015

If you are looking for a laminator, you may be a little confused by the names, numbers, and terms you are running into as you shop. Here are a few of the basics to help educate you and to help you make an informed choice.

What it is: Pouch laminators are essentially machines that contain and employ a source of heat and pressure. With that heat and pressure, sheets of plastic lined with a special kind of adhesive are warmed to a temperature that allows them to bond together and essentially encase the documents that have been placed inside the sheets (such as business cards, ID badges, instruction sheets, etc.) in a clear and hard plastic that both enhances the colors of the document, and protects it from everyday wear and tear.

These types of laminators use a series of rollers (little wheels made of hard rubber) to move the document through the machine. On lower end machines you will find as few as two rollers and on the better machines you’ll find that there are as many as six. It is probably true that the more rollers there are, the batter your finished product will look, as the rollers can keep the documents from bubbling or wrinkling.

Pouch laminators come in all sorts of sizes and capabilities. You can, in fact, find pouch laminating machines that cost anywhere from $20 to $2000.

How it works: Pouch laminators received that name because they use pre-made pouches to encase documents. In order to laminate a document, you simply place it inside the pouch and place the pouch inside what is called a carrier (a card-stock like cover that comes with your pouches) and run it through the machine. Most laminators of this type take a few minutes to heat up, and running your item through the machine removes some of the heat, so it may be a minute or two until you are able to put another document through.

Once the document is through the machine, you may have to trim the edges to get the look you are after. Simply wait until the document has cooled a little bit to keep from marring the surface of the laminate.

Depending on the quality of the laminator in question, you will find a varying levels of controls. The most basic machines may have nothing more than an on and off switch. Higher end machines will have controls for speed and temperature, which can be very handy if you are using thicker laminating pouches on a regular basis.

You will also find that laminators come in various widths. You will want to find a machine that is wide enough to do the jobs that you intend for it to do.

About The Pouches:

Laminating pouches come in different thicknesses, from 3 mil to 10 mil. A mil is equal to 1/1000 of an inch, and the thicker the mil, the more rigid the final product will be. A piece of normal paper that has been laminated with a 3 mil pouch can be easily bent, while one that has been encased with a 10 mil pouch will bend very little if at all.

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