MyBinding Knowledge Base
Do I Need a Heat Assist Laminator?
If you have been shopping for a wide format or commercial laminator you will find machines that are labeled hot roller, cold, and heat assist. Each type of machine has its own place in the market. However, for the purpose of this blog post we are going to be looking at Heat Assist laminators and their place in the market. Along these lines, here are a few things you might want to know.
- These machines work more like cold machines than hot ones. They are designed to work with pressure sensitive rolls of film and not standard or low melt films. The heat provided by these machines is not designed to melt adhesive. Instead it is designed to make the application of pressure sensitive overlaminates easier. It also helps to reduce bubbles, wrinkles and helps to increase lamination speed. I have heard of some people running ultra low melt films on these systems but this is not what they are designed for and the application is not recommended.
- Heat assist laminators don’t require nearly as much power as traditional heated roller machines. While many wide format hot roll systems have special power requirements, these versions will often run off standard 120v power. Even if they do require 220v, they will use significantly less power during the lamination process.
- These machines can be used with the heat assist on or off. This means they are fully functional cold laminators. If you don’t need the heat, then you don’t have to turn it on. Additionally, you can usually adjust the heat of one roller or the other for specialty applications, mounting and overlamination. They have take up rollers to unwind the release liner backing from pressure sensitive films and can be used with a wider variety of films
- The primary benefit of this type of system is that it gives you more control. They are popular for sign shops, graphic artists, photographers and marketing firms that need to produce the highest quality output for mission critical projects. With a cold system you really only have control over speed and tension. By adding heat to the equation you are able to achieve better results and use specialty films that are difficult to use otherwise.
- They tend to be more expensive than cold systems and less expensive than hot systems. If you don’t need a full blown hot roller machine then these might provide a great compromise. Plus the maintenance costs and replacement parts are cheaper than hot roller machines.
Ultimately, heat-assist wide format machines have their own unique place in the market and are best suited for users that are looking to do more than a cold machine can handle but don’t want to shell out the money or don’t need all the features included in a hot roller system. Check out the specs of the different machines for yourself and see which one makes the most sense for your application.
< 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)