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You’ve created a masterpiece on paper. Now you want to protect it. This article shows you how to laminate as it looks at the different methods and options available to you for laminating your photos, notices, documents, ID cards or any other printed item.
What is lamination?
Essentially, laminating documents is a way of protecting a relatively fragile material with a more durable, protective coating. It involves layering a hard-wearing film over the material. There are multiple methods of document lamination available and the right one for you will depend on several factors.
Types of Laminators
Here are the most common methods of document lamination:
Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets: Readily available from most office stationary suppliers, self adhesive laminating sheets offer a quick and affordable way for laminating the occasional document. If you only need to laminate once in a blue moon, this might be the method for you. Unfortunately, application can be tricky and there is plenty of room for error. This can lead to wastage and the unit cost of these sheets is already relatively high. Great if you have a steady hand and you only need to laminate documents very rarely but if you need to laminate even a handful of times per year; it’s probably worth looking at one of the other options.
Pouch Laminators: These are inexpensive laminating machines that are perfect for moderate home or office use. You simply place your document inside the laminating pouch and pass it through the machine. The machine then heats the document, triggering the heat-activated adhesive within the pouch and binding the film to the document. This option is ideal when you need to laminate straightforward items, in low volumes and on a regular basis. However, for constant, high-volume office laminating requirements a roll laminator would perform better. Check out our range of GBC Pouch Laminators...
Heated Roll Laminators: These machines are perfect for higher-volume, more regular laminating requirements. They come in a range of size and specifications ranging from small inexpensive desktop models for home and office use up to massive, industrial scale machines for commercial printers and sign-makers. The laminate film is purchased in rolls and loaded onto the machine. Most roll laminators take two rolls, one for each side of the document to be laminated. The main advantage of roll laminators over pouch laminators is that of speed and the ability to run continuous jobs. We provide a range of GBC Roll Laminators for the office and for commercial printers and sign makers we carry a ranges from brands such as Komfi Laminators and Drytac Laminators...
Cold Roll Laminators: These are a variation of heated roll laminators with one key difference...heat. Unlike heated roll laminators, cold roll laminators use rolls of film that adhere to the printed item without being heated. These are particularly popular in some commercial print and sign-making scenarios where the inks and materials used are incompatible with heated lamination.
If you are trying to decide which type of laminator you should choose it is worth asking yourself these questions before making a choice...
What do you want to laminate?
The type of item you want to laminate will play a big part in the method of lamination you choose. Obviously, a temporary office notice that will be hung up indoors and out of reach will require a less durable and damage-resistant lamination than an ID card which will be handled constantly or an external sign which will be exposed to the elements.
What sizes do you need to laminate?
The size of the items you need to laminate will also impact on the method of lamination available to you. A standard piece of A4 paper can be laminated quickly and cheaply in a large number of different ways, from self-adhesive pouches to desktop roll laminators such as the GBC Heatseal H535. Oversize or irregular sized documents up to A3 will probably require a higher-end pouch laminator or heated roll laminator like the GBC Pinnacle 27 Ezload. Large signs or over-sized posters will probably require more specialist attention and may require you to outsource or invest in a large commercial unit such as a Komfi or Drytac laminator.
How often do you need to laminate?
The volume of stuff that you need to laminate will help inform your decision. If you only need to laminate a single document once every now and again, you might as well go with self-adhesive laminating sheets. If however you are in an office environment with even moderate laminating requirements, say a few documents every month, it is probably time to invest in a machine.
How to laminate with a pouch laminator
The exact process for using a pouch laminator will vary depending on your specific model. This guide is based on the operating procedures of the GBC Heatseal H535; a general purpose pouch laminator which can laminate documents from ID card size up to A3 in both hot and cold modes.
Step 1 - Connect the laminator power plug to a power outlet.
Step 2 - Press the power switch on the back of the laminator to turn on the machine (fig. 3). An audible beep will be heard, the “Preset”, “COLD”, and “Ready” symbol will show.
Step 3 - The machine defaults on cold laminating.
Step 4 - To select different pouch size and laminating object for hot laminating, check the Laminating Guide for best selection.
Step 5 - If the machine is not in the Preset mode, press button to choose Preset mode and “Preset” symbol shows.
Step 6 - Under Preset mode, press or button to select the preset mode you check from the lamination guide. The 15 modes can laminate pouches of thickness from 75 micron to 250 micron.
Step 7 - Whatever the thickness, section 1 is for Copy Paper, section 2 is for Brochure Paper and section 3 for Photo Paper. As one of the 15 Preset laminating modes is selected, the machine begins warming up. The speed and temperature will adapt automatically to the mode you selected. Please note that you can also change the temperature and speed manually.
Step 8 - As the machine warms up, the hourglass in the top right corner rotates.
Step 9 - When the machine is ready to laminate, the hourglass disappears, the “Ready” symbol shows up.
Step 10 - Insert the document into the pouch. Please note that it has to be correctly centered into the pouch.
Step 11 - Gently insert the document sealed side of pouch first into laminator
Step 12 - Pouch will exit from the machine into the support tray.
Get in Touch
If you have any other queries about laminating please feel free to call us on 1850 33 44 55. We'd be happy to help.