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Pouch Laminator Buying Guide

Pouch Laminator Buying Guide

Pouch laminators help to protect, preserve, and enhance documents of all shapes and sizes.  Whether its to preserve a family photo or to give your documents a more professional look, pouch laminators can do it all.  Pouch laminators make a great addition to any office, home, school, and professional print shop.

Laminating is the process of sealing a document between two sheets of thin plastic.  There are two types of laminating, heat-activated thermal laminating and cold pressure sensitive laminating.  Thermal or hot laminating is the process of using heat to melt the adhesives on the plastic to seal the document.  The other type, cold laminating, doesn't involve heat.  The laminating film used in cold laminating has a self adhesive that will stick to the document on its own. Couple of things to consider when buying a pouch laminator is the width, hot vs cold laminating, the number of rollers, pouch laminating thickness, and reverse or jam release capabilities.

Pouch Laminator Width

The entry width of a laminator determines how large of a document a laminator can laminate.  The most common standard size laminators are 9" wide, ideal for letter sized documents such as resumes, reports, photos, and copier paper.  4" laminators are also available for smaller laminating needs, such as ID badges, luggage tags, wallet size cards, and business cards.  Larger width laminators most commonly come in either 12" laminators, 13" laminators, and 17" laminators.  These larger size laminators are ideal for posters, legal size papers, and menu size laminating.  

Hot Laminating vs Cold Laminating

Standard pouch laminators are hot laminating machines, which means they use heat to melt the glue on thermal pouch films to seal documents.  Hot laminating should come standard on all pouch laminators.  Cold laminating doesn't require heat but pouch laminators do come with a setting for cold laminating.  

Cold laminating pouch film already have a sticky adhesive that can seal documents without the aid of a laminator.  But sealing a document with cold pouch film can often leave undesirable bubbles and creases.  Running a cold pouch film through a laminator (on a cold setting) will press out any bubbles and wrinkles.  

Number of Rollers

Pouch laminators usually come with 2 roller, 4 roller, or 6 roller systems.  The first step in pouch laminating is to place a document between the pouch film.  Then the document, while inbetween the two laminating sheets, is sent through a laminator.  The rollers in the laminator will turn, pressing and rolling over the document and sealing the film on and around the document.

The more rollers a pouch laminator has, the more heat the laminator will distribute on the film and the more pressure the laminator will distribute on the film.  Multi roller systems will often deliver better quality laminating.  2 roller and 4 roller pouch laminators are suitable for personal, business, and office use.  6 roller laminators are often best suited for professional laminating.

Pouch Laminating Thickness

When purchasing a pouch laminator, it is important to know the minimum and maximum film thickness the machine can seal. Choosing a pouch laminator that is not compatible with your pouch film thickness will often result in jams and poor quality lamination. The most common pouch laminators, mostly found in offices and homes, can laminate anywhere between 3 mil to 5 mil. Higher grade pouch laminators can laminate upwards of 7 mil to 10 mil. Professional grade pouch laminators are capable of laminating mounting boards.

Reverse and Jam Release

Sometimes, a user may find a need to stop the laminating process, often because the document gets jammed or the lamination starts to run off sideways which will cause wrinkling and folding.  Reverse features will allow the laminator to run backwards, allowing the user to reset the laminating process.  Jam release will hold open the rollers, releasing the pressure on the document and allowing the user to pull out the lamination and recover the document.

To view a full assortment of royal sovereign pouch laminators, click here.

To view a full assortment of laminating pouch film, click here.