Which laminator?

Choosing the right laminator for you

Laminating machines come in all shapes and sizes. But which one is right for you, does it need to do more than just laminate, for instance, also apply digital foil? Read our handy guide to help you choose the best quality laminator, lamination film and lamination pouches for your needs and budget.

An Introduction

There are essentially three types of laminating machines; laminators that use pouches, laminators that use film and laminators that use a UV liquid to coat the print. Some laminators can additionally be used for applying digital foil and spot UV type effects. UV liquid laminators are more difficult to operate, are time consuming to clean and they aren’t as flexible for short print runs. High power consumption and ventilation requirements mean that they are more expensive to purchase and operate, Vivid do not offer this kind of machine,

Why laminate?

In essence, laminating enhances, protects and preserves print. This can be anything from a certificate, or business card through to a vehicle wrap. Lamination improves the appearance of print, with deeper and brighter colours and improved contrast.

Laminated materials provide a high-quality finish, and so lamination is an essential part of the professional print process for creating great-looking brochures, leaflets, business cards and so on. Enhanced prints attract and retain the attention of the viewer more than plain print.

There are a number of different laminator film finishes and lamination pouch types available. Matt and gloss are the most commonly used but finishes such as soft touch, sandtex, anti-graffiti for outdoor use and eco-friendly biodegradable are also popular.

Digital Foil & Spot UV effects

Some laminators such as the Matrix Pneumatic and Duplex can also be used to apply digital foil. This process provides a simple and cost-effective way to add stunning effects and embellishments to print. With no dies or set-up required, digital foiling can be offered on-demand by printers on short-run digital print and can even be used for personalisation. With metallics, coloured and holographic effects available the results are incredible, it is even possible to achieve a spot UV type effect using a clear film on the same system.

The Matrix Metallic takes things further as this system was designed for digital foiling and works well with coated and many uncoated papers including some Colorplan by GF Smith and Curious Metallic from Antalis. Of course, it can also laminate.

Hot, cold & microns explained

Hot laminators, whether film or pouch, contain rollers that heat up when used. The temperature generated from the rollers heats the plastic laminate film or pouch and then bonds the print to the film or pouch.

Cold laminators are also known as pressure sensitive laminating machines. They too have rollers, but the rollers stay cold and instead apply pressure to the laminating film to bond the film to the print. Cold lamination systems are used more for vinyls and adhesives where heating the print at the lamination stage might damage the print.

A Micron is a measurement of thickness. If you use a laminating pouch with 150 micron, it will be thicker and stronger than a laminating sheet with 75 micron.

Perfect for home or the office

Pouch laminators

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Pouch Laminating Systems are thermal machines. They use the heat to melt the glue within laminating pouches and then fuse the pouch together to seal the document. This makes the print waterproof and protected from grease & spills and also brightens the colours within the print. This process is also known as ‘Encapsulation’.

Pouch Laminators are used in schools, colleges and universities to laminate certificates, report covers and ID cards. They can also be used in the office to protect documents and in the home for photos and recipes.

One of our best sellers is the Peak Educator PE-332 Pouch Laminating System.

  • Popular with schools and offices
  • Protect documents
  • Brilliant waterproofing
  • Can be used at home or at work
Laminating pouches

These are available in micron thickness from 150 mic to 500 mic, finishes including matt, gloss & self adhesive and sizes ranging from credit card size through to A5, A4, A3, A2 and A1 sizes.

The Boss range of laminating sheets are superior quality compared to cheap alternatives.

Ideal for bigger businesses

Film Laminators

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There is a lot more choice with roll laminators. This is due to the number of options and uses of printers within the market.

Single and Double Sided Film Laminators

With the advent of digital printing in the 1990’s, sheet fed printing became more economical. Digital print is more economical than traditional Litho (or Lithographic) printing, as Litho involves a more costly production of plates made of metal or polyester.

This meant that a print run of just one print job was now possible.

The Matrix Laminating, foil and Spot UV Systems are the best-selling SRA3/12×18 inch system in Europe. Litho Printers, Copy Shops, Digital Printers and Print Finishing Companies use them to laminate, foil and spot uv all kinds of print, including Business Cards, Wedding Stationery, High School & College Year Books, Brochures, Birthday Cards, Post Cards and Photo Books.

The Matrix is also a great partner with Digital Print engines, including Xerox, Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Canon.

The Matrix is compatible with litho printers from the likes of Heidelberg, Komori, MAN Roland and KBA.

Wide Format Laminators

Sign Makers use wide format printers from manufacturers including Roland, Mimaki, HP, Epson and Canon. They can be used to print all sorts of large graphics, including posters, signage, roll-up banners and window graphics.

Many companies are now diversifying into more areas of wide and grand format, including pop-up displays, exhibition & trade show graphics and vehicle wraps for cars, motor bikes, buses & even planes!

These still prints need protecting however. Lamination provides protection so they become weather resistant from the rain and sun. A laminated print will also save the customer money, as materials can be re-used and valuable graphics are protected and signs & posters are stiffened.

The Easymount range of Wide Format laminating machines are available in cold, single hot and double hot options, with widths starting from 650mm/26 inches up to 2100mm/83 inches. They can laminate print as well as mount print to foam boards and lay down application tapes & vinyls.

Dual sided film laminators

The best choice and most economical for printers and copy shops who supply their customers with short run prints. This is because these types of Thermal Film laminating machines can laminate single sided, as well as encapsulate. Single side lamination is popular for business cards, leaflets and flyers. Many restaurants will need their menu protecting so it can be used many times. Encapsulation is therefore a great option for many food outlets.

The Matrix Duo Laminating Machines will laminate litho and digital prints using OPP film. O.P.P. stands for Orientated PolyPropylene. It is sometimes referred to as BOPP (the “B” standing for “Biaxially”).

Encapsulation Film Laminators

Often referred to as ‘Encap’, encapsulation using a film laminator has all the benefits that a pouch laminated print has, but is more flexible. Because the film has a much greater length than a pouch, longer items can be protected, for example long banners or posters.

Our Linea range of Encapsulation Laminating Machines are available from A3/11×17” to A0/34×44” size options. They’re ideal for laminating maps and blueprints.

Let Us Guide You

Need help finding the right solution for you?

We understand that choosing the right laminator can be tricky – don’t be afraid to give our friendly team a call and we’ll do our best to talk through the best options for you.