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Kala Laminator - Review Needed

Discussion in 'Laminators' started by Signed Out, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    Going to be purchasing a new laminator in the next couple of weeks. We currently have a Royal Sovereign 55" which has been good to us for the last 8 years but is showing it's age now. We also recently added a 64" printer and cutter, so the laminator is needed. We've checked them all out, would probably stick with a new RS since we know them and haven't had issues with ours, but the Kala Mistral really has our attention.

    We saw it at the sign show in Vegas and all the automatic leveling and bells and whistles are great, but what we really like about it is the ability to trim while laminating. If you haven't checked these out yet, there are knifes on the back that you can set to trim excess laminate or edges of a graphic as you laminate it. I know there are some people out there who have made a similar setup on their own laminators too, so really could probably do this with any laminator.

    I'm hoping somebody who uses a kala laminator could give a review of how well this function does or doesn't work. Mainly what we'd be looking to do with it is trim off the excess white margins of wrap jobs as you are laminating. Example: you have 48' trailer wraps, little more than a 50 yd roll of printed vinyl. Would you be able to load a full roll of printed vinyl onto the kala and laminate it while trimming the sides off? I would think with a 1 inch overlap that it should work pretty well and save a ton of time handling and trimming panels.
     
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  2. SIGNTIME

    SIGNTIME Active Member

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    We are in the exact same boat. Saw the Kala at Vegas just bought a S80 and S2-T160, and ready to replace our RS55. We have a job for 35 trailers, 53' to wrap and figure this feature would save at least 35hrs. * If it works as intended *. We also found you can add more slitters which would be great for decals.
     
  3. CL Visual

    CL Visual Member

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    don't have time to respond right now but I bought one with trimmer 2 months ago and love it. I have videos to show. takes a bit to get used to but saves tons of time. Message me if you want to know more and i'll give you my number.
     
  4. bigben

    bigben Moderator

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    Interesting. I would love to know more about this feature.
     
  5. zspace

    zspace Merchant Member

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    We've had a Kala laminator for just over a year. It replaced an old Seal 64S Pro. My operators love the Kala. It's faster than the Seal, it's easier to web up, and it tracks better. We regularly runs full rolls of vinyl end to end without any tracking issues. We bought the optional slitter, but haven't used it yet.

    When it comes to mounting on boards, my production team still prefers the weight and heavier tables of the old seal.
     
  6. Marshal

    Marshal Member

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    our Seal has a trimmer option that we purchased afterwards and I installed it myself. It works pretty good, although I occasionally run into issues with any laminate overhanging sticking to the pull roller and getting wound up on that if I'm not paying attention.
     
  7. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    PM sent
     
  8. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    Upstate NY
    Thanks for your review! Interesting bit about the mounting and the light weight tables. What issue does this cause when mounting? Do the tables bounce around a bit? You are referring to the feed tray on the laminator, correct?
     
  9. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    I didn't know other lamiantors had optional trimmers too. Do you have a link to any info on what you have? I don't see anything on Seal's website about trimmer options.
     
  10. Marshal

    Marshal Member

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    We have a 62 Pro D, and it's part of the "productivity package" or something like that, but can be purchased by itself too. It bolts on to the support bar behind the top roller. It's nothing special really, just 2 blade holders on a slide that you can position anywhere, and the blades snap down to trim.
     
  11. AF

    AF Active Member

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    Trimmers have been around for ages, but not typically found on the entry level machines most shops seem to buy. Nothing new under the sun.
     
  12. rdm01

    rdm01 Active Member

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    We purcahsed a Kala Mistral about 3 months ago and have been in love with it since. Please note, we were coming from a 10-15 year old Seal (no take up, no feed, misaligned, couldn't track), so pretty much anything would have been an upgrade. However, for the price, the features offered, the build quality, it seems we made the right choice. It's vastly improved our lamination situation.
     
  13. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback. We are going forward and purchasing one of these.

    Was just informed that if we forego installation and training ($1,000) that the warranty from Kala reduces from 2 years to 6 months. Probably going to just bite the bullet and pay it for the warranty. But what have others done? Just seems pointless. If I can't figure out how to run this laminator with a couple youtube videos and 9 years experience running other laminators, either it's too complicated of a machine or I need to switch careers.. I guess maybe the install might be of more importance because of the "smart" functions, but also pretty sure it gets shipped fully assembled except for maybe placing on the stand and installing the tables.

    Opinions?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    Update: It appears that the warranty only reduces to 6 months for labor, and remains at 2 years for parts if you forego installation and training. So not as big of a deal IMO.

    Anybody know if there is anything magical about this machine that would requrie install and training?
     
  15. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

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    Bite the bullet and get trained properly, you will be back on here with lots of questions I am sure. Learning to use your equipment properly will save you way more money in the long run I think.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. SignDesignGrrl

    SignDesignGrrl Member

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    We've had our Kala for a couple of years now, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. With the take-up, I can laminate really long runs, if I load it just right, it won't skew at all. If it goes in a little off, then it will skew, but if you go slow sometimes it will correct itself. The heat assist is great for matte lam - no silvering. I don't use the heat when laminating cast vinyl though. Apparently you can laminate two sides at once - but I have yet to try that. We got the installation and training, a bonus because the heating element arrived broken, and since we let the installer unpack everything, it was covered. I highly recommend this machine.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    We got the Kala 1650 mistral in and setup late last week. We haven't yet done any really long runs with it so I can't give a full review yet.

    But one thing for sure, the safety features on this thing freaking suck big time. Everytime you trip the laser sensor by the rollers, it dosen't just interrupt power, you have to hit a reset button, same if you lift the table up. Gets real annoying real fast. Perhaps once we get more comfortable with the machine we won't trip it as much, but what a PITA. HAS ANYBODY BYPASSED THIS FEATURE????? Please share if you have. Also having to push a button to activate the foot pedal???? Why???

    On to the slitters, at first the slitters didn't seem to work very well. They cut but the material was kind of waving up and down right before it got to the blades, causing a kindof jagged cut. It appeared as if the blades were causing the material to ride up and down like a saw. We played with it a bit and then decided it had to be the angle of the blade because if we held a knife to it at less of an angle it cut nicely. So we unbolted the back bar that the slitters slide on, swung it up and put the screws back in the ends of the bar and let the screws ride on top of the bracket. This gave a better angle and it cut really nicely this way. Wondering if anybody experienced the same thing. Luckily we worked into our deal that when the new style slitters are finally released, a set is getting shipped to us to try out, if we like them better than what we got (original style) we just have to send our old slitter back.
     
  18. SignDesignGrrl

    SignDesignGrrl Member

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    Using the foot pedal will bypass the safety laser.
     
  19. Signed Out

    Signed Out Premium Subscriber

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    Aug 6, 2010
    Upstate NY
    Right, but you first have to push a button to be able to use the foot pedal. Only having the machine in operation for a few days, so i'm sure we'll get more used to it. But really seems to be a pain for loading and mounting to substrates. And really has anyone ever been hurt using a laminator? Just seems way to overboard.
     
  20. Snydo

    Snydo Member

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    We have a 30 plus year- old pneumatic laminator, it weighs 2,400 lbs. and I'm pretty sure its fully capable of crushing small finger bones or worse, much worse even. All safety aside though, almost any reflective vinyl will get you to third base with the safety sensors if that is the type the Kalas have.
     
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