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Need Help Need help selecting laminator used only for applying transfer tape

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by victor bogdanov, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    A little background:

    In business 10 years making wall decals (sayings, trees, animals etc)

    Business is going good and I'm expanding but we have a major bottleneck in production --- applying transfer tape.

    I currently have 2-3 station set up with WEBERmade Tape Tool and while it is good and fast it is physically exhausting and impossible to find anyone willing to do that type of work outside myself and invested parities in the business. I can mask (and trim) 150yd this way in 5-6hrs and have another person that can do the same. (Most of the sections are 4ft to 10ft long) It is hard work and training others to do it fast has failed, they are either way too slow or give up after a week.


    So I did some research and bought a CWT flatbed roller table, it is a dream for applying vinyl to banners, applying graphics to substrate etc but it is a little slower at applying transfer tape than we can do manually, mostly due to having to square up and "set up" the tape around the roller every section (they really need to add a brake to the roller assembly, this would make it slightly easier)

    I've seen a method used by businesses doing what I do where they have a laminator sandwiched between two long tables, I tried this method very early on when I was starting the business with a very bad chinese laminator and it was horrible. But I think this might just be the way to go with quality equipment.

    Can anyone recommend a good laminator, all vinyl and transfer tape I use is 30" wide, the laminator will be used only for transfer tape and Ideally this set up would be able to do 300+ yards per day of various length decals up to 10ft long.

    Any recommendations/tips/trick are welcome, I know nothing about laminators
     
  2. imprezwrapz

    imprezwrapz New Member

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    US Tech could work. I got mine from EBay and its pretty good for the Price. i thought about using that for transfer tape since i'm limited on my cutting table.
     
  3. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    I should also probably add - budget is not an issue, I need something that will be reliable and can handle ideally 300+ yards per day for years, 5-10k range
     
  4. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Are your decals in pieces or can you weed and keep it all on a rolled up roll? If you can keep it rolled a roll laminator with a take up reel is the way to go. If you can't... Feeding sheets is a pain in the ***. The corners are never flat, so you have to somehow press.both down before it gets into the laminator otherwise it's going to bunch... Especially a 10 ft section.


    We just did about 50 rolls of cut vinyl where we kept it on the roll as we weeded, it took about 15 mins to apply application tape to the whole 50 yard rolls. We use a royal soveirgn for our roll to roll laminator.... But any of the main brands will work. Royal soveirgn, seal, Kala.

    But again... If you're feeding it 10 ft sheets... It's possible, but IMO takes longer Than our flatbed applicator. You still have to square up the media and the corners always lift.


    Draw a straight line across your applicators table.... That'll make squaring it up easy and quick. We did a roll in an hour on our flatbed... Not as good as our roll to roll laminator, but still pretty quick.
     
  5. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    I could keep everything rolled up, need to figure out how I would do it though with a graphtec fc9000 and then how to weed and roll up again? The decals are mostly Oracal 631 with perfect tear (nekoosa) 775, not printed on a roll to roll.

    I saw another shop post a time lapse video and they are doing sheets without problem it seems through a laminator. I'm including an image of what their setup is, although can't see the details as video is time lapse. Anyone have experience with a set up like this?

    As far as squaring up sheets , what about doing a raised lip running length wise on the table feeding the laminator?
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    I don't know why in the world anyone would cut up a full roll and do it in individual sheets. If you did, it should be faster and easier to have a tape holder on the table and use a big squeegee as opposed to screwing with a laminator for 10 feet.
    I'd be looking at how you're trimming because masking that, even individually, shouldn't take all that long, maybe an hour or less? You're saying 4-5 hours.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    Putting individual sheets on the laminator shouldn’t be all that difficult, just get an old roll of backing paper, run that through the laminator then tape the individual jobs to the backing paper.

    Shouldn’t have any issues with bunching up etc as long as you tape the whole edge down
     
  8. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    Well when you offer 60+ colors, have 250+ designs with each requiring 4-5 colors of vinyl, doing full rolls is not an option. We do 300+ yards of vinyl this way per day. Cut, weed, apply transfer tape, trim, roll up and ship.

    We do it manually now with some application being done on the flatbed, but the flatbed is slower than manually.

    After 10 years of doing this I can maybe do 50yds in an hour, transfer tape and trim but it is physically exhausting and I need to free my self up to do other stuff. Finding other people to go at that pace is impossible, went through 5 people last few months

    I see competitors doing sheets using a laminator and it looks like it work pretty good for them with long tables on each side of laminator.
     
  9. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    Ok that makes sense
     
  10. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    I'm open to doing full rolls, I do have high volume designs that I can do full rolls on.

    What would be the best way to roll the vinyl up after cutting on graptec fc9000? are there any roll to roll set up that attach to tables for weeding?
     
  11. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    Does any one have experience with the 3M Hand Squeeze Roll Applicator (HSRA-48), this seems like a hybrid manual/automated way

    This seems like it might have the speed with manual but even faster since the roller pressed the tape down instead of a manual squeegee

    https://www.highwayhandyman.com/product/hsra48/

     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    Waste of time. Setup a holder for the tape. Line your vinyl up with the edge of the table, stretch the tape out over it, stick a couple inches on the table to hold it and use a big squeegee. You could have a sheet done in the time it takes this guy to fiddle **** around lining up the vinyl.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    Yes that is how we do it now, problem is, the manual method is hard physically and I need to free my self up for other stuff. Finding labor to do it fast enough has been challenging so I have to find a way to get this more automated. going through 3-4 rolls of transfer tape manually per day will make you hate your life
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    I personally don't find any of it physically demanding but to each their own. There are way worse jobs than that, we got guys that sandblast 8 hours a day, masking would be a cake walk for them. I think roll to roll is the way to go or you need to reevaluate your employees and task assignments. If someone is too slow doing this by hand chances are they will be worse using the laminator sheet by sheet. It also won't make the job any less redundant or more attractive.
    Think of it this way. If you were a landscaper you'd have no problem finding a guy to dig holes and plant plants all day long. When you tell this guy to dig a 1/2 acre lake with a shovel and wheelbarrow he's gonna quit. It's not the digging, it's the mind numbing repetition that never ends.
     
  15. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    I'm liking the idea of trying roll to roll for the bulk stuff we do and then continue looking for a person to do the transfer tape manually on the small stuff.

    To use you hole digging example, there is far less to mess up on when digging a hole compared to handling a 10 ft section of vinyl that costs $8 with another $10 of weeding labor in and $4 of transfer tape going on it. One slight mistake and thats $22 down the drain. I'll definitely keep looking for someone that will be able to handle the job
     
  16. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    The issue I'm having I guess is scaling with non-family workers. I currently have 5-6 family members working, we're all good but outside help is shockingly below my expectations. I decided to take the next step and expand a bit, we've been close to 7 figures in revenue for the last 6-7 years but there is so much more potential if I free my self up to grow the business instead of applying transfer tape
     
  17. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    You're missing the point. The guy digging a hole has plenty to mess up. Depth, spacing, knowing the plants, what to do when you get obstacles. They get to think a little and at the end of the day can look at the work they accomplished. Digging a lake is akin to putting on transfer tape. Once you get a rhythm, you just do it over and over. No mind engagement, no finished product to look at, nothing. Expecting someone to sit there all day putting on tape requires no thought and there is zero reward. Whether it's with a machine or by hand doesn't matter. I only posted because I believe that this is your main employee problem and not the process itself.
     
  18. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    Finding the right people would solve the problem for sure but I still need to explore other methods. I'm glad I got a flat bed applicator, while it wasn't a total problem solver it is good to have (I had an unexpected rush order for 10 non printed banners and wow was it easy applying the vinyl to the banner with the flatbed)

    A laminator, even if not a total solution should be good to have as I see my competitors doing it with a laminator, full rolls seems like it should work, but I'm afraid I might run into wrinkling issues on certain designs like I do with the flat bed. a 30" width sheet with 3-4 trees on it with no vinyl between the trees tends to get wrinkled with rollers for some reason. I think most people here are used to laminating stuff that has not been cut or weeded yet and the material can behave differently once some of the vinyl is removed
     
  19. KatePhillips

    KatePhillips Member

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    We've applied with a Royal Sovereign... however I wouldn't trust it with that volume, especially all weeded out. I can't imagine that much going through it without a problem wrinkling or bunching the backer paper around the corners...Our RS already gives us occasional suspicious problems, and a bigger roller Seal laminator is, in my opinion, possibly worth the extra cash. You wouldn't need a heated roller, but we tried one and it was rather pleasant. But we didn't try it for that much masking, just for laminating. :( hmmm...

    Currently, our laminator is sitting by a large table, and we use the laminator's arm as a tape holder when we manually apply mask (no need to build any tape holder). As mentioned above, just line up, stick down, and plow through. This seems like what you're currently doing, and I kinda get why you're having a hard time finding someone to do it. I personally would not want to mask all day, every day. Blergh. Not hard, just booooooooooooring
     
  20. victor bogdanov

    victor bogdanov Member

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    yea i'm having doubts that I would be able to run a whole role off weeded vinyl without issues, the flatbed gives problems on certain weeded patterns but on some stuff it is great although slower than doing it by hand
     
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