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Request advice on Laminators

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Hardware' started by ChiknNutz, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    Doing some research on laminators. Need one that will be good for BOTH paper and vinyl (digital prints). Current paper needs would be around 36" wide but also want to be able to use for 48" digital prints. So as far as I can tell, would need a hot/cold type, but don't really know anything beyond that as far as features and such. Any advice on things to look for would be much appreciated. Not sure of the budget on this one as yet, but looking for quality, but not super hi-end either.
     
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  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Adding in the hot feature takes you from $6K-7K range up to $10K-12K range.

    I would look at GBC, Ledco and Seal in that order.

    Important features are:

    • 3" core acceptance

    • Release liner take-up reel

    • Top and bottom rollers heated. The alternative is a "shoe" which requires two passes with a flip-over because only the top applies heat. In addition, shoe type heated units require pouches while two roller systems can use either pouches or a top and bottom roll of film.

    Frankly, I have heat and hardly ever use it. Most blueprint service companies also offer laminating and you can buy a lot of paper hot laminating for what the extra feature and inventory of films, plus your time is going to add up to.

    I'd opt to save by going cold only and put some of the savings into a good quality trimmer.
     
  3. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    The reason I am looking at the hot feature IS for doing blueprints. Here's the deal...I have a local client that also wants to do a soft partnership with me. They are a new copy center only right now and are starting to wholesale signage thru me. They are wanting to get a wide format laminator for paper prints, but are also willing to get one that will do digital prints. So, the need is really for them, but I will be using the cold feture of it. Or, would it make sense for them to get a smaller hot unit (good for 36" prints) and me get a cold-only unit good for 48" prints?
     
  4. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    What we have here Luke (Cool Hand, that is) is an exercise in cost justification. If you have a firm deal with them, then go for it.

    I wouldn't make the price a high priority consideration. I would get the most reliable machine from the company with the best reputation for solid support. That company is GBC. They will bring it in, set it up, train you and be there supporting you to earn your continuing supply business.

    If this saves you from ruining your work or the work from your blueprinter, then it's money well spent.

    GBC sells direct and through dealers. My guess is they probably have offices in Seattle. Contact them here: GBC Connect
     
  5. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    What about for vinyl banners? I don't suppose you film laminate them (or do you), but I'd guess you need some sort of protection, huh?
     
  6. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    A banner is a banner is a banner. There is no need for safe sex. :Big Laugh

    I've never heard of laminating them but I guess somebody may have different input on that. It would seem to me that the cloth would be wearing out around the same time as today's ecosolvent and solvent inks.
     
  7. Barry

    Barry Active Member

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    Ive seen laminated banners and they look pretty bad... WHen they get rolled up the laminate seperates from the banner and just looks really bad.
     
  8. Scott Reynolds

    Scott Reynolds Active Member

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    if you need to protect a banner, spray with Clear Jet. Like Fred said, a banner is a banner.
     
  9. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    Okay, how do I know if I truly NEED the hot capability? From talking to various vendors and such, I am more confused now than before. What materials require hot lamination? Sounds like vinyl is done cold and paper can also be done cold, but I don't know the particulars. Any advice?

    Also, anyone doing liquid lamination? One vendor is pushing liquid lamination over film lamination for vehicle graphics and such, saying that you won't get good conformability with a film laminate. AAAAAHHHH!?!? Dazed and confused!
     
  10. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Use cold pressure sensitives for overlaminating (1 sided lamination) pressure sensitive films.

    Use hot laminates for encapsulating (2 sided lamination) paper and cellulose based items.

    Use liquid laminates if you like products that don't work and add to your grief. Not sure how a liquid will get along with blueprints.

    Use the more expensive film laminates to have good conformability and a lack of premature failures of the overlamination. I use 1 mil Tedlar for most items which costs over $1 a foot in 14" width but you can't even tell it's there and it lasts for years and years. Some laminates sell down around 25¢ a square foot. These aren't, obviously the same quality and probably inhibit conformability as well.
     
  11. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    So, I CANNOT do encapsulation with a cold-only machine? I HAVE to have hot or hot/cold for this? What about for mounting...either?
     
  12. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Not sure on mounting beyond my Ledco. It uses a pouch type of deal already attached to a board. You just slip in the print and run it through hot on the top side only. It's oversized, so the finish trim is done after mounting.
     
  13. Scott Reynolds

    Scott Reynolds Active Member

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    You can encapsulate with the GBC Chris.
     
  14. JR Digital

    JR Digital Member

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    heres the breakdown .. sounds like you want a machine that can do it all, which is possible, but it really comes up to your budget. anything under 40" shouldn't be more than 5,000 .. 61" and up you're looking at anywhere from 7,000 up.

    now it sounds like you'll be doing alot of encapsulation if the copycenter is outsourcing to you. which means you'll definitly want something with a heated roller and 2 supply shafts at least. most likely you wont be doing much hot laming thats more than 5mil/5mil so all you need is a single heated roller.

    I think your best bet is a seal ultra 44. which is in the 5-6,000 range. its a great starter laminator capable of hot, cold, encapsulation. It's not a very high production machine. but is sufficient for what you are looking for.

    Basically laminat film varies between application, and price. are cheaper...
    there are so many combinations with overlams, backers, mounting adhesive. it gets pretty complicated.

    here's the breakdown.


    thermal/lowtemp

    Heated roller Needed!
    best for Paper based media for encapsulation

    .5-.8 cents per sq ft.


    pressure sensitive/cold
    Best for Vinyls / mounting to boards
    encapsulation is possible, but expensive.

    pvc films .20 cents + per sq ft.

    cast or vinyl overlams go up to the dolar range per sq. ft.


    basically a cold laminoator can do everything. but at a cost wether it be $$$ or durability. Heat just makes it cheaper.


    I started out with a Seal ultra 62. wichi i paid 8k for. added with hours and hours of patience and practice. I was able to run roll to roll with it with very few problems.

    I recently aquired a AGL 64i which came out to 28k due to my production needs. Finishing is definitly a profitable source of income. this puppy has all the bells and whistles.

    I still have my seal ultra 62 which i use to mounting signs or doing small jobs. I do tons of facemount/acrylic signs for a sports club that has 120 locations nationally, and the 62ultra is perfect for that. although i might note that it takes alot of practice and patience.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2005
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