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Buy Lamination Glossary of Terms

Laminating terms, products and practices explained.

Adhesive - This is what is melted in a hot laminating process and creates the bond between paper and plastic. The adhesive side is normally the cloudy or dull side but will become clear after it has been heated.

Brakes - Brakes on a laminator do just what you might expect. They restrict the film from rolling off the rolls freely. The purpose of brakes is to allow the operator to stretch the film evenly as it is applied to paper. Plastic film has memory. It remembers it original form. Frictional forces are applied to the film during the lamination process. The force causes the film to be stretched. The top roll may get stretched more than the bottom roll just because it takes a slightly different route through the machine. Manufactures do everything possible to minimize the stretch but some is inevitable. The solution is akin to the old saying “if you can’t beat them, join them”. By adding brakes to a machine a user can apply sufficient stretch to either the top or the bottom to create a balance between the two. When the process is complete and a laminated piece has exited the machine the plastic memory kick in and the film try’s to go back to its original form. Kind of like a rubber band after it has been stretched. Since the lamination film is now bonded to the paper it will create a curl in the paper. By applying equal amounts of stretch top and bottom the forces cancel one another out and the laminated paper lays flat.

Boat Wake - A term to describe how lamination film appears when a very thick object has been laminated. This has nothing to do with the quality of the bond between lamination and paper. It occurs when film is stretched over an object being laminated which makes the paper appear as though it is a boat passing through water.

Canoeing - This effect can result from several things. This term is used to describe a laminated paper that turns up on opposite corners. For example if the upper right and lower left corners turn up it might look like a canoe.

Carrier - Laminating pouches are placed in a carrier. The carrier looks like poster board, but is glossy on the inside. The carrier prevents excess lamination glue from getting on your rollers.

Clear Roll Film - An everyday roll film that will adhere to most ink lay downs. Clear is popular with schools and copy shops because it works great on a variety of substances. Clear gives your document a glass-like appearance. Temperature range: 210°-275°

Cold Lamination - Cold lamination film is done by using pouches with a sticky inside that applies to the product being laminated.

Core Thickness - Most laminators, 12 to 27 inches, use lamination with a one inch core. The core is the hole that runs through the lamination film. Roll laminators, 40+ inches, use anywhere from a 2 1/4-inch core up to a three inch core. Your laminator manual should show you what size core you need to use.

Dry mounting - A thermal process, which uses a heat-activated adhesive (dry mount tissue) to adhere the back of an image to foam board, mount board or another paper-surface mounting substrate. It may be done with a press or with some types of laminators. It has often been used by framers in the art and photo markets.

Heat Shoe - The heat shoe is the same as a heat roller with one difference; the shoe is stationary and the lamination film slides over the shoe as it passes through the machine.

Hot Lamination - Lamination is done with heat. Heat activates the lamination film causing it to attach to the product being laminated. Hot Roll Laminating Machines and Hot Pouch Laminating Machines are available to purchase online, as well as heat seal pouches and roll film.

Hot Roll or Heated Roller - The heated roller is a type of machine. The term refers to the part of a laminator where the heat is applied that activates the adhesive. It’s really just what you might think; a roller or set of rollers that are heated.

Idler roller - An idler is a round shaft that is set in bearings so that it can roll freely. They are used in roll laminators to guide the path of lamination film. For example; if the film needs to go out and around an object in the machine a manufacture will place an idler at the outer most tangent of the pathway. Since the idler can roll freely it will allow film to pass over it without creating any additional friction.

Laminate Film - Film typically comes in Rolls or Pouches, depending on the type of machine you have.  Laminating pouches are called by many terms including: Sleeves, Laminator Sleeves, Lamination Sleeves, Pockets, Laminating Pockets, Laminating Pockets, Laminating Paper, Paper Laminating Sealer , Plastic Pocket, Pouches and more.

Margins - Most of the time when something is laminated it is sealed on all sides. The finished product is larger than the original paper size. The clear border around the paper is called the margin.

Matte Film - Matte pouches have a slightly granular, frosted texture to reduce glare. Due to their texture, these pouches will accept pencil, pen, marker, and reduce smudging. Excellent for both indoor and outdoor applications. Matter pouches are typically more expensive than standard gloss pouches.

Mil Thickness - The thickness of lamination film is known as the mil thickness (thousandths of an inch). A pouch consists of two sheets of film that when combined make up the stated thickness.

One Sided Lamination
- OK I just through this one in to see if you are paying attention. Come on you really don’t need me to explain this? All right…that’s when you laminate only one side of the paper. I heard you. Why would someone only laminate one side? There are two main reasons. First, if thickness is a concern one side laminating is a good option. The second reason is cost savings. Laminating material costs are cut in half.

Pouch Laminators - Pouch laminator machines are the most commonly used. They are easy to use, produce good laminations, and are portable. Pouch laminators are available in various shapes and sizes with the most common sizes being 4” and 12” laminators.

Pressure Sensitive Pouch - Pressure-Sensitive Pouches have a sticky backing. After a Pressure-Sensitive Pouch has been passed through a laminator, the back can be pealed off and stuck to a surface.

Roll Laminators - Roll lamination is predominate in schools and print shops. Roll lamination is a good choice for high volume lamination and for laminating large documents or posters. Roll laminators use two large rolls of film, one over the other. The top roll adheres to the item being laminated, laminating the topside, while the bottom roll laminates the bottom side.

Side Plates -
Side plates are the two main structural components of a roll laminator. The metal sides at the end of all horizontal pieces.

Standard Clear Pouch Film - Standard Clear Film is the most common form of film used for lamination. Standard Film is imported from overseas, which is why the cost of standard clear film is usually less than the U.S.-made Select Film. The quality in the past was poorer than Select Film, but is now about the same.

Substrate - The substrate is the outer layer of lamination film. Normally that’s the clear side of lamination film. A close look will reveal that lamination film and pouches have a more shinny side. That’s the substrate

Supply Mandrel - The mandrel is the shaft that is inserted into a roll of lamination when it is loaded onto a roll laminator.