Description | Film
Classifications | Types of Film | Methods
of Lamination | General Tips
Laminating is the process of applying a film to either one
side or both sides of a printed document. The use of lamination serves several
- Lamination adds luster or gloss to a printed product.
- It provides stability to the sheet, allowing it to be more durable
or stand upright.
- It provides protection to sheets that are handled frequently or
may encounter moisture.
- Many laminated documents are waterproof, tear proof, and tamper
Lamination can be a useful and often necessary addition to
various products including posters, maps, membership cards, calendars, food
labels, menus, signs, price tags, ID cards, point-of-sale materials, business
cards, charts, photographs, placemats, badges, covers, certificates, and many
There are two major categories in
nearly all types of laminating are classified: pouch and roll.
Pouch lamination films are like envelopes and are
sealed on one edge. They come in many sizes to accommodate standard
items such as letterheads or business cards or they can be made into
any custom size.
Roll lamination films can consist of a layer of film
that is applied to the front side of a document or it can be two layers
of film in which the document is sandwiched between the layers and
sealed by the use of various processes.
Types of Film
Many of the films used for laminating are available in various
thicknesses and finishes ranging from clear gloss to delustered. The three main
film materials used for lamination processes are:
- Polyester - Polyester is the most widely used film and can be used for almost
any type of application, but it is most often used for book covers, dust jackets,
folders, and video slipcovers. Polyester film is heat resistant, foldable,
scuff and scratch resistant, flexible, and tough. Polyester film will not
become brittle with age because it contains no plasticizers.
- Polypropyline - Polypropyline is the clearest and brightest type of film
and it is used for such applications as posters, labels, marketing, materials,
and write on/wipe off calendars. It offers chemical resistance and good optical
- Nylon - Nylon film is another good choice for applications such as book jackets
because of scratch resistance and excellent non-curling properties. Nylon laminate
is a very stable material. When it is exposed to heat, it will not stretch,
and when it is cooled, it will not shrink.
Methods of Lamination
The laminate usually consists of 2 plies with each ply made up of an overlaminate
film and an adhesive, which is dry and not tacky to the touch. A heat source
and pressure are required during the lamination process. The document is placed
between the two plies of the laminate film and then sent through equipment
where the dry adhesive is made tacky by heat and is pressed onto the document
under high pressure. After cooling, the adhesive solidifies and provides a
permanent bond between the document and laminate film.
Cold lamination is a process in which only one side of a document is laminated.
This laminating process is required when the ink and/or paper used for a document
is too sensitive to the heat required with thermal lamination. The film used
for cold lamination is much more costly than for thermal lamination, but the
equipment is less expensive. One method of cold lamination utilizes a process
where no dry adhesive is used as in thermal lamination. The surface of a document
is flooded with a water-soluble adhesive. It is then sent through a set of
rollers with the laminating film rolled onto the top of the document and the
adhesive. Pressure is applied which evenly distributes the adhesive and bonds
the film to the document. The adhesive takes a bit longer to cure than thermal
lamination and lighter stocks can wrinkle or warp because of the water based
adhesive. Cold lamination may not be as permanent as thermal lamination.
- Allow several days for laminated sheets to cure, since the adhesive takes
time to fully adhere to the stock.
- Use caution when applying a lamination film to varnished sheets. Use a varnish
that dries quickly, contains minimal residual solvent, and contains no wax
- Do not laminate printed materials containing metallic inks since air bubbling
adhesion problems may occur.
- Use caution when a significant amount of anti-setoff powder has been sprayed
on the sheet during printing because it causes adhesion problems.
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