Laminating

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Capabilities | Types of Laminating | Laminating Film Types, Finishes and Textures | Laminating Digital Printing | Terminology

LAMINATING

Capabilities

For 35 years Classic Laminations has been servicing the graphic arts community in Northeast Ohio. Today we have grown to be a complete print finishing house providing a myriad of services. However, laminating is, and will always be, a core component of our business. Classic Laminations is respected as an industry leader for digital laminating. So much so that customers outside our normal marketing area are sending us their digital lamination projects. They understand the nuances of digital imaging, and the need for special, more aggressive laminates for this growing medium. And they know for the best results they can count on Classic Laminations.

Laminating is a great way to protect and extend the life of your printed piece. Classic Laminations has eight hot laminators and two cold laminators to assure we can handle your project both quickly and with the most cost effective equipment. We can handle laminating widths up to 60 inches for hot laminating and 54 inches for cold laminating. We can laminate one side, or both sides of your printed piece and stock a wide variety of film/adhesive calipers ranging from 1.2 to 15 mil.

Because not all laminating films are created equal, we are experts in matching the right film to the requirements of your particular project. You can choose from gloss, matte, satin or textured finishes; and translucent or opaque films in colors such as blue, yellow, red, black and white. We can over-laminate your wide format prints and give you the right laminate for your digital printing needs. So from small to large and everything in between, we have you covered… literally. We work closely with you to meet your deadlines with most jobs completed in 48 hours. Please note however, that premium rush service is available for your super hot projects.

We specialize in fast, affordable laminating for projects such as:

  • Menus and Table Tents
  • Placemats
  • Presentations
  • Trade Show Displays
  • Price Lists
  • Training Manuals
  • Litho Prints
  • Book Covers
  • ID Badges
  • Parking Passes
  • Posters
  • Photographs
  • Portfolios
  • Awards, Documents and More
  • Easel Back Counter Cards
  • Point of Purchase Displays
  • Magnet Cards
  • Felt Lined Laminations
  • Wedding Signs
  • Collages
  • Maps

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Types of Laminating

Hot or Thermal Laminating

The adhesive on thermal laminating films requires heat combined with pressure to adhere in the laminating process. The adhesive activates when heated to a certain temperature and bonds to the paper stock and printing inks. Hot laminating works especially well with paper substrates and some synthetic stocks such as Kimdura® and Teslin® and with offset printing inks.

Cold or Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Laminating

No heat is required, only pressure to laminate the film to your project. For this reason, it is often used to laminate heat sensitive synthetic stocks such as Styrene and Vinyl. Another advantage is the cold laminating films have better resistance to UV light and will therefore better protect your printed piece from fading. Cold laminating adhesives also have better adhesion to most substrates.

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Laminating Film Polymer Types, Finishes and Textures

Laminating Film Polymer Types

There are several different plastic polymer film types available and each one has its benefits. Several we carry are listed below:

Polyester or PET

This is the most popular overlaminating film. Known for being extremely durable, UV and weather resistant and difficult to scuff or scratch, polyester also resists heat and most solvents and oils and has good gloss and clarity. Common uses include menus, dust jackets and case-bound covers that need extra protection.

Nylon

Often called “lay flat” or “curl free” film, nylon is able to breathe with the paper it is laminated to, resulting in flat sheets, even when humidity changes, particularly when laminating one side only. Nylon has excellent scuff and scratch resistance and is slightly more expensive than polyester.

Glueable/Stampable Films

These films are specially designed to accept gluing and foil stamping and make great pocket folders and folding cartons. Slightly more expensive than polyester.

UV Inhibiting Films

“Cold” or Pressure Sensitive Adhesive films will protect your printed piece from ink fade due to UV exposure for approximately four times longer than Thermal films.

Nylon

This is the most popular overlaminating film. Known for being extremely durable, UV and weather resistant and difficult to scuff or scratch, polyester also resists heat and most solvents and oils and has good gloss and clarity. Common uses include menus, dust jackets and case-bound covers that need extra protection.

Polypropylene or OPP

More economical than polyester, polypropylene has excellent clarity. Standard polypropylene is very glossy, giving a “wet look” appearance to your finished product, unless a matte version is used. Because polypropylene is softer than polyester, it is less scratch resistant, but it folds better. Polypropylene also has good moisture, acid and alkali resistance. Uses include write on/wipe off applications.

Polycarbonate

This is an extremely durable film that is very scratch resistant and non-glare. Polycarbonate is primarily used for trade show displays, mouse pads and floor graphics.

Eco-Friendly

Today businesses, governments and consumers are demanding more renewable and biodegradable printed materials. We can supply you with films derived from non-petroleum, renewable sources such as corn. We also have biodegradable film/adhesive combinations and others that use biodegradable film with a water based rather than solvent adhesive.

Low Melt Digital Films

These adhesives are designed to melt at lower temperatures and therefore cause less ink fading or discoloration of some ink jet inks.

Nylon

These adhesives are designed to melt at lower temperatures and therefore cause less ink fading or discoloration of some ink jet inks.

Nylon

This is the most popular overlaminating film. Known for being extremely durable, UV and weather resistant and difficult to scuff or scratch, polyester also resists heat and most solvents and oils and has good gloss and clarity. Common uses include menus, dust jackets and case-bound covers that need extra protection.

Laminating Film Finishes and Textures:

Matte/Satin

Films with a “dull” or non-glossy appearance. These films have low light reflectivity and therefore reduce glare, making it easier to read text. Perfect for trade shows and other displays with lots of text. Matte is more expensive than gloss.

Textured

There are a variety of embossed finishes available in laminating films such as linen, pinseal and leatherette. These finishes add a tactile sensation to your printed piece that will help to draw in and hold your customer’s attention.

Gloss

The most popular finish by far. Used to accentuate your printed piece and will make colors appear more vibrant. The downside is there is more glare, so it can make it more difficult to read text.

Tradeshow Non-Glare

When you need your message protected and easy to read, this laminating film is a great option.

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Laminating Digital Printing

Extra care must be taken when laminating digital printing. There a numerous variables to consider such as the type of paper, toners, copier/printer and fuser oil. Generally, a low melt super bond adhesive is used to achieve proper adhesion. We pride ourselves on individually testing each job to make sure we have the proper laminate adhesion. Our success in laminating digital printing has resulted in customers coming to us from outside the Northeast Ohio area.

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Terminology

Bond Strength

Refers to one of three situations: a) strength of bond between the adhesive and the laminating film itself, also called adhesive anchorage; b) the strength of bond between the laminating film and the printed piece it is laminated to; or c) in two side laminating, the strength of the adhesive-to-adhesive bond when the adhesives of the top and bottom layers of laminating film are laminated together.

Caliper

(1) The thickness of a substrate material usually expressed in mils or points, both of which are terms expressing thousandths of an inch. 0.050 inch is expressed as 50 point or 50 pt for paper stocks; or 50 mil when plastic films are designated by thickness; (2) An instrument used to measure the thickness of a substrate.

Copolymer

A laminating adhesive that combines two chemical monomers resulting in specialized adhesion.

Delamination

Refers to either of two situations: a) the laminating film and adhesive separate from the printed piece, or b) the laminating base film separates from the adhesive, the result of poor bond formation during manufacture of the laminating film.

Edge Seal

On two side laminates, this refers to the laminating film extending beyond the edge of the printed piece so that the top and bottom films are bonded together, totally encapsulating and protecting your printed piece from moisture and dirt. Also referred to as encapsulation.

Emboss

The process of impressing an image onto the surface to achieve a raised pattern on the printed piece.

Film Gauge

Total thickness or caliper of a particular film construction including its individual layers. Measured with a micrometer specially designed for films.

Flush Cut

The laminating film does not extend beyond and is flush with the edges of the printed piece.

Footballs

Microscopic bubbles under the film caused by entrapped air between the substrate and adhesive. The laminated film appears streaky and cloudy.

Heat Shoe Laminator

A type of laminating machine that simultaneously applies film to both sides of the printed piece. The laminating film is activated by passing over stationary heaters, called shoes. Economy grade polyester films are commonly used on heat shoe laminators.

Lamination

A plastic film bonded by heat and/or pressure to a substrate for protection and appearance.

Micrometer

Instrument used to measure the thickness of papers and films.

mil

Unit of length incremented at 0.001 inch. Also known as a “thou” (thousands of an inch) or point (pt). 10 mil is equal to 10 pt and 0.010 inch.

MSI

Abbreviation for thousands (M) of square inches (SI).

Nipping

Squeezing together of laminating film and product to be laminated or another piece of laminating film.

Olefin or Polyolefin

Term referring to a specific class of synthetic polymers including polyethylene and polypropylene. They have very low surface energy, very good chemical resistance, are chemically inert and lose strength at high temperatures.

Pica

A printing industry unit of measurement used in typography. There are 12 points to a pica, one pica is approximately 1/6 inch.

Pt or PT

Abbreviation for Point, when used for describing paper-stock thickness or caliper, a synonym of mil and thou (one thousandth of an inch). Paper that is 10 pt equates to 10 mil laminating film. In typography, the definition of point has changed over time. A point (commonly abbreviated pt or PT) is the smallest unit of measure, being a subdivision of the larger pica. The traditional printer’s point, from the era of hot metal typesetting and presswork, varied between 0.18 and 0.4 mm depending on various definitions of the foot. Today, the traditional point has been replaced by the desktop publishing point (also called the PostScript point), which has been rounded to an even 72 points to the inch (1 point equals 0.3527 mm or 1/ 72 inch). In either system, there are 12 points to the pica. Point size is measured from the top of the ascender to the bottom of the descender.

Silvering

A term describing air pockets trapped between the printed piece and the adhesive on the laminating film.

Squeeze-Out

Refers to heat-activated adhesive that has been forced out at the edges of the laminate. This effect can be minimized by using the lowest practical laminating temperature.

Streaks

A term used to describe white lines in the film caused by entrapped air between the film substrate and adhesive layer of the laminating film.

Substrate

A material to which an adhesive is coated, for example polyester, paper, polypropylene, nylon, polycarbonate.

Tenting

A term used to describe the laminated appearance of the space surrounding the photograph that is mounted on another object. Two factors control the size and appearance of tenting: a) the thicker the photograph, the larger the tent; and b) the thicker the adhesive layer, the less tenting will occur.

Type gauge

A printer’s measurement tool calibrated in picas and points.

Varnish

A thin coating applied to a printed piece to enhance appearance (such as gloss) and to provide minimal protection.
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