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Lamination helps to preserve and protect documents, photos, artwork and more from fingerprints, smudges, tears and spills. It also enhances colour and contrast, giving materials a quality, professional-looking finish.
With the multitude of laminating machines available, it can be confusing finding the best one for your home or office. This guide will help you make the right decision.
There are two types of machines for lamination: pouch laminators and roll laminators.
Pouch laminating machines use pouches which open up like a folder. They use the heat to melt the glue and then fuse the pouch together to seal the document. Laminating pouches are affordable and available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses.
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Roll laminators are ideal for those who laminate in large quantities and are the most economical for printers and copy shops. They are typically used for larger items such as posters and signs. These machines use two rolls of laminating film which have adhesive on one side. As the machine heats up, the adhesive melts and the two rolls come together to seal the item.
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Laminators are mostly available in A4 and A3 sizes which suit most users. If you want to laminate small or medium-sized documents such as recipe cards, ID tags or up to A4 size documents, then a smaller entry width, such as an A4 laminating machine, is all that is required.
For larger documents or items up to A3 size, a wide format laminator such as A3 laminating machines is ideal. Much larger documents will require a laminator machine with a larger entry width such as A2 laminators. Some businesses or schools may choose to use A2 laminators but this is less common.
These machines laminate A4, A5, A6 and smaller items.
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These machines laminate A3, A4, A5, A6 and smaller items.
View A3 laminators
These machines laminate large items and accommodate items sized A2 and below.
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A laminator designed for heavy use would be best for a busy office, while more affordable machines may be the best choice for home or occasional use. To narrow your selection, identify how often you’ll be laminating.
Ideal for home or small office use a few times a month.
View laminators for occasional use
Ideal for school or office use a few times a week.
View laminators for moderate use
Ideal for daily use by schools or medium or large offices.
View laminators for frequent use
If you’ve decided on a pouch laminator, you need laminating pouches, which are available in different sizes, thicknesses and finishes. Choosing the right laminating pouches depends on several factors, including the size of the items to be laminated, required durability and whether extra protection, such as UV protection, is necessary. Here are some basic tips to help you make your selection.
Laminating pouches are available in a wide variety of sizes and formats, from as small as 54 x 86mm up to A2. The most popular sizes are A4 and A3 laminating pouches.
The more frequently documents are handled, the thicker the laminating sheets required, to ensure adequate protection.
Laminating pouch thickness is measured in microns (1 micron = 1000th of a millimetre). The thicker the laminating pouch, the more rigid the result. Laminating pouches are available in 80, 100, 125, 175 and 250 Microns.
Before buying, make sure your laminating machine can handle the desired laminating pouch thickness.
The most common laminating pouch finish is gloss, an extremely versatile finish that is suitable for most lamination applications. Pouches are also available in a matte finish which is better suited for applications such as menus, as it’s less reflective and therefore makes items easier to read.
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Look for these extra features to help you get the best performance out of your laminating machine.
The Jam Free feature ensures consistent and hassle-free lamination, while the Jam Release feature helps you to quickly and easily remove a jammed pouch.
If you laminate regularly, look for a machine that warms up in a short period of time.
A feature such as Auto Sense or Hot Swap detects pouch thickness and instantly self-adjusts to the optimal laminating setting, switching to different pouch thicknesses for improved productivity.
Safety features such as HeatGuard™ reduces the surface temperature of the laminator, so it’s always safe to touch.
Energy saving features, such as Sleep Mode or Auto Shut Off, reduce energy consumption and increase safety.
The higher the number of rollers, the better the quality of lamination. Jams are also less likely to occur.