Roll Laminator Guide
Learn how to choose the best roll laminator!
Roll laminators, also known as wide format laminators, make it possible to protect and preserve posters, maps, signs and much more. Roll laminators are versatile, easy to use and are highly productive. You will find roll laminators in print shops, schools, churches and more. Roll laminators vary in size, ranging anywhere from 12-inches to 60-plus inches. These wide format laminators are available in cold and hot formats and can also be used to mount images onto foam core board.
Shopping for a roll laminator can seem intimidating up front, but upon learning more about roll laminators you should be better able to determine the best machine for your needs. This guide will cover the most common questions and points regarding roll laminators. We hope this helps answer some of your questions. If you are still confused after reading this, please call 1-800-543-5454 to speak with one of our trained lamination professionals.
How wide a laminator should I use?
This all depends on what you’re laminating. However, I do recommend at least adding 1-2 inches to the maximum width you’ll be laminating. This means if you are laminating a 25-inch wide poster, I would recommend at least a 27-inch laminator. This gives you a little room and can help cut down on jams. If you will be laminating standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper, you can use a 27-inch laminator to laminate three at a time. Just be sure you get a laminator that will accommodate the largest item you will be laminating.
What core size should I use?
You have to use the correct core size lamination film for your laminator. The most common core sizes are 1-inch, 2 ¼-inches and 3-inches. The core of the roll film slides onto the laminator’s mandrel, which has to be the same diameter. Most 25 and 27-inch laminators use a 1-inch core.
The larger wide format laminators (40-inches plus) will use a 2 ¼ or 3-inch core. The larger diameter cores are more stable for wider film. Some wide format laminators have core adapters that allow 3-inch film to work on a 2 ¼-inch core laminator.
What are the different mil thicknesses available for my roll laminator?
Laminators vary as to the thickness of the film they can use. A mil is one-thousandth of an inch, so the higher the mil the thicker the film. Most roll laminators can handle 1.5, 3 and 5 mil film. If you need thicker film, such as 7 or 10 mil laminate, be sure your laminator can handle it. Most laminators have a dial or switch to adjust the laminator’s temperature for the different mil thicknesses.
Does lamination film provide UV protection?
Standard lamination film will not filter out UV rays. This means that color printed on posters and paper will eventually fade. There is, however, special UV lamination film that will filter out UV rays and protect color prints. You can find our UV roll film here.
Can I use cold lamination film with my hot laminator?
This depends on the laminator. Some hot laminators are capable of using pressure sensitive cold film, but exclusively cold roll laminators cannot use hot lamination film. You will want to check the specifications of the roll laminator prior to making a purchase if you need to use both hot and cold film.
Do roll laminators include cutters?
Some higher-end roll laminators will include slitters that will cut off film once an item has been laminated. Entry level to mid-volume roll laminators usually do not feature a cutter. It is, however, very easy to separate laminated documents by using scissors or a Zippy Cutter.
How thick a document can I laminate or mount?
This depends entirely on the laminator being used. Laminators capable of mounting pictures on foam core board usually range in thickness from ¼-inch to ½-inch, depending on the machine. The maximum thickness can usually be found in the “specifications” section of the laminator’s product page.
Do roll laminators have any special electrical requirements?
Most 25 and 27-inch roll laminators operate on 110-120 volts. Some are available in an optional 220 volt system. The wider-format roll laminators, usually 40 plus inches, operate in a 220-240 volt single-phase range. Some wide format laminators are available in an optional 110-120 volt range, but this is uncommon.
Is it difficult to change the laminator rolls?
Changing the lamination film in a roll laminator isn’t too difficult. It usually involves placing a new roll on the laminator’s mandrels and feeding the film through the rollers and around the heat shoes. Although a little tricky at first, it shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to change out the rolls. Be sure you place the film on the rollers correctly so the glue side is facing in the right direction. Customers have been known to load the film backwards, causing the hot glue to gum up the machine.
What if my film ends up cloudy, wavy or with bubbles?
Cloudy lamination film is usually an indication of the laminator running too cold. The cloudy effect is caused by un-melted glue on the film. If the film is wavy or has bubbles, the laminator is probably running too hot. When the film becomes too hot, it becomes unstable causing waves. Bubbles in the film are usually caused by the hot glue boiling from excessive heat.
Where can I get my roll laminator serviced?We have a service department capable of servicing all the laminators we sell. We can also ship parts for your laminator directly to you. If you are unable to ship in your laminator, or bring it to our building, we can usually find a service department in your local area. Call 1-800-543-5454 to speak with our service department.