Archive for the 'Laminators' Category
Posted by: James on April 12th, 2013
Restaurant menus come in all shapes and sizes. Some businesses go with something simple like a “to go” menu, where others go all out. Some simply laminate a sheet of paper and put the menu on both sides. At Office Zone we offer a wide assortment of tools (found here) that can help you crate your own in-house menu that will look professional and give you control over how it looks. Here are a few products that we offer that you may want to consider using.
One of the most common tools you will find in the restaurant trade for creating a menu is a laminator. Why is this? Because laminators provide a protective barrier that is scratch, wrinkle and moisture proof. This is ideal, especially since a menu can be re-used over and over throughout the day. You don’t want to be creating a new menu on a daily basis…right? Here are some tools our customers like to use for laminating their menus:
Pouch Laminators – The pouch laminator is the perfect tool for laminating a menu. Most of our customers use either letter-size laminating pouches or menu-size laminating pouches (found here). If you are using the larger 12″ x 18″ menu-size pouches, I recommend you use a laminator that is at least 13″ wide. This provides ample room for laminating and also gives you room in case the pouch isn’t fed in perfectly straight.
Here are two menu laminators I recommend using:
- Intelli-Lam IL400 (found here) – This laminator is both affordable and durable. It features a 13″ wide laminating width and four rollers for added quality.
- Akiles iLam 340 (found here) – Akiles makes great products and the iLam 340 is a great example. This laminator has a 13″ laminating width and comes equipped with everything you need to laminate menus.
PAPER FOLDING MACHINES
Many people like to give menus to customers to take home. This makes sense. I personally have menus at home for various restaurants around the community. Sometimes it is easier to simply break out a menu at home and place an order than try to look it up online. Paper folding machines can be used with letter-size or 11″ x 17″ to 12″ x 18″ paper, depending on the machine. Paper folding machines can also create some really cool and unique folds.
Over the years, I have found that restaurants like to use three primary types of folds with their menus. These are the half fold, the letter fold and the gate fold. Here are some images representing the three folds:
So which machine should you use? It really all depends on the size of paper, thickness of paper and volume of paper you are using. I would like to recommend two machines for folding menus:
- Intelli-Fold DE-112AF Paper Folder (found here) – This machine is excellent for folding standard letter-size paper. It is affordable, yet versatile enough to create most of the folds that you will need. It can even be used to create a gate fold, which looks great with a menu.
- Intelli-Fold DE-172AF Paper Folder (found here) – If you are folding larger sheets of paper, you may want to use a machine like this. The DE-172AF can be used with paper up to 11″ x 17″ in size. It can also be set up to create a letter, half or gate fold.
The last item you may want to consider using for your in-house menu creation is a paper cutter. These can be used to trim down your menus, cut off excess lamination film and much more. There are three main types of paper cutters you may want to consider using when making menus.
- Rotary Paper Cutters (found here) – These cutters use a round cutting wheel that is ideal for precision cutting. These cutters are generally used for trimming a few sheets of paper at a time and are excellent for trimming off excess lamination, photos, paper and more.
- Guillotine Paper Cutters (found here) – These are very similar to the arm cutters you may have seen in school as a kid. They feature a long pivoting blade attached to a base. These cutters, especially those by Kutrimmer, are excellent for cutting several sheets of paper at once. Unlike cutters of the past, these ones produce remarkably straight cuts.
- Stack Paper Cutters (found here) – These are the cutters you need if you are trimming down hundreds of menus at the same time. They are especially good if you are cutting a large stack of letter-size or menu-size documents in half or simply trimming around the edges.
Hopefully this helps you in your search to find machines for creating in-house menus. We have years of experience doing this, so please feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454 with any question.
Posted by: James on March 13th, 2013
If you have a roll laminator and are going to be laminating posters, you may be wondering what type of film is best for your project. At Office Zone, we offer a huge selection of roll lamination film (found here) and would like to provide you with a few tips on laminating posters. I will cover a few questions you may want to ask yourself and will highlight a few points that should help you make the best selection possible.
When I refer to posters, I am talking about your traditional movie posters, educational posters, large signs and many banners. Lamination film is used on all of these types of printed material for various reasons. Most people laminate them to help bring out the colors, protect the posters’ surface and to protect them from the elements. Before I talk about the best film for your poster, I would like to cover the different types of film. Understanding laminating semantics and terms will help you in making your decision.
These are four terms I recommend you become familiar with when shopping for roll lamination film:
- Mil – The mil thickness is the how thick the film is. This is very similar to the gauge often used to measure the thickness of plastic. One mil equals 0.001″, which also happens to be 100 gauge. The higher the mil thickness, the thicker the film. Roll lamination film is usually available in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses.
- Width – All roll laminators have a maximum width of film they can use. The most popular poster laminators are in 25″ and 27″ widths. If you own a 27″ wide laminator, you can use widths from 27″ on down, including 12″ wide rolls of film.
- Core Size – Roll laminators have mandrels, usually made of metal, that are used to hold and support the rolls of film. These mandrels come in different sizes. Most 25″ and 27″ laminators use mandrels with a 1″ diameter, which subsequently are compatible with lamination rolls that feature a 1″ core. Wider format laminators often have mandrels of 2 ¼” or 3″ diameters.
- Finish – The most popular roll lamination film we offer has a glossy finish. It reflects light and brings out color. Some people, however, don’t like the shiny look of glossy film. In those situations, I often require a matte film instead. Matte film has a dull luster, but is still clear. Another type of finish people often like is a UV filter for outdoor use. UV film filters out UV rays that can cause printed materials and posters to fade.
Having sold a lot of film and having laminated a lot of posters, I personally recommend you use a film with a glossy finish. As far as the thickness of the film is concerned, I recommend a 1.5 or 3 mil thickness. You can use thicker film, but for the purpose of laminating posters the thinner film is usually more than adequate. All of the film we offer, as long as there is a sealed border around the edge, should be water resistant. A 1.5 mil or 3 mil finish should also be enough to provide adequate protection while still bringing out the colors.
You can find our entire selection of glossy roll lamination film with a 1″ core by visiting us here. You can also find our entire selection of roll laminators by visiting us here. If you still have questions, please give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. Thank you for reading this article!
Posted by: James on January 18th, 2013
At Office Zone, we sell several different models of pouch laminators (found here). Some are designed for entry level use where others are ideal for commercial-level applications. So how do you know what kind of laminator you need and what features should you look for in a good laminator? I have over a decade of experience using laminators and would like to share a few features I would look for if I were shopping for a pouch laminator.
Keep in mind, these aren’t all going to be features you need in a laminator. If you need a laminator simply for home crafts and projects, many of these features won’t be necessary. If you are a business, however, and need to laminate a lot of stuff, many of these features will be critical.
- Ample Width – One of the most important things to consider when buying a laminator is the maximum laminating width. I will just say you don’t want to get close to the maximum capacity on your laminator. I have spoken with many people who purchased an 11″ laminator to be used with an 11″ pouch. While technically (and on paper) it is possible, you are going to have so little clearance on the sides that you will have to feed the pouch in perfectly to avoid jamming issues. Be sure you have at least ¼” clearance on each side of the pouch.
- Mil Capabilities – I like having the ability to laminate film up to 10 mils thick. If you are a business, you probably will too. If you’re a home user, something up to 5 mils will probably be sufficient. Just be sure you are aware of the mil thickness capabilities of the laminator before you purchase it. A laminator with a 5 mil capacity won’t be able to properly heat up and seal a 10 mil pouch.
- Reverse Capabilities – I love having a reverse switch on my laminator. If you see the pouch is beginning to veer off course, it is very nice to be able to throw that laminator into reverse and back the pouch out before a catastrophic jam occurs. Without that reverse switch, you will end up having to shut the laminator off and open it up to remove the poorly fed pouch.
- Independent Motor & Heat – If you use your laminator a lot, and want to prevent premature motor wear, you really need to have separate switches for the motor and the heat. This way you can keep the laminator warmed up and ready to go, but without the motor running. Many laminators hook up the heat and motor to the same switch.
- Adjustable Temperature – Having the ability to adjust the temperature gives you the ability to use a wide variety of pouches and glue types. This flexibility is especially nice for people laminating temperature sensitive items or using low-melt film. It also helps you to dial in the best settings for the mil thickness you are using. Remember, not all brands of film are made equal.
- Temperature Shielding – Laminators get hot, very hot. They literally house heating elements that reach temperatures you might find on an oven range. For that reason, be sure you get a laminator that properly shields you from the heat. Most manufacturers do a good job of this, but you don’t want a laminator that is hot to the touch at peak temperature.
- Carrier Capabilities – I will be honest, I don’t care if the laminator says it does not need carriers. I use a carrier anyway unless the manufacturer specifically states you should not. Carriers prolong the life of your laminator, period. For that reason, I don’t personally care if the laminator does or does not require a carrier. I would almost prefer that it does require it.
I hope these comments and suggestions help you in your pursuit of a high-quality laminator. If you are in search of a good brand, I can say that I am very impressed with Laminators Specialties (formerly Banner American) and Akiles. Tamerica and Intelli-Lam also make some nice higher-end laminators. Please give us a call at 1-800-543-5454 with any questions. We would love to help you out. If you have some additional feedback or advice regarding shopping for a pouch laminator, please leave it here in a comment. I would love to hear from you.
Posted by: James on December 14th, 2012
If you’re shopping for lamination film (found here), you undoubtedly have come across the term mil thickness. It is a critical part of the lamination film selection process. If you’re new to lamination, or simply want some clarification, I will explain exactly what a mil is and how many mils you should have in your film.
A mil is a measurement of thickness, much like gauge and microns is used to measure the thickness of other products. A mil is exactly a thousandth of an inch (0.001″). This measurement method is used in the United States to measure the thickness of lamination film, CR-80 cards, plastic and other material. A mil is equal to 100 gauge film or 25.4 microns.
The lamination process typically involves two layers of film (both pouch and roll lamination). In pouch lamination there is a pouch that consists of a folder with a top and bottom layer. The item being laminated goes in between the layers. Roll lamination uses two rolls of film, one on the top and another on the bottom. The mil thickness of the film only refers to one layer. This means a photo, paper, poster or other object laminated using 5-mil film consists of two 5-mil layers (top & bottom), which together add up to 10 mils of total film.
So which mil thickness should you use? A lot of it depends on what you are laminating and your own personal preference. The higher the mil number, the thicker the film is going to be. Lamination film typically comes in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. Here is what you would use each thickness for.
1.5 Mil Film – This is the thinnest lamination film available. It is designed solely to provide a protective layer and a nice finish, but doesn’t provide much additional support.
3 Mil Film – This is very popular with schools that need to laminate posters, signs, banners and student projects. It is still affordable, but provides enough protection for most school needs.
5 Mil Film – This is probably the most popular film we offer. It is affordable, provides good protection and still adds some rigidity and support. Most pouch and roll laminators can be used with 5 mil film.
7 Mil Film – This is probably the least common film used. It is generally used for its supportive properties and is a good option if you want a lot of rigidity, but perhaps don’t need it as thick as 10 mil.
10 Mil film – This film is purchased for its protective and solid supportive capabilities. This film is thick enough to provide paper, posters, banners and signs with optimal support. Objects laminated with 10 mil film don’t bend and can hold up through many conditions that would damage or destroy other mil thicknesses.
At Office Zone, we stock just about all of the lamination film we offer. This means we are able to provide you with a great price and fast shipping. If you need help determining the film your laminator can handle, or if you have general questions about lamination film, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. You can find our entire selection of lamination film and machines here.
Posted by: James on November 1st, 2012
So I was speaking with a customer yesterday who was looking at purchasing a 27″ wide roll laminator (found here). The laminator in question came in a fan and a fanless version. The version with a fan could be used to laminate products up to 5 mils thick, where the fanless version could only handle film up to 3 mils thick. The customer asked me why a laminator would need fans. Here is the answer I provided him.
Most roll laminators use heat to melt the inner lining glue layer on the roll film. When this glue melts, it adheres to the object being laminated. When the glue cools, it solidifies. This seems like a fairly simple process, right? While the process is essentially simple, there are a lot of factors that can go into producing good and bad results.
Different roll laminators handle different thiknesses of film. The thickness of lamination film is referred to as the mil thickness. A mil is a thousandth of an inch (0.001″). The higher the mil, the thicker the film. Not all roll laminators can handle the thicker film. Almost all roll laminators can handle 1.5 and 3 mil film. Most can handle 5-mil film. Heavy-duty laminators can handle the 7 and 10 mil film.
This now goes back to our original question. Why do some roll laminators have rear-mounted fans? These fans are designed to help cool the film as it leaves the laminator. It just so happens that thicker film, such as 5, 7 and 10, retain the heat longer than thinner film. As a result, the film says hotter for a longer period of time. The fans help to quickly cool and solidify the laminating glue.
When the glue cools faster, the results are smoother and more professional. With thicker film, if it isn’t cooled fast enough, can become malformed, wavy or rippled as it leaves the machine. You rarely find a cooling fan system on a roll laminator that only handles 1.5 or 3 mil film as the film cools naturally fairly quickly. Laminators that handle 5 mil film may or may not come with fans. Most laminators that handle film up to 7 or 10 mils thick will have fans.
So do you need a fan? No. Is it ideal to have a fan? It is nice to have, but far more critical with thicker film. Almost all heavy-duty and commercial-grade roll laminators come equipped with cooling fans. You can find our entire selection of roll laminators here and our entire selection of roll lamination film here.
Since we have decades of experience with roll laminators, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454 to speak with one of our trained Laminator Specialists.
Posted by: James on October 24th, 2012
If you own a pouch laminator, you are probably well ware of the fact that you have to use a laminating pouch to complete the lamination process. I get at least one or more people a day asking me which mil thickness they should use. I would like to start off this article by explaining what a mil thickness is and then I will go into which thickness is best for you. Before I continue, you can find our entire selection of high quality pouch lamination film here.
You would be surprised how many people think Mil is short for millimeter. I would just like to clarify that they are in no way related. Mil is actually short for thousandth of an inch. This means that 3 mils is 0.003″ thick. Being a Spanish speaker, I would also like to point out that mil in Spanish is thousand in English. Is there any relation? I really don’t know.
So 3 mil is 0.003″ thick, 5 mil is 0.005″ thick, 7 mil is 0.007″ thick and 10 mil is 0.01″ thick. Seems simple enough, right? Well, not so fast. I don’t want to confuse you too much, but a 3-mil pouch is actually 6 mils thick. What? That’s right. A laminating pouch has two sides. A 3-mil lamination pouch has two 3-mil sides, totaling 6 mils. A 5-mil pouch is actually 10 total mils thick, a 7-mil pouch is actually 14 total mils thick and a 10-mil pouch is actually 20 total mils thick. A credit card is 30 mils thick, so that just gives you an idea to just how thick a 10-mil pouch is.
Now if you have ever looked at a box of lamination pouches, you may have noticed a fraction or a series of numbers on the side. This usually indicates the hard plastic and glue ration. A box of 7 mil pouches may say 5/3 on the side of it. This means five mils of the pouch is hard plastic and 3 mils is glue, totaling 7 mils.
Now that you know what a pouch is, what the thickness means and what it is made from, you probably want to know which mil thickness is most popular. With over a decade of experience under my belt, I have found that a 5 mil laminating pouch is the most common thickness. It is rigid enough to provide support, yet does a great job of protecting the document inside. It is also more affordable than 7 and 10-mil thick pouches. If you need the utmost in thickness, you will want to go with a 10-mil thick pouch. Just be aware that a 10-mil pouch is thick.
At Office Zone, we sell laminating pouches 100 per box. We offer a price break starting at 5 boxes of film. Each box of film includes a carrier, which is designed to provide the pouch with support as it makes its way through the laminator. I would like to go on record saying that we have some great prices on our film and it is the high-quality kind of stuff you want to use. The film comes out crystal clear, lacking the bubbles, ripples and cloudiness found in other cheaper film. You can find our entire selection of pouch lamination film here. You can find our wide assortment of pouch laminators here.
Posted by: James on September 15th, 2011
If you’re in the market for a pouch laminating machine, you may be a bit confused by the wide selection. Some sites out there feature dozens to even hundreds of different models. I can tell you from personal experience that you need to get a high-quality pouch laminator. Having used pouch laminators and laminating pouches for over 10 years, I have a pretty good idea on what works and doesn’t work. Here are a few tips.
Purchasing a bad laminator can lead to some dramatically bad results. It can also lead to ruined documents and valuable material such as photos. Bad laminators can create cloudy splotches, ripples and bubbles. Many of these artifacts cannot be removed, even with multiple passes. It is horribly frustrating and can result in one bad day.
Even if you don’t take my advice on laminator models in this article, please at least try to find a pouch laminator with at least 4 rollers. That’s right. Four rollers is the magic number for a good pouch laminator. Some higher-end laminators feature 6, 8 and even 10 rollers. Stay away from 2 roller laminators unless you’re simply shopping around for a paper weight.
There are many brands out there, but I have personally had excellent luck with Intelli-Lam, Fellowes (some models), Akiles, Tamerica and Banner American. Now to the list.
Top 10 Best Pouch Laminators 2011 (Sorted by Price – Lowest to Highest)
- Intelli-Lam IL300 – This is the least expensive of the recommended pouch laminators. It features four rollers, can handle 10-mil thick film and is perfect for laminating signs, business cars, ID cards and much more. This laminator is a great value for the price.
- Tamerica TCC-230 – Tamerica (aka Tahsin) laminators have a great reputation with our customers. The TCC-230 is a feature-rich laminator and has an incredibly quick warm-up time.
- Intelli-Lam IL400 – The IL400 is one of the best deals available online for a 13″ pouch laminator. It features four rollers, the ability to handle 10 mil thick film and is extremely fast.
- Tamerica TCC-330 – The TCC-330 is a time-tested classic that has a proven track record for being reliable and producing high-quality results.
- Akiles iLam 240 – While relatively new, this 9″ laminator has quickly become a favorite. Akiles has a great reputation for producing high-quality equipment that lasts for years.
- Akiles iLam 340 – This laminator is perfect for the no-nonsense operator. This 13″ wide pouch laminator is extremely easy to set up and produces top-quality results.
- Banner American PL135-4 – The PL135-4 has been around for more than a decade and used to be one of the most affordable 4-roller laminators. This laminator is solid, time tested and you won’t be disappointed.
- Tamerica C-Lam – This laminator is cool to the touch, easy to operate and produces some of the most professional results of any laminator listed here. A total of 6 rollers produce crisp results.
- Banner American PL12A – This classic is by far the most popular commercial pouch laminator available. It utilizes 4 rollers and is designed for daily use.
- Akiles Pro-Lam 320 – The Akiles Pro-Lam line of laminators are fast, effective, easy to use and can handle just about any pouch laminating film out there. A total of 4 rollers quickly and evenly distribute heat.
So there you have it! My list of the top 10 pouch laminators for 2011. These laminators have proven themselves time after time and I’m confident you will be impressed as well.
We have been selling laminators for years, so if you have any questions, please feel free to call one of Office Zone’s laminating experts at 1-800-543-5454. You can find Office Zone’s entire list of pouch laminators here.
Posted by: James on August 29th, 2011
Laminators are underappreciated, and in my opinion, under used. They are used to protect, coat and preserve photos, maps, posters, business cards and more. Using the right laminating film can dramatically impact the end result. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people ask me which mil thickness is best. I will try to help answer some of the most common questions I get regarding film.
Not all laminating film is the same. To begin with, laminating film is measured in mils (thousandths of an inch). The higher the mil thickness number, the thicker the film. Laminating film is typically available in 1.5, 3, 5, 7, and 10 mil thicknesses.
Before reading on, familiarize yourself with your laminator’s capabilities. I personally recommend reading through your owner’s manual. While most laminators can handle 1.5 or 3-mil film, not all can handle 5, 7 or 10. Ten mil is probably the least common as far as compatibility is concerned. Each of these thicknesses have different uses.
1.5 Mil Laminating Film – This film thickness is used primarily to lightly protect the surface of a document. It has little to no stability. It is primarily used to add a glossy coating to posters and maps. It can also help bring out colors. This film thickness is also popular for single-sided lamination purposes.
3 Mil Laminating Film – This film thickness has a little bit of stability, but is still mostly used for coating documents or to add a glossy appearance. It can help bring out colors and is often used for coating business cards, photos and posters.
5 Mil Laminating Film – This film is probably the most popular used today. This is due to its universal capabilities and reasonable price. It provides medium stability while still protecting and preserving. This film is used for signs, banners, posters, photos and other material.
7 Mil Laminating Film – This film is often used, rather than 10-mil film, because it is less expensive than 10-mil film while still providing almost as much stability as 10-mil film. This is used to add stability, protection, bring out color and more for posters, presentations, signs, restaurant menus and other documents.
10 Mil Laminating Film – This is the thickest “common” laminating film available. It still coats, protects and enhances color, but is primarily used for its rigidity. Double-sided lamination (pouches or 2 rolls of film) uses a sheet of film for the top and a sheet of film for the bottom of a document. When using 10-mil film, the top and bottom combined equal 20 mils. This thickness is just 10 mils shy of a credit card thickness (30 mils).
In my experience, I have to say that the 3 and 5 mil film thicknesses are probably the most popular. When a person speaks with me, having no idea what they should use, I typically recommend a 5-mil film simply because of its universal qualities.
Office Zone offers laminating film for both pouch and roll laminators. You can find our pouch laminating film here and our roll laminating film here. Most of Office Zone’s film has a glossy finish to it, which is what 90% of our customers use.
If you are in the market for a laminator, you can find our pouch laminators here and our roll laminators here. If you are still having trouble tracking down a film, or simply need a few answers to some questions, please post your question here as a “comment” or call one of our Laminating Specialists at 1-800-543-5454.
Posted by: James on July 26th, 2011
If you laminate photos, business cards, signs and other material, you’re going to need a reliable and durable laminating machine. One key quality you will want in your laminator is a well-built metal design. Few laminators in the $100 offer this feature. One laminator that provides excellent build quality along with a great price is the Intelli-Lam IL300 pouch laminating machine. This is my review.
To begin with, I have personally used a variety of different Intelli-Lam pouch laminators, which includes the IL300. Few laminators, including Akiles, Banner American, Fellowes an GBC come close to offering the amount of features you get with Intelli-Lam for the price. Intelli-Zone, the manufacturer of Intelli-Lam, also makes Intelli-Bind, Intelli-Fold and Intelli-Shred office machines.
Upon first glance, the IL300 looks like a solid piece of equipment. Looks aren’t everything though, so I decided to pick it up and get a feel for the machine. The IL300 has some heft to it. This is due in part to the fact that a good portion of the materials used in the IL300′s construction are metal. Even the housing is metal. It reminded me a lot of the Akiles ProLam series of laminators.
Another important feature you want in a good office laminator is multiple rollers. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Intelli-Lam IL300 has 4 rollers. These rollers help evenly distribute pressure and heat for excellent results. Have you ever had to re-feed a pouch through a laminator because you didn’t get good results the first time? This is not the case with the IL300. Results look great the first time.
Using the laminator is easy. Simply plug it in and turn it on. It about 10 minutes or so the laminator is completely warmed up and ready to go. A green indicator light will let you know when it is ready to be used.
An adjustable temperature dial makes it easy for even the biggest laminating enthusiast to get great results. Unlike most laminators in the $100 range (the IL300 at the time of this article is $102), the IL300 can be used with film as thick as 10 mils!
In case you’re not familiar with laminating pouches, they come in 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. A mil is a thousandth of an inch (0.001″). The higher the mil thickness, the thicker the pouch. Most $100 laminators cannot handle anything thicker than 5 mils.
Another huge plus on the IL300 is the reverse switch. In the even that you feed a pouch in crooked, or a jam occurs, you can flip the motor into reverse and back the pouch back out. If for any reason the reverse motor cannot release the jam, four screws can easily be removed on the cover to allow easy access to the inner components.
One concern I have heard from customers is that the power light is on all the time. There is no need to be alarmed. When the laminator is plugged in, an LED does light up, but the heat and motor are off. It is essentially in standby mode until you flip the laminator switch to “on.”
The motor in the IL300 is so quiet barely even notice it is on. This is ideal for office laminating situations. A person can easily use this laminator on their desk without annoying fellow employees.
This laminator is affordable enough for home use, yet durable enough for office use. I see no reason why you cannot use this laminator all day long. It is a solid piece of machinery and I had a great experience using it.
You can find the Intelli-Lam IL300 pouch laminating machine here and our entire selection of pouch laminators here.
Posted by: James on July 7th, 2011
If you own, run or use a pouch laminating machine on a regular basis, you’re probably well aware of the fact that these machines require film to run properly. This film is often referred to as laminating sheets or pouches (found here). So which type of laminating pouch should you use with your machine? I will cover some basic questions that should set you on the right path.
To begin with, laminating sheets come in a variety of different shapes and thicknesses. The thickness of a pouch is referred to as a mil. A mil is a thousandth of an inch or 0.001″. The higher the mil, the thicker the pouch. The thicker the pouch, the more stability and rigidity the pouch has.
Before you settle on any given mil thickness of pouch, be sure you are familiar with your pouch laminator’s limitations. Most pouch laminators can handle 3 and 5 mil pouches. Seven and 10 mil pouches are thicker and thus require a laminator capable of handling the additional glue and material. I would estimate about 35% of pouch laminators can handle a 10 mil pouch.
Which mil thickness is most popular? I get this question all the time. People want something that looks good, works with their laminator and gets the “results” they are looking for. I have found in my own personal experience that a 5 mil pouch is the most popular thickness available.
A 5 mil thickness is universally accepted by most laminators, can still be used to coat and protect photos, documents, cards and more. A 5 mil pouch has a nice blend of flexibility while maintaining enough stability not to be “floppy.”
While laminating sheets and pouches are available in several different finishes, a clear glossy finish is by far the most popular style of pouch available. The glossy finish reflects light and has a slick texture and feel to it. Over 90% of available pouches are glossy.
At Office Zone we offer 3,5, 7 and 10 mil pouches in a variety of sizes. These sizes are as follows:
Standard-Size Glossy Laminating Pouches (found here)
- 2 1/4″ x 3 3/4″ (Business Card)
- 2 1/8″ x 3 3/8″ (Credit Card)
- 2 3/8″ x 3 5/8″ (Driver’s License)
- 2 5/16″ x 3 1/4″ (IBM)
- 2 1/2″ x 3 7/8″ (Key Card)
- 2 5/8″ x 3 7/8″ (Military)
- 2 1/2″ x 3 5/8″ (School Card)
- 2 15/16″ x 4 1/8″ (Jumbo)
- 2 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ (Luggage Tag w/o Slot)
- 2 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ (Luggage Tag w/ Slot)
- 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ (Index Card)
- 3 15/16″ x 5 11/16″ (Circulation Card)
- 3 9/16″ x 5 5/16″ (Post Card)
- 3 15/16″ x 6 7/8″ (Extra Circulation)
- 4″ x 6″
Large-Size Glossy Laminating Pouches (found here)
- 6″ x 9″ Laminating Sheets
- 9″ x 11 ½” Laminating Sheets
- 9″ x 14 ½” Laminating Sheets
- 12″ x 18″ Laminating Sheets
When picking a size of pouch, be sure your laminator can properly accommodate the size. I have seen people purchase a 12″ pouch for their 12″ laminator. Because there is so little room for error, jams are frequent. When a pouch is fed into a laminator, any deviance in the alignment, even by 1/16″ of an inch, will result in increased deviation as the lamination film makes its way through the machine.
If for any reason a jam does occur, don’t try to fish the laminating film out using scissors, a knife or other sharp objects. This can result in damaged silicon rollers which will affect our laminating results. If you have a serious jam, please feel free to contact our Service Department at 1-800-543-5454 x129 for advice on fixing the problem.
You can find our entire selection of laminating sheets and pouches here and our wide selection of pouch laminators here. Good luck and happy laminating!