3 Types of Laminators: Do You Know How to Choose the Right One for Your Needs?
by Mashum Mollah Technology 23 April 2019
The first time I went to buy a laminator, the salesman immediately stunned me with his first question:
“What type of laminator do you want?”
Type?? I didn’t even know there were different options! So of course, I told him I wanted the type that covered a document in plastic film to protect it. He gave me a strange look, unsure if I was joking or not. That’s when I came clean and told him I didn’t know about types, so he educated me. Now, allow me to pass those tips on to you.
The pouch laminator is quite self-explanatory. You place the document you want to laminate inside of a specialized pouch. This pouch is then heat sealed, creating a solid seal all the way around the document.
This type of laminator does a good job of creating solid protection around the document. After lamination, the finished article should be completely waterproof and wipe clean easily from any spills, marks or grease.
Pouch machines are the most popular choice and can be gotten quite cheaply. They’re easy to use as well, which helps with popularity, but they do have some limitations. The big one is that they’re always heat operated machines because they need to melt/fuse the pouch together. Since the item being laminated will be exposed to high heat during the process, this might not always be suitable. Any concern over heat sensitivity means you should skip this one and move on to a cold process.
Pouch machines are a little slower than the alternatives, but they tend to be quite portable and space saving.
Hot Roll Laminators:
When it comes to a roll laminator, you have a lot more choices available. Some are extra large or wide, meaning you can laminate bigger items (like posters) while there are both hot and cold type machines.
A hot machine works kind of like a pouch laminator, but without the pouch. The document is placed inside of some specialized film (instead of a pouch) and then rolled through the machine. The heat from the laminator makes the glue on the film melt and allows it to stick together perfectly. Another way to get waterproof, well-protected documents.
The benefit for roll laminators is that there’s so much variety. There are all types of shapes and sizes, with a whole spread of unique features available on different models. Roll laminators can be a bit more complex than pouch types, but that isn’t always true. There are some very easy to use roll machines as well, plus the rolling machine can handle much more use and pump out documents at a faster rate.
Cold Roll Laminators:
Our last type of laminator is the cold roll machine. This is similar to the hot roll but without the heat. So how do they get the film to stick and laminate the document? Well, they use sheer pressure to press the glue down on both sides of the film. Under the right pressure settings (which comes pre-programmed on most machines), the glue will easily stick together and seal.
This type of machine has some of the same benefits as a hot roll machine, but not quite all. It can be a little slower and less watertight since the pressure might not always be perfect in all areas. However, if your document is heat sensitive, this machine could be the perfect solution for you.