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Different laminators are better for different applications. There are two types of laminators and two types of laminating materials. The two types of laminators are Hot Laminators and Cold Laminators.
These are the most common types of laminators. They use heat (220 to 300 degrees F) to apply the lamination.
Hot laminators provide a better quality lamination that is more resistant to wear and tear. This is the preferred method of lamination for materials that are not effected by heat.
Cold laminators, such as the Cool Laminator shown above, use pressure sensitive adhesives to bind the lamination film.
Cold laminators are used when the material being laminated is sensitive to heat. For example, some ink jet printers use inks that can melt when heated. There are other types of printers that use heat sensitive paper. For these types of applications the cold laminator is the best choice.
Laminating pouches are pockets of laminating material into which the item to be laminated is placed. A hot laminator is used to seal the pouch and bind the layers together.
Pouches come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses.
Size: Select the size that is appropriate for the item being laminated. (Large pouches / small pouches). The size of the pouch is made to exactly match the item being laminated, so no trimming is necessary after laminating.
Thickness: Mils express the thickness or weight of a laminating pouch. Each side of a laminating pouch has it's own mil weight. A 5 mil pouch has a total weight of 10 mils. The higher the mil weight, the more rigid the laminated document.
Pouches are available in matte and gloss finishes. Matte finishes are non-reflective and slightly granular. They tend to make image colors more vivid. Gloss finishes are best for bright colors. Gloss adds definition, radiance.
Laminating films come in a variety widths and thicknesses. As with pouches, the thicker the film, the stiffer and more durable the laminated item will be.
Some laminating films are identified as being "low melt" films. These films require less heat and are used when laminating materials that are sensitive to high temperatures, such as photographs.
Films also provide the option of laminating one side or both sides of an item. Single-sided lamination is used, for example, to laminate over a poster that is to be mounted on a backing board.
Laminating films are available in a variety of finishes such as gloss, matte and satin.