One of the best ways to protect your documents is to laminate them. Lamination simply involves adding a layer of plastic over the concerned document. Now, the lamination itself is done using a lamination machine and there are several options in the market.
So, how do you know which laminating machine is the right fit for your needs? Well, to make things easier, we’ve developed this mini-guide of sorts to help you out.
Types of Lamination
When it comes to lamination, you have two types – hot and cold. There are specific machines to carry out each of these lamination methods.
Hot lamination machines are also called “thermal laminators”. These machines carry out the lamination process by using heat, to either melt thin laminates over the document or by melting the adhesive backing on the laminate.
Cold laminators, on the other hand, use self-adhesive laminates to carry out the job and they are ideally used to laminate heat sensitive materials such as plastic cards etc. Also, cold lamination is usually temporary, which means, you need to keep having the documented laminated as often as possible.
Apart from the classification based on lamination method, we also have lamination machines that are classified based on the size of the document that needs to be laminated. There are generally two types – Roll Laminators and Pouch Laminators.
The former is used to laminate large documents such as banners and maps. So, if you have large-scale laminating work to be done, this is your ideal type of laminator. You can get hot or cold versions. The latter is ideal for small, individual documents and is best suited for home or office lamination requirements. Again, you can choose between hot and cold versions.
The next thing to consider is speed. Speed can play a key role if your work involves a lot of lamination. In general, cold laminators are an ideal bet. These machines don’t take a lot of time. Hot laminators actually need around 2 minutes to heat up, even before they are put to use.
Laminating machines also vary according to the thickness of the laminate they can handle. This is important because thickness is what determines the quality of your lamination and the long-term survival of your document.
If you want near-permanent lamination, use a machine that can handle thick laminate measuring 7-10 mil.
Of course, cost is another major consideration. Now, typically, we would say that the laminator that meets your budget is the best one. However, before we say that, we’d like to tell you that you’ll, firstly, need to have a realistic budget in mind. Don’t settle for something that’s too cheap because it may not live up to expectations.
At the same time, don’t cross the limit either. Just pick one that ticks most of the right boxes. It’s okay to compromise on one or two tertiary requirements. However, never compromise on the primary ones and don’t hesitate to spend a little extra if you’re sure you’re getting a good deal.