Saturday, April 24, 2010

pouch laminator

A pouch laminator can make a great addition to your home, office, school, or professional print shop, but with all of the outstanding laminating machines on the market, knowing which machine will fill your unique needs can be difficult. Below we will break down the differences between the various styles of pouch laminators to help you make an informed decision about which laminating machine to purchase.

The Basics

Nearly all pouch laminators are thermal machines, which means that they utilize heat to seal the pouch and fuse the layers together. Depending on the machine, the heat is applied by either heated plates or heated rollers. All machines utilize rollers to help ensure secure adhesion, eliminate air bubbles and move the laminated documents through the machine. Low volume machines (primarily for home use) are equipped with two rollers, mid-level laminators (for offices or schools) contain 2-6 rollers and professional laminating machines (for high volume users or copy shops) include between four and ten rollers.

Most machines offer variable temperature control to allow users to adjust the heat level based on the thickness of the laminating pouch. Many pouch laminators also include a reverse feature, which makes it easier to clear jammed or misfed documents. Other popular features include a stand-by mode (preserves power while the machine is not laminating), the ability to laminate without a carrier sheet (used to prevent adhesive from oozing out from the edges of the laminating pouch and onto the rollers), cool rollers (help to reduce curling of laminated documents), and the ability to laminate photos.

When selecting a pouch laminator, you'll need to evaluate the features that are the most important to your specific needs. If you will be producing a high volume of laminated documents, you may want to look for a machine that has a high maximum laminating speed. If you regularly use thick laminating pouches (7 mil or 10 mil), then you'll need to ensure that your selected machine can handle thick pouches. Those who only laminate IDs or badges may be content with a model that has a maximum document width of 4", while those looking to laminate signs or displays will likely want a machine that offers a larger width. Taking the time to review the features of the available pouch laminating machines will help to ensure that you get the best laminator for your purposes.

Home Pouch Laminators (for Low Volume Usage)

Pouch laminating machines for home use offer the most basic features, without many of the advanced options that are used in office or professional settings. These laminators are most commonly available in 9" and 13" widths, and can laminate 3 mil and 5 mil pouches only.

Among the most popular models of home pouch laminators are the SircleLam HQ-230 and HQ-330. Both versions offer the following features:

- Maximum laminating speed of 9.85" per minute
- Laminates photos
- No carrier sheet required
- Adjustable temperature
- Cold setting (for use with self-adhesive "cold" laminating pouches)
- Reverse (for releasing jams)
- Six minute warm-up time
- One-year warranty

The only difference between these two models is the maximum width - the HQ-230 laminates documents up to 9" wide, while the HQ-330 allows users to laminate documents up to 13" wide. If you only laminate infrequently, and do not use pouches thicker than 5 mil, then a home pouch laminating machine may be the perfect choice for you. If you are looking for something a bit more robust, then read on to learn about office pouch laminators.

Office Pouch Laminators (for Moderate Usage)

Pouch laminating machines for office use offer a greater range of features than those designed for home use, and can handle a medium-to-high volume of usage. These laminators are available in widths ranging from 4" to 13.5", and can laminate pouches from 3 mil and 10 mil thick. In addition to being able to stand up to more frequent usage than home laminators, office pouch laminators also laminate much more quickly (in some cases, more than three times as fast as the home machines).

Two the most popular models of office pouch laminators are the Akiles APL-320 and the SircleLam LA-7020E. Below is a comparison of their features:

Akiles APL-320
- Max. Laminating Speed: 24" per minute
- Carrier sheet not required when laminating 5, 7 or 10 mil pouches
- Max. Width: 12 1/2"
- Four Rollers
- Independent Heat & Motor Switches
- Variable, Electronic Heat Control
- Heating Element: Heated Rollers
- Warm-Up Time: 3 minutes
- Cold setting
- One year warranty

SircleLam LA-7020E
- Max. Laminating Speed: 33" per minute
- No carrier sheet required (recommended when laminating 10 mil pouches)
- Max. Width: 11 13/16"
- Four Rollers
- Independent Heat & Motor Switches
- Variable, Electronic Heat Control
- Heating Element: Aluminum Heat Plates
- Warm-Up Time: 3 minutes
- Cold setting
- Five year warranty

Both of these machines are equipped to handle daily use, however they differ in a few key areas. The Akiles APL-320 has a larger maximum width, but a slower laminating speed than the SircleLam LA-7020E. Independent heat and motor switches and variable, electronic heat control are included on both laminators, but the types of heating elements differ. Depending on your requirements, either of these machines would be a productive and beneficial addition to an office setting. If you need a machine that is even more powerful, then read on to learn about professional pouch laminators.

Professional Pouch Laminators (for High Volume Usage)

Pouch laminating machines for professional settings are the most robust machines on the market, and offer the most features. These laminators are available in widths ranging from 4" to 44", and can laminate pouches from 3 mil and 10 mil thick (with select machines having the ability to mount and laminate simultaneously). Professional pouch laminators also have the highest maximum laminating speed, with some machines laminating 12' per minute. Nearly all industrial machines come housed within metal casings for added durability.

Though already discussed in the office pouch laminators section, the SircleLam LA-7020E is also popular in professional settings. Other well-liked professional pouch laminators include the SpeedyLam 330R-10 from James Burn International and the Akiles Pro-Lam Photo, which are detailed below:

SpeedyLam 330R-10
- Max. Laminating Speed: 12' per minute
- No carrier sheet required
- Max. Width: 13"
- Ten Rollers
- Independent Heat & Motor Switches
- Variable, Electronic Heat Control
- Heating Element: Six Heated Rollers
- Warm-Up Time: 5 minutes
- Cold setting
- Max. Pouch Thickness: 14 mil

Akiles Pro-Lam Photo
- Max. Laminating Speed: 38" per minute
- No carrier sheet required
- Max. Width: 13"
- Six Rollers
- Independent Heat & Motor Switches
- Variable, Electronic Heat Control
- Heating Element: Four Heated Rollers
- Warm-Up Time: 5 minutes
- Cold setting
- Max. Pouch Thickness: 10 mil

Both of these machines are equipped to handle high-volume, professional use, with the primary differences relating to the number of rollers and overall speed. The SpeedyLam 330R-10 from James Burn International laminates nearly four times as fast as the Akiles Pro-Lam Photo and has two four additional rollers, but the Akiles Pro-Lam Photo costs less than half of the price. Depending on your requirements and resources, either of these machines are capable of producing a high volume of laminated documents.

In Review

Whether you are looking to preserve family photos, enhance company ID cards or provide lamination services at your print shop, pouch laminators are cost-effective and user-friendly with numerous models to fit practically any need. Investing the time to research the capabilities of the available machines will not only help you find the best machine for your application, but will also help you make the most of your budget. There are many pouch laminators on the market, and you can learn to distinguish quality laminators by evaluating key features. Remember, what works best for someone else may not be a fit for your unique needs, so performing your own research is a crucial step in the process of purchasing a pouch laminator.

Lamination Depot (www.laminationdepot.com) is one of the leading sources for laminating equipment and pouches in the industry, with more than 30 pouch laminators and 300 pouch varieties available. Visit our collection of pouch laminating machines (www.laminationdepot.com/Pouch-Laminating-Machines/departments/68/) to learn more about these laminators or other available models.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sarah_Meehan

1 comment: