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A Beginner’s Guide to Lamination Types

A Beginner’s Guide to Lamination Types

Laminating badges, IDs and other credentials is a smart way to protect them while keeping them looking clean and professional. Lamination is the process by which a protective material is attached to a document, card or photo using adhesive. It protects badges, cards and other documents from damage and fading by sealing the item within a protective layer — usually made from polypropylene or PVC — and can be one- or two-sided, depending on the level of protection needed. Lamination enhances the appearance of the material and is especially important for items that are used every day, such as ID badges, or easily damaged items such as photographs.

Methods of Lamination

The right method of lamination depends on the needs of your organization. The two main methods of lamination are cold lamination and heat-assist lamination. During cold lamination, the adhesive is attached to the document using pressure. It’s the best choice for documents that are heat-sensitive, such as ink-jet printed pages, faxes or photographs. The pressure activates the seal and presses away any bubbles, resulting in a clear and secure laminate.

Heat-assist lamination, also known as hot lamination, uses heated rollers to activate the adhesive. This creates a firm seal because the edges are melted together. Heat-assist lamination has a smaller chance of silvering, or becoming opaque, due to the removal of the tiny bubbles of air that can result from laminating.

Roll Laminators

If you are looking for flexibility and customization, a roll laminator is the right choice for your business. These machines are designed to laminate a wide variety of products, from credentials to signage, without requiring you to purchase specific pouches. Your item is passed between two rollers, which seal the item with one sheet of laminate or laminate on both sides, depending on the make of your machine. Roll laminators are available in both heat-assist and cold styles.

If your company frequently laminates badges and other documents of varying quantities and sizes, a roll laminator will help you save time and money. You can easily laminate anything you need; once sealed, all you need to do is trim the laminate to fit the item. This method reduces waste and allows you to customize your laminate needs as they develop.

Pouch Laminators

Convenient and quick, pouch laminators are a smart choice for businesses that are mainly laminating credentials and traditionally sized printed documents. As the name implies, all you need to do is put the item into a precut pouch. These pouches are sealed on three sides and open on one end. Once fed into the machine, the pouch is sealed cleanly around the item. Pouch laminators are great for companies that print and laminate credentials in large batches or laminate throughout the workday. It only takes a few moments to feed the item into the laminator.

Why Laminate?

ID badges and credentials can be used for a wide variety of purposes, from identification to security. If your business is client-facing, a well-designed badge tells customers who the employees are and reinforces your company’s branding. If your business depends heavily on stringent security processes, RFID badges can be used to ensure that only authorized personnel are able to access specific areas. In case of an emergency, the badges can also be used to track staff to make sure everyone is safely evacuated. Badges are also useful in school settings, where safety is a growing concern. Badges allow students and staff to quickly identify others on campus. In-house printing and laminating can allow administrators to quickly create visitor badges to keep everyone safe.

Badges are also useful for enhancing touchless health and safety processes. RFID cards work with scanners attached to doors, reducing the need for staff to touch handles and keypads. By minimizing physical contact, businesses can help prevent viral breakouts. You’ll also save time and money by reducing the number of sick days that employees need to take.

Because badges and other credentials are handled every day, they can quickly deteriorate from wear and tear. Printed images fade, and edges bend and tear. In client-facing companies, a faded badge is not only hard to read, it also looks unprofessional to customers. In businesses where badges are used for access or time clocking, worn badges can cause frustration because of their reduced ability to interact with scanners or keypads. 

Lamination protects badges from this wear and tear by sealing them between thin layers of PVC or polypropylene. The laminate enhances the images and lettering, making them clear and easy to see from a distance. It also prevents regular handling from wearing down the badge surface. By laminating your credentials, you will also save money by reducing the number of replacements you have to create due to wear and tear. A laminated badge can last for years, regardless of the amount of use it sees.

If your company frequently prints badges, consider including a laminator as part of your process. The durability that lamination provides is worth the investment. Today’s machines are easy to use, making it simple to incorporate lamination into your printing operations. Whether you need to create badges as people enter the building or print them as part of a hiring process, there is a lamination machine to fit your needs.

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