From posters to calendars to signs, printed materials are susceptible to lots of wear and tear in the classroom. A laminator is a smart, inexpensive way to keep school materials and other supplies looking professional and clean, even after they’ve been written on, wiped off, or cleaned repeatedly. It’s also great for increasing longevity of materials and saving money. Read on to learn about the must-have lamination supplies to keep on hand for your school. But first, let’s take a quick course in Lamination 101.
What Is Lamination?
Lamination is the process in which a protective covering is attached to the surface of a document, card or photo using heat and pressure. The laminate prevents the sealed item from damage or fading. In a school setting, this protection is especially important to make sure that printed materials including, documents, signs and menus are clean and easily readable.
There are two types of lamination:
- Cold lamination means that the laminate is attached to the item using pressure. The pressure activates the seal and presses out any air that could result in bubbling. Cold lamination is useful for sensitive or fragile documents and photos.
- Heat-assist lamination uses heated rollers to activate the seal. This results in a durable, firm seal, because the edges are literally melted together. Heat-assist lamination works best for badges and signs.
Depending on the needs of your school, you can opt for a roll or pouch laminator.
- Roll laminators give you flexibility to laminate a wide variety of documents, large or small with one solution. This laminator uses rollers to seal the item between two laminate sheets; then, all you have to do is trim the edges to size. These are useful when you have a wide range of sizes to laminate.
- Pouch laminators are perfect for schools that are mostly printing cards or credentials, like staff, student and visitor badges. The item is placed inside a pre-sized pouch that’s sealed on three sides. Once fed into the machine, the pouch is sealed cleanly around the item. Pouch laminators are a great way to save time for busy school offices.
What to Stock for Your School Laminator
While it may sound complicated, it’s actually easy to have your laminator up and running once you have the right supplies on hand. Set yourself up for success with these must-have tools:
- A pouch or roll laminator. Base your choice on the needs of your school.
- Lamination film or pouches. Choose either pouches (for a pouch laminator) or film (for a roll laminator). Wide roll film is great for badges and comes in either Permalam, which is 1.5 mils thick, or Extralam, which is 3 mils thick. Most schools find Permalam to be the perfect thickness for badges, signs and menus.
- Laminator cleaning kits. Keep your machine working well with a laminator cleaning kit. These kits make it easy to maintain your laminator for clean operation and a long life.
The Benefits of Lamination
School settings have unique lamination needs. The benefits of owning a solution include:
- Budget. Laminating in-house can help save money. The initial investment of the laminating equipment is quickly earned back with regular use, and you won’t have to worry about fees or premium shipping charges as you would when working through a third party vendor.
- Safety and security. From kindergarten to college campuses, student and staff safety is an important part of day-to-day operations. Backpack tags, bus rider cards, and badges, particularly those worn visibly on lanyards, are an effective way to make sure that everyone within a building is supposed to be there. Lamination helps to keep these badges readable and protected from fading, staining or cracking.
- Convenience. New students, substitute teachers and visitors often need same-day printed materials or badges; the cafeteria menu might be suddenly changed and need reprinting; the students might have an important project that requires lamination. Whatever the urgent need, a laminator only takes moments to use — a much quicker turnaround time than placing an order with a third party vendor and waiting for it to be delivered.
A lamination machine offers versatile solutions that save you time and money. Re-order your laminator film roll, pouch or cleaning kits quarterly from a trusted supplier so you’ll never run out. Once your lamination system is up and running, you’ll be able to print a badge on the spot — and make sure it lasts through the school year.