Five manufacturer representatives talk lamination, plus nearly 30 sources of laminators.
Owning in-house lamination equipment is definitely the way to go, agrees Bouchard. He says the benefits include “becoming independent from outside services and gaining better control of production time resulting in more flexibility; being faster in deliveries, avoiding damage on the work during transportation; and simply making a larger margin.”
Elliot chimes in with five reasons as to why having a laminator in-house is beneficial: It offers you full control over production schedules; when reruns or additional sheets are required, you save time for unnecessary shipping; you save money on unnecessary freight costs; it differentiates you from the competition; and, finally, he says, it increases your profits.
To Hill, the biggest benefit of owning a system is indeed profit potential: “Finished graphics allow print service providers the ability to charge more per-square-foot than unfinished graphics. In-house finishing also provides a level of control and the ability to turn jobs around in a timely manner. The key to successfully transitioning from outsourcing lamination to in-house production is training on the laminator – shops should make sure to purchase the training from the manufacturer or reseller. It’s the best money a print service provider can spend.”
Running hot, cold, and more
The various types of laminators that can be acquired include an array of machines, some utilizing liquid and solvent laminates; some that are hot, low-temp, and heat-activated; and machines that range dramatically in size and performance. What’s right for your shop or a specific project, and what factors should you take into consideration when determining your best solution?
It’s all about the printer(s) you own in house, says Elliot: “Certain printer output such as solvent/eco-solvent cannot be laminated with thermal films, so these shops would purchase only cold units” he says. “If a shop has both aqueous and solvent, they would look into purchasing a thermal for its versatility to run both PSA and thermal films. Inexpensive, short-term graphics that aren’t going to be handled very much and don’t really need much protection are fine with liquid coating.”