Five manufacturer representatives talk lamination, plus nearly 30 sources of laminators.
“Pressure-measuring gauges are yet another improvement that helps ensure consistent repetition of the lamination process – a quality control feature that is definitely worth having,” adds Hill. “Small touches like auto grip shafts, single height adjustment, locking casters, and fold-down feed tables also help with ease-of-use.”
“Most of the feature enhancements in the Seal range of laminators have come in terms of ease of use and expansion in width to meet the changing needs of the market,” says Mohni. “Applications are requiring 60-inches-plus sizes in media and films to create finished projects, particularly in vehicle wraps and window graphics.”
Sealing the deal
Overall, most industry sources agree, all ink technologies can benefit from laminating. But, importantly, understanding the lamination landscape and then bringing the equipment and knowledge in-house is the way to make your graphics truly shine, and your final product outlast the rest.
Because his customers have laminators in-house, says Elliot, “They can create graphics with a lot of different finishes – and that sets them apart from their competitors.”
Corn agrees. “Many of our customers offer specialty options to their clientele,” she says. “Whether it is a high-gloss finish for fine-art reproductions or creating a non-slip, UL-classified surface for floor graphics, laminates can offer a wide variety of appearances and solutions to clients who are looking to widen the breadth of product offerings.”
Wicked Wraps: Visualizing Lamination
Owners Katherine and Wade Becher of Wicked Wraps (wickedwraps.net), located in the Seattle metro area, wanted to add flare to their newest fleet with bright green and black graphics to represent their “wicked” shop.
Katherine designed the graphics that were printed using the shop’s HP Latex L26500 printer onto Avery MPI 1005 Supercast Easy Apply RS Cast Vinyl Film. They then turned to their Kala Mistral 1650 laminator with Avery DOL1360 overlaminate to put the finishing touches on the wrap. Wade completed the installation, utilizing Geek Wraps Power Slam magnets, squeegees, propane torch, and other tools.
They see many benefits of lamination when wrapping vehicles, says Katherine, including:
• Protecting the printed graphics from scratches/fading;
• Providing the desired “finish” – high gloss, matte, or luster;
• Enabling the vinyl to be stretched more during installation, making for an easier install;
• Making future removal of wraps easier; and
• Enabling wraps to be polished with specialty products like Wrap Care.
“We hand-wash our fleet two to three times per week, on average, in order to make sure that our work always looks its best” she says. “Without lamination on the graphics, and with the high frequency of washing that we do, the latex ink would get destroyed in no time. The lamination, however, provides protection and preserves our wraps’ brilliant shine. It also enables us to be able to polish our wraps with vinyl-specific products.”
Wicked Wraps’ primary area of focus has been on vehicle wraps since it opened its doors in 2007. As the economy struggled, Wicked Wraps moved its emphasis away from customized cars to helping small businesses at a time when the economy made it very difficult for those companies to stay afloat. “Customers who started out with one wrapped vehicle came back with a second, third, or even fourth to get wrapped because their first one(s) were proving to be so valuable to their business,’ says Katherine Becher.
30+ Sources of Laminators
The laminator sourcelist that follows is a directory of nearly 30 suppliers of wide-format laminators, including machines that use pressure-sensitive and thermal films as well as those utilizing liquid laminates to protect, encapsulate, and mount wide-format graphics. Visit the respective websites for a full list of the company’s offerings. Note: We are only referencing companies manufacturing or branding their own laminators, not companies who are only selling other companies’ branded machines.
Advanced Greig Laminators
Coatac Distribution Inc.
Graphic Finishing Partners
Lamina System AB
Marabu North America
Professional Laminating Systems
Royal Sovereign International