Encapsulation refers to the process of coating both sides of
an item, such as a poster, with a layer of plastic to protect
the item from damage due to handling, moisture, weather etc.
This process is most commonly used with thermal laminators,
but can also be used with some pressure sensitive machines.
EPDM or Ethylene Propylene Diamine Monomer is a high density
rubber, capable of being ground to a very smooth, even finish.
It also has a high durability and resistance to tearing, solvents
and high temperatures which makes it easy to clean, and perfect
for laminator rollers. EPDM rollers are available in hard
and flow form styles.
Heat Assisted Laminating
Heat assisted laminating is the use of low levels of heat
to soften the adhesive on a pressure sensitive film. Some
films require this, and this may also be necessary in cold
climates where the adhesives become less `sticky'.
A roller guard covers the front rollers of a laminator, and
is wired to make the machine stop when the guard is removed.
Mandrels are the bars onto which rolls of film are loaded.
They include a tensioning brake which allows accurate adjustment
of back pressure to film, and mandrel adaptors. Mandrel adaptors
allow film with various core sizes to be loaded onto the same
mandrel, by simply exchanging the adapters, available for
58mm (2.25") and 75mm (3") cores.
Pressure Sensitive Films
There are a large variety of pressure sensitive films
on the market, different thicknesses, different grades of
material and different adhesive types, but they mostly work
on the same basic principle. A layer of plastic, frequently
a vinyl, is coated with an adhesive substance, which in turn
is covered with a layer of silicone backed release paper.
When being used, this release paper is stripped from the film,
exposing the adhesive, and is pressed firmly against the item
being laminated by rollers.
It is possible to purchase films with UV protection, anti
graffiti properties, patterns, colours and many other properties.
Backing Paper Rewind
The backing paper rewind strips the silicone backed release
paper from the pressure sensitive film as it enters the machine.
The release paper is then either disposed of or used as an
underlay. Upper and lower rewinds enable the machine to perform
total encapsulation of an item in a single pass on a pressure
The rewind can also be used to wind up items being laminated,
preventing them from falling to the floor during lamination,
and resulting in laminated items being tightly wound onto
a core, ready for trimming.
Silicone rubber is believed by many in the print and lamination
industries to be the best grade of rubber for laminator rollers.
It is considerably more expensive than EPDM due to high material
and machining costs. Silicone rubber is also more susceptible
to damage from solvents such as kerosone, as well as tearing
or splitting. Silicone rollers are an option on most EMSEAL
Thermal laminating film is a thin layer of plastic (normally
polyester) which is coated in a thin layer of heat activated
adhesive. Upon heating, this adhesive becomes extremely sticky,
and will adhere strongly to most items.
Thermal films may not stick to some surfaces, particularly
images created with silicone based inks, waxes or using certain
grades of print medium. For these items, special films or
pressure sensitive films are the best option. Thermal laminating
films are generally much cheaper than pressure sensitive films,
and are almost always used for full encapsulation of an item.
An Underlay is used when laminating single sided items on
a pressure sensitive laminator. It consists of any grade of
material, such as rolls of newsprint or used backing paper
from Pressure sensitive adhesives, and is simply fed through
the machine below the item being laminated to prevent adhesive
from sticking to the rollers.