Roll Laminating

Roll Laminating
Roll Laminators are typically designed for higher volume runs and large formats up to 60" wide and 1" thick. For two sided laminate, two rolls of laminating film are used. And for one sided laminate, one roll is used. There is a wide variety of lamination film available on the market today, however the most frequently used is thermal film. Thermal film is constructed of two layers; a polyester layer and an adhesive layer. During the laminating process, the adhesive is warmed and melted. It is then pressed into the document acting as a bonding agent. As the adhesive cools, it hardens and creates a permanent seal between the document and the film.

Roll lamination is a process that involves two laminating rolls, a top and a bottom roll, and is placed on the machine with the glue sides facing each other. As the rolls are "uncoiled" a document is placed between the two pieces of laminate and are sealed as they travel through the rollers and the heat is applied. It is important to leave a small edge around the document to allow the lamination to adhere to itself. Some form of trimming is usually required with roll lamination. This lamination process is generally used for larger volume items as it can run at higher speeds and in a continuous roll.

Roll laminators operate by pulling film with a thermally-activated adhesive over a heat source and into a set of laminating rollers. Film from a roll passes over heat shoes to activate a polyethylene adhesive layer on the film. It then passes through rubber rollers to apply pressure and bond the film with the item being laminated. The film will actually fuse into the item.

  • Allows for high production rates
  • Protective
  • Durable
  • Can be wiped clean
  • Wide variety of sizes and mils


  • Machines require set-up and training.

Basic Laminating Steps:
  • Heat laminator to suggested temperature.
  • Install desired laminating roll film to mandrels.
  • Insert the print between the two rolls.
  • During the laminating process, the adhesive melts and bonds to the document. As the adhesive cools, it hardens, creating a permanent seal between the paper and the film.
  • Trim edges as desired.

  • Air Bubbles: Laminator is running too hot. Lower temperature and try again.
  • Milky Spots: Laminator is running too cold. Increase temperature and try again.

Selecting A Roll Laminator:

With the huge variety of roll laminators on the market, how can you choose the right one for your specific needs? Before you choose a laminating machine, it is important to consider several factors. Our experienced sales specialists have put together the most important questions to ask yourself before choosing a roll laminating machine. Review these below questions to help determine what you need. Once done, feel free to browse our selection of Roll Laminators or contact us at (866)537-2244 for details on specific models to meet those needs.

    1) What is your application? Different applications will call for different laminating machine solutions. Think about what you need your laminator to do... will you be laminating posters, graphics and signs? Will you be mounting prints to foam boards? Will you be creating pop-up displays? Will you be applying vinyls, tapes or adhesive films? Will the applications be used outdoors, such as outdoor signage and displays? You may need to do just one application, however some systems offer money saving multi-functional capabilities. Once you have determined what you want to achieve with your laminating machine, then we can start discussing the best machine to help you achieve those goals.

    2) What is the largest size sheet you will be laminating? Roll Laminators range in size from 12" to 27" wide. Before investing in a roll laminating machine, be sure to consider not only your immediate width needs, but also any possible future needs. You will want to get a machine that has at least an inch or more extra space on each side to ensure proper encapsulation. It is always better to have a machine that can handle larger documents to ensure you are covered.

    3) Do you need heat? Some roll laminators have the capability to do both heated lamination and cold lamination (also known as pressure sensitive laminating). Cold Laminating is required when the paper or ink is too sensitive to withstand the heat that thermal laminators apply. Learn more about Cold Laminators here.

    4) What is your volume? Speed is an important fact when choosing a roll laminator. For example, if you are laminating high-volumes of documents at a time, then you want a machine that can laminate at high speeds, and be heavy-duty enough to power-through these large jobs. When laminating at high-output, saving seconds per print can make a significant difference and help keep costs down. On the other hand, if you are a school laminting in small intervals, then speed might not be an issue so you can invest in a slower (usually less expensive) laminator.

    5) How much space do you have to work with? Roll Laminators are usually able to sit on desk-tops or stands, so it is important to determine the space you need to work with ahead of time, and compare it to the dimensions of the machine you are considering. You should also keep in mind that you will be inserting the print on one side and it will come out of another side, so additional space on both sides is required.

Ready to buy a Roll Laminating Machine? Click here to shop our selection of Roll Laminators.

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