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Author Topic: Which brand of laminating film do you use?  (Read 10274 times)
MSalivar
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« on: October 24, 2007, 12:19:33 AM »
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I know this stretches the purpose of this forum, but it seems like a good place to ask.

We own a 45" Titan 110 from GBC, it's a hot/cold laminator with mounting ability and uses 3" core.  We need low melt thermal film, primarily, from 3 to 10 mil as well as mounting adhesives and pressure sensitives.

Who are you using?  Who have you used?  Why and why not anymore?

I came away from Graph Expo very impressed with D&K, but buying direct I think I'll have issues with minimum orders.  Professional Imaging has that issue covered, and D&K in general has a very complete product line, especially in mounting adhesives.  For a little more we could move towards Sentinel from Charrette, who's been courting us for awhile now.  I have no idea what to expect from Sentinel, though.  Then at Print Finish USA I'm seeing Digikote and Durafilm for very low costs compared to D&K, but again, I have no idea what to expect.  We'll probably just end up experimenting over the course of our next several purchases, but I'm hoping to narrow/expand the field before we start.  What do you think?

To give an idea of our price range, D&K sits in the middle at $141 for a 500' 43" gloss 3 mil.  For a 200' 43" gloss 10 mil they're sitting at $217.  We'd rather not go into Neschen and Magic territory, it's just too pricey to stay competitive in our non-fine-art markets.
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Doyle Yoder
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2007, 06:03:30 AM »
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Have you checked https://www.kapco.com ? Price wise their as good as anybody.

Doyle
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SeanPuckett
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2007, 07:40:06 AM »
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I'm always happy with DryTac (drytac.com) products and pricing.  One thing I really appreciate about them is how they're very specific with suggested uses and descriptions of what the films are made of.  This makes choosing products a breeze.  Nevertheless, any time I've had questions, they've been more than forthcoming with recommendations and suggestions.  (The Toronto office is where I do my business, they are extremely helpful.)

My laminator is currently serving an inexpensive but well made 3mil polyester gloss "MHL" on the bottom (~eight cents a square foot) and very nice ArtShield 3mil vinyl lustre on top (~30c/sf) for my small prints.  The machine is set to run at 90c at 1-3fpm depending on media thickness.  Both films have significant UV protection.  Note these are Canadian prices.

I am laminating high ink coverage z3100 prints on photo paper with no bubbling, and the lustre texture on the finished product is fantastic.  Adhesion is outstanding; you can't peel either side off without destroying the print.  The lamination also covers up minor gloss differential issues.  The result is a print that is impervious to handling while also being very satisfying visually.  (Can you tell that I'm happy?)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 07:45:29 AM by SeanPuckett » Logged

barry685
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2007, 08:24:36 AM »
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I'm always happy with DryTac (drytac.com) products and pricing.  One thing I really appreciate about them is how they're very specific with suggested uses and descriptions of what the films are made of.  This makes choosing products a breeze.  Nevertheless, any time I've had questions, they've been more than forthcoming with recommendations and suggestions.  (The Toronto office is where I do my business, they are extremely helpful.)

My laminator is currently serving an inexpensive but well made 3mil polyester gloss "MHL" on the bottom (~eight cents a square foot) and very nice ArtShield 3mil vinyl lustre on top (~30c/sf) for my small prints.  The machine is set to run at 90c at 1-3fpm depending on media thickness.  Both films have significant UV protection.  Note these are Canadian prices.

I am laminating high ink coverage z3100 prints on photo paper with no bubbling, and the lustre texture on the finished product is fantastic.  Adhesion is outstanding; you can't peel either side off without destroying the print.  The lamination also covers up minor gloss differential issues.  The result is a print that is impervious to handling while also being very satisfying visually.  (Can you tell that I'm happy?)
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Sean

Which laminator are you using?
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SeanPuckett
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2007, 08:35:46 AM »
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Barry,

I purchased a 13" six roller unit similar to this one http://www.probinding.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=40 from a Canadian eBay vendor that imports them from China.  Since I'm new to hot lamination I didn't want to invest a lot of money in a wide format system without having something small but versatile to experiment with.  As alluded to above, the results exceeded my expectations.  As business allows, I'll upgrade to a wide format machine.  I don't think it'll be too long -- I can see the look in my customers' eyes.  Still -- having a small machine for short runs of small prints makes good sense anyway.  I think I'll keep it.  

N.B. I am indeed cutting the laminate off the wide format rolls and wrangling it by hand.  It's still almost no effort to get a decent lamination result compared to the constant worry and precision required with hard platen dry-mounting.  

-s
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 08:37:35 AM by SeanPuckett » Logged

Gary Damaskos
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2007, 06:15:41 PM »
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I am laminating high ink coverage z3100 prints on photo paper with no bubbling, and the lustre texture on the finished product is fantastic.  Adhesion is outstanding; you can't peel either side off without destroying the print.  The lamination also covers up minor gloss differential issues.  The result is a print that is impervious to handling while also being very satisfying visually.  (Can you tell that I'm happy?)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148335\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Hi Sean -  I have a hot laminator. I have attempted lam on gloss papers and generally not had consistent results. I think that includes some HP papers, but mostly Epson. Is the HP paper you use gloss? Have you tried other gloss papers and been consistently successful? Thanks for sharing -
Gary
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MSalivar
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2007, 09:08:19 PM »
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Hi Sean -  I have a hot laminator. I have attempted lam on gloss papers and generally not had consistent results. I think that includes some HP papers, but mostly Epson. Is the HP paper you use gloss? Have you tried other gloss papers and been consistently successful? Thanks for sharing -
Gary
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148491\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I know D&K offers a low melt film designed for glossy inkjet prints and other hard to stick surfaces.  They call it 'superstick' technology, and it's on page 4 of the PDF pricelist from Professional Image I attached to this post.  Hot melt laminates are also much better in this regard, supposedly.  I haven't gotten a chance to use hot melt yet.

More traditionally, pressure sensitive films excel in this situation.  If you're doing any mounting you're better off with pressure sensitive anyway, since you can save both time and money.  Money because you only need to laminate one side, time because you can web your laminator to mount and apply the PSA film at the same time.

Thanks for the tips, by the way.  I'll add Drytac and Kapco to my spreadsheet tonight.

Oh, is anyone using backing films?  It looks like we could save some cost, using that and a 3 mil, over straight 10 mil film.  If you know, I'm curious if practice is as good as theory.
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SeanPuckett
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2007, 09:14:09 AM »
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Gary,

Had some setbacks yesterday with the photo paper using the above described combination.  I'd done my inital runs with prints that have been around for awhile.  Feedback was excellent.  However, prints made and laminated same day under the ArtShield (vinyl/acrylic heatset) look pretty bad -- vapour marks even at relatively low temperatures.  Surely a result of incomplete outgassing from the z3100 inkset.

Interestingly, they look fine under the MHL Gloss, which is a different technology (polyester/polyethylene).  I'm going to pursue alternative finishes on the MHL to get the same semi-gloss look as the other product so I can do production runs with this setup.  The gloss face is very nice, as far as gloss goes, but since I hate gloss and glazing it's not something I'll use.

Since I'm more of a print-to-order shop and don't want stuff hanging around more than necessary, I will probably reserve the ArtShield for canvas and art paper lamination.  Due to its thin vinyl formulation, ArtShield conforms very tightly to the weave.  (I have a small review underway of this process which I will share when complete and well tested.)

Coming from woodworking where it's important to finish both sides of a piece even if you don't see both sides so the wood is evenly protected, I think it's pretty important to laminate both sides of a print to protect from humidity and warping.  

I'm using Red River UltraPro Satin as the photo paper.  

-- I guess I shouldn't be so vocal when things work well in research mode; if the same methods fall down in production mode, I wind up looking like an idiot.  
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Jon Abbott
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2007, 05:40:57 AM »
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I know this stretches the purpose of this forum, but it seems like a good place to ask.

We own a 45" Titan 110 from GBC, it's a hot/cold laminator with mounting ability and uses 3" core.  We need low melt thermal film, primarily, from 3 to 10 mil as well as mounting adhesives and pressure sensitives.

Who are you using?  Who have you used?  Why and why not anymore?

I came away from Graph Expo very impressed with D&K, but buying direct I think I'll have issues with minimum orders.  Professional Imaging has that issue covered, and D&K in general has a very complete product line, especially in mounting adhesives.  For a little more we could move towards Sentinel from Charrette, who's been courting us for awhile now.  I have no idea what to expect from Sentinel, though.  Then at Print Finish USA I'm seeing Digikote and Durafilm for very low costs compared to D&K, but again, I have no idea what to expect.  We'll probably just end up experimenting over the course of our next several purchases, but I'm hoping to narrow/expand the field before we start.  What do you think?

To give an idea of our price range, D&K sits in the middle at $141 for a 500' 43" gloss 3 mil.  For a 200' 43" gloss 10 mil they're sitting at $217.  We'd rather not go into Neschen and Magic territory, it's just too pricey to stay competitive in our non-fine-art markets.
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Digikote is not so swell, but we got some cheap and use it on the backside. But if you are interested in sign type quality, rather than fine art, it is ok, although the low temp is not as low as some of the better quality. I like Mactac for mounting. IP2100 is cheap for matte paper type prints. IP5000 is great for glossy photo papers- no eggshelling or orangepeel, and it just seems to look great with gloss overlaminates. Seal has a full price range of various quality levels (you get what you pay for)- a great overlam 3 mil satin and matte that used to be branded as Kodak. It has a backing sheet and is almost PSA it is so low temp. It just looks way more invisable and contrasty than polyester satins (yech). We had twenty displays mounted on Sentra outside in the sun and rain for 3 years and it held up great. I've only used two rolls of Charrette's Sentinel PSA, and was suprised by the high quality- but it was very expensive. Seal and Charrette both had regular sales.
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MSalivar
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2007, 07:56:31 PM »
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Thanks, I'll definitely get rid of Digikote from my list.  I'd love to give Seal a try, and I'll see what we can find in their lower end lines.  I wish the boss wasn't so cheap, but you know how it can be.

What's the benefit of having a backing paper?  A D&K rep was pointing out how they don't need backing papers for some of their PSA films, which obviously has the benefit of price, simplicity of webbing, and environmental impact.  But why have a backing paper on a thermal film?  To help regulate moisture and protect the film from scratching?

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Digikote is not so swell, but we got some cheap and use it on the backside. But if you are interested in sign type quality, rather than fine art, it is ok, although the low temp is not as low as some of the better quality. I like Mactac for mounting. IP2100 is cheap for matte paper type prints. IP5000 is great for glossy photo papers- no eggshelling or orangepeel, and it just seems to look great with gloss overlaminates. Seal has a full price range of various quality levels (you get what you pay for)- a great overlam 3 mil satin and matte that used to be branded as Kodak. It has a backing sheet and is almost PSA it is so low temp. It just looks way more invisable and contrasty than polyester satins (yech). We had twenty displays mounted on Sentra outside in the sun and rain for 3 years and it held up great. I've only used two rolls of Charrette's Sentinel PSA, and was suprised by the high quality- but it was very expensive. Seal and Charrette both had regular sales.
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tkarlmann
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2007, 09:15:49 PM »
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My laminator is currently serving an inexpensive but well made 3mil polyester gloss "MHL" on the bottom (~eight cents a square foot) and very nice ArtShield 3mil vinyl lustre on top (~30c/sf) for my small prints.  The machine is set to run at 90c at 1-3fpm depending on media thickness.  Both films have significant UV protection.  Note these are Canadian prices.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148335\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

SeanPuckett:

What are you using as a laminator for the films you mentioned?
What would you recommend?

Other folks:  what do you use?
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tkarlmann
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2007, 09:21:47 PM »
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Barry,

I purchased a 13" six roller unit similar to this one http://www.probinding.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=40 from a Canadian eBay vendor that imports them from China.  Since I'm new to hot lamination I didn't want to invest a lot of money in a wide format system without having something small but versatile to experiment with.  As alluded to above, the results exceeded my expectations.

N.B. I am indeed cutting the laminate off the wide format rolls and wrangling it by hand.  It's still almost no effort to get a decent lamination result compared to the constant worry and precision required with hard platen dry-mounting. 

-s
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148347\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sean:  I am still confused.  The laminator you mention in the link is a pouch laminator, yet you mention putting one film on the back & a different film on the front.  How is this done if the lam is a poucher?
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SeanPuckett
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2007, 07:39:36 AM »
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I make my own "pouches" with the films as described.
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MSalivar
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2007, 02:41:27 PM »
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We're using a GBC Titan 110, which is a 43" heated roller model.  It works well enough, but all the safety functions tend to drive us crazy.  If you don't have the feed tray set properly, for example, the thing won't feed.  That means you have to have the feed tray installed to clean the bottom roller, since you can't turn that one freely by hand, and having the feed tray installed means you have to get down on your ass and work looking back up into the machine.  Also, the sensor doesn't work smoothly, which means a lot of reseating of the feed tray in order to get the thing to feed at all.  Then, to get the thing to just feed without the foot peddle requires a plexi shield be in place.  The middle of the machine between the two sets of rollers is also very cluttered, making it difficult to clear out jams.

When it comes time to replace it I'm thinking seriously about a D&K Exp 42 Plus.  I saw the Exp 62 Plus at Graph Expo and was very impressed.  It doesn't have any of those nasty safety precautions, but unfortunately doesn't have the emergency stops, either.  It's a little less cluttered in the middle, which is nice.  And finally, the rollers are heated directly, rather than having a glass rod in the middle which then heats the roller through the air.  That results in the heating happening mostly at the top of the roller, and dissipating unevenly before it gets to the bottom where the film is applied.  Overall, I was extremely impressed with the functional simplicity, the only real letdown was the lack of crowned rollers (which keeps pressure between the two rollers more even across the width).

The D&K Exp 44 Twin looks interesting, too, but I haven't seen it function yet.  The big selling point (besides being low melt), is having a second path for mounting.  In other words, you can mount without re-webbing your film, or you can set it up to coat your material in the top path and then mount in the bottom.


We just bought some D&K film from Pro-Image by the way, I'll let you know how it goes once our GBC runs out.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2007, 02:44:06 PM by MSalivar » Logged
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