August '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 A U G U S T G R A P H I C S P R O 5 7 the one-off projects that can easily be com- pleted on an application table. Worktables don't have to be high tech. Many shops build their own. When doing that, make sure the table is 38" high so that it works seamlessly with the laminator. BEST PRACTICES FOR FINISHING A LAMINATED PIECE To get the best lamination possible, it is im- portant to choose the correct print media and laminating film for the job. "A lot of people make mistakes by not using the cor- rect print media to get longevity out of their graphic. Pick carefully," advises Pryor. Car wraps, for instance, require a cast lami- nate and a cast print media that is going to last seven years outdoors under extreme con- ditions. For outdoor signage, cast laminate isn't necessary, just a polymeric laminate and polymeric print media that can last up to five years outdoors. Monomeric films will last up to two years outside. This is less expensive than the other options but perfect for tempo- rary outdoor projects. If the project is going to be used indoors, you can use whatever laminate you want because it won't be sub- jected to the elements like an outdoor sign or car wrap, according to sources. Make sure your laminator is in a clean en- vironment. Dust and dirt can get on your print and ruin your job, so make sure your work area around the laminator is clean and dust free and make sure the laminator's roll- ers are clean. Decide early on how you are going to run a job. Is it a single sheet that requires a certain setup or are you doing a longer piece that would work better with a roll-to-roll ma- chine? Anything over 8' should be done on a roll-to-roll. If using a roll-to-roll laminator, make sure it is loaded correctly with film and print media so that when it runs through the machine, it moves through without shifting left or right. Buying a laminator with smart technol- ogy helps with that. It raises and lowers the rollers depending on how much pressure the project needs. When companies first purchase a lamina- tor, they may waste a lot of film just learning how to operate it, so training is crucial. "We tell you how to do every process correctly so you don't waste consumables, which can be very expensive," says Pryor. There are laminators in all price ranges. The least expensive are ones in which the operator must do everything themselves manually. As the laminators get more fea- tures, the operator has to do less to get the required results. "Finishing is where you add value to the prints, and our solution to do this is with minimum waste of media," says Bouchard. "We do this to improve profit. There is a lot of waste involved in this part of the process. If you don't do it right, you have to start again from the beginning." Romanello agrees. "The finishing area is where most of the run time errors occur … so by making the process easier, we drastically cut back on unit errors." Because the newer laminators run so seamlessly, some shops might decide to bump up the heat and run the laminator at full speed, around 21' per minute for a 150' roll of laminate. That can overload the motor and cause an error stop. He recommends running the machine a little slower for best results. GP PAULA AVEN GLADYCH is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. She can be reached at pgladych@ To get the best lamination possible, it is important to choose the correct print media and laminating film for the job. (Image courtesy Kala Finishing Systems)

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