How to laminate documents using DIY laminating film

Laminating film: what is it?

Lamination film is a thin multi-layer polyester or polyvinyl chloride material that appears slightly cloudy. You don’t need to worry about its cloudiness – when slightly heated, the glue melts, merging with the base (paper or cardboard), becoming completely transparent.

The thickness of the laminating film varies – ranging from 7 to 250 microns. The scope of application of the laminating layer will depend on the thickness of the product:

  • Up to 100 microns. The thinnest film that is used to cover small or rarely used papers: gift calendars, geographic and topographic maps for tourists, business cards. Thin film is used to protect the covers of diaries, notebooks and books, both soft and hardcover.

  • From 100 to 150 microns. For more significant paper protection, a medium-thick laminating film is used – it is suitable for old letters and handwritten books/notes/memoirs, important archival documentation.

  • More than 150 microns. The most durable film is suitable for protecting those things that will have to be used frequently, which means the risk of damaging them is greatest. Thick film covers driver’s licenses, biometrics, work and student passes, and badges.

Films of medium and large thickness are easy to glue at home – laminate with an iron to firmly attach the protective layer to the base. We’ll talk about the lamination process a little later, but now we’ll look at the types of laminating films.

. Why do packages with envelope film often contain more/fewer envelopes than indicated on the package (100 pcs)?

*Film from well-known manufacturers in branded packaging undergoes strict quality and quantity control, so you can be more confident in the exact correspondence of the number of envelopes to the quantity indicated on the packaging.

However, overlays with the number of envelopes in a package with film are POSSIBLE and ACCEPTABLE. Therefore, if you clearly calculate the circulation, you should add 10% of the acceptable defects and take the film with a reserve (in case of shortage).

13. Why is a product laminated on both sides with 100 micron envelope film deformed at the edges?

*Problems of high-quality lamination for users of films above 75 microns are associated with the ratio of layers in the film composition. Figure 1 shows schematically two options for layer distribution. In the first case, rigid PET occupies 50% or more of the total density, i.e. after lamination, it keeps the film from any deformation.

In the second case, PET is less than 50% and therefore there is no guarantee of ideal quality either in terms of the evenness of the product or in terms of the amount of glue remaining on the laminator rolls. The ratio of layers of PET film of a branded film is listed in the Manufacturer’s Quality Certificate and for all densities is characterized by the predominance of PET over the adhesive layer.

It is also necessary to know that in addition to the layer ratio, the correct formation of the envelope from the film plays an important role in the quality of the envelope film. There is a special technology for combining films in an envelope, which is supported only by factory production. Those. An envelope formed manually from a roll of film does not guarantee an even product after lamination, even if the film in the roll was of high quality.

The author of the material is Tatyana Delendik.

Types of lamination films

пленка для ламинации

Lamination film can be matte or glossy. Glossy film has excellent protective properties and gives the image contrast and richness.

This coating enhances the color effect, making the product look more colorful. This feature is often used when the printed object is not bright enough.

The disadvantage is the formation of glare in strong lighting, which makes it difficult to perceive the image at an angle and read small inscriptions. Therefore, before choosing the type of film, you should consider the lighting in which the printed products will be used.

Matte PVC lamination film gives the product a velvety feel, reveals depth, and makes small inscriptions clear for perception. This is achieved by eliminating the possibility of light reflection during a direct hit. You can write on the matte film with a pencil and ballpoint pen and, if necessary, remove the writing with an eraser.

In addition, films have texture and color, which significantly expands the options for its use in printing.

Lamination film is sold both in rolls and in ready-made formats of different sizes, from the smallest to A3.

How to choose the thickness of the lamination film?

Lamirel lamination film comes in thicknesses of 75,100,125 and 175 microns. 1 µm =0.001 mm.

75 micron film provides basic protection against dust, dirt, water and abrasion. The rigidity of the laminated document is minimal. Suitable for laminating documents and photographs.

100 micron film provides improved protection against dust, dirt, water and abrasion. The document receives higher bending rigidity. Suitable for laminating photographs, certificates, instructions, recipes, drawings and other materials for school and kindergarten.

125 micron film provides average protection against dust, dirt, water and abrasion. The document has medium bending rigidity and initial protection from mechanical damage. Suitable for laminating certificates, certificates, badges, passes, indexes, recipes, drawings and other materials for schools and kindergartens and any documents that are in regular use.

175 micron film guarantees high protection against negative environmental factors. The document has great elasticity and bending rigidity, and good protection from mechanical damage. This film is ideal for laminating information materials that are in intensive use, for example, menus in cafes and restaurants.

How to laminate paper correctly?

There are two main types of lamination – cold and hot. The processes differ greatly in technology, but each of them has its own advantages.

1. Hot lamination.

From the name itself it is clear – for successful lamination it is necessary to apply high temperature, which will warm up the adhesive base. The thicker the layer of laminating film, the more it needs to be heated.

It is most convenient to use a home iron, which is found in almost every apartment – however, be extremely careful, because the thinnest films will not withstand strong heat and will melt. The best option is a protective layer with a thickness above 70-80 microns.

What will you need?

  • a surface covered with a cotton cloth (a durable ironing board is best);

  • iron, heated to 70 degrees;

  • laminating film for hot (!) gluing.

The process is simple – put the required document or photograph into the “pocket” of the laminating film, and then, pressing the iron tightly and expelling air bubbles, iron the paper from the closed part of the “pocket”. The main thing is not to overheat the iron, because then the film will wrinkle and bubble.

  • Advantages of hot lamination:

  • less chance of unevenness and “chewing”;

  • process speed;

  • flexible, pleasant paper structure.

2. Cold lamination.

You don’t need any heat here – accuracy and a little time will allow you to create reliable and long-term protection for important papers. Initially, cold lamination film was used only in printing houses: the document was placed in the same “pocket” and then passed through press rollers.

At home you can get the same effect in two ways:

  • Use cold lamination film and a construction roller. The paper is placed in the “pocket” and then you start rolling it with a roller, starting from the base. Be sure to watch during the process so that no bubbles appear, and it is better to carry out the rolling itself on a hard surface. The disadvantage of this method is that it is necessary to use physical force so that the film sticks well.

  • Use self-adhesive film. Lamination will be a little faster, but also requires care. This film is produced not in the form of “pockets”, but in separate sheets, so you will have to separately process each side of the document. An adhesive layer is applied to the inside of the film, covered with a protective film – no special effort is needed, the material is easily fixed.

Both hot and cold do-it-yourself lamination will cost you less than the same service in a salon. Having learned how to simply and quickly protect paper with a film coating, you can do even large amounts of work right at home, without using special equipment such as a laminator.

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What is the lamination temperature for lamirel films?

Lamination temperature depends on film thickness. If Fellowes laminators are used, there is no need for manual temperature control. For convenience, on Fellowes laminators, the temperature ratings correspond to film thicknesses of 75/80, 100, 125 and 175 microns.

The difference in temperature conditions for films 75 and 80 microns is minimal, so you can laminate Lamirel 75 microns film on any laminator with modes 75 or 80. If you use a laminator with manual temperature selection, you can use the following recommendations:

Film thickness (µm)
Temperature °C
75 105-110
100 115-120
125 120-125
175 130-140

The values ​​​​indicated in the table are average values ​​and may differ depending on the thickness of the paper and the features of the laminator. For the most complete information on recommended temperature conditions and lamination speed, see the user manual for your laminator.

Laminator.

A laminator is exactly the device that glues the film and the product intended for lamination. Depending on what genre of product you are going to make, you choose the type of laminator. Below you will see a table in which I have systematized the genres of products, the types of films that can be used for them, and the laminator that will cope with your task.

Genre

Film type

Material

Laminator

CoverPackage (thin one-sided lamination)

1) roll only OPP base

Paper from 110gsm.sq.

Rolled with the possibility of one-sided lamination with a heating temperature of at least 125C

2) rolled OPP and PET base

Paper from 110gsm.sq.

Rolled with the possibility of one-sided lamination with a heating temperature of at least 140C

Informative products (double-sided lamination from 60 microns)

1) roll PET base

Unlimited

Rolled with hot rubber rollers or “shoe” with heating temperature up to 140C-160C.

2) PET envelope base

Unlimited

Rolled with hot rubber rollers with heating temperatures up to 140C-160C; envelope with hot plates or hot rolls.

Plastic business cards (double-sided lamination from 100 microns)

PET envelope base

Teslin type synthetic paper or business card

Envelope with hot rolls

Floor postersdecorated products

Convey or roll PVC base

No restrictions

Roll laminator with hot rubber rollers or envelope laminator with hot rollers.

Solvent-free lamination

Solvent-free technology currently prevails when laminating finished plastic films. With this technology (Fig. 3), one- or two-component adhesive, most often polyurethane, is applied in a slightly heated state. Very sticky glue must be applied evenly, despite the fact that the layer grammage is very small, about 1 g/m2.

The preliminary volume of glue supplied from the container is set using shafts 2 and 3 rotating towards each other. Adjustment of the exact volume of glue is ensured using shafts 3 and 4. Film lamination occurs in a system of three laminating rollers immediately after applying the adhesive.

A significant advantage of solventless lamination is the elimination of the tunnel dryer required for both wet and dry lamination with solvent. This greatly reduces energy consumption during the lamination process.

The mentioned technology is widely used, for example, in the mutual lamination of OPP films, including with the participation of metallized films. The development of solvent-free lamination technology has revitalized interlayer printing, which is distinguished by aesthetic (the print visible through the film layer has a high gloss), functional (printed text does not rub off), and hygienic (there is no threat of direct contact of the packaged product with printing ink) properties.

Fig. 3. Scheme of lamination without solvent Rollers 1 – steel and 2 – rubberized take the glue from container 8, shafts 2 and 3 – steel set the preliminary grammage of the glue layer, shafts 3 and 4 – rubberized set the exact grammage of the glue layer, 5,6,7 – system of three laminating rollers, 9 – adhesive-coated film, 10 – complementary lamination film, 11 – laminate.

Production of multilayer films by coextrusion

Co-extrusion refers to systems for refining packaging materials, which is of particular importance in modern packaging technology. One of the main advantages of producing multilayer films using the coextrusion method is the savings due to the fact that the finished material is obtained directly from plastic granules in a single technological process.

In addition, coextrusion technology provides for waste-free production. Equally, shore trim and other production waste can be used to create a middle layer, including when the film produced is intended for direct contact with food.

The same types of extruders are used in the production of coextruded films as in the production of homogeneous films (of course, with a completely different extruder head solution). The coextrusion process uses at least two, but often more, extruders equipped with a co-head.

Jets of various plastics are combined in dies that form the final part of the head, less often – immediately after exiting the head. Similar to single-layer films, coextruded films are produced using both blown film and flat film extrusion processes. Schemes of both technologies are presented respectively in Fig. 6 and fig. 7.

Fig. 6. Diagram of a line for blown coextrusion 1 – twisting of the finished five-layer coextrusion film, 2 – trimming the edges of the sleeve, 3 – pressure rollers, 4 – guide rollers, 5 – a sleeve with constantly maintained pressure, 6 – rotating blowing head.

Rice. 7. Line diagram for flat film coextrusion

The coextrusion process requires the use of a polymer in a molten state that binds mutually incompatible polymers. As a result, the production line must consist of more extruders to produce a multilayer film than is determined by the number of polymers taken to produce functional layers.

Under coextrusion conditions, strong adhesion is manifested in the case of using polymers that are similar in structure. Therefore, for example, non-polar polyethylene does not bind to a polar polymer used as a barrier layer, such as EVOH or PA. Therefore, to connect these layers it is necessary to use binder layers.

Polyolefin copolymers modified with maleic anhydride are most often used as universal binders. If the layer has a similar structure, then gluing occurs as a result of the diffusion of similar polymers. On the side of barrier layers, such as PA or EVOH, mutual binding results from the reaction of the anhydride group respectively with the –NH group, in the case of polyamide, or with the –OH group, in the case of the EVOH copolymer.

For specific applications, for example for joining PA and PE-LD, polymers such as zinc ionomers, which are characterized by their high ability to form secondary bonds, are also used.

Analysis of the barrier properties of plastic films listed in Table 1 indicates the importance that EVOH copolymer can have in multilayer materials. The value of EVOH copolymer is even more significant when we consider that the previously used VC/VDC copolymer as a gas barrier layer is suspect and is not used in some countries.

The price of the EVOH copolymer is high, but to achieve the required barrier properties, a layer of 5-8 microns is sufficient. This is where the importance of multilayer structures, both flexible and rigid, obtained by coextrusion, which can contain such thin and even thinner layers, comes from.

Compared to PA, which until recently was considered a high-barrier polymer, the barrier of the EVOH copolymer to oxygen is one hundred times higher. However, to achieve such a high barrier ability, it is necessary to prevent moisture from accessing the EVOH copolymer, to which it is unstable and loses its barrier properties.

Co-extrusion is considered a packaging material enhancement system that is of great importance in modern packaging technology. As noted earlier, one of the significant advantages of producing multilayer films by coextrusion is the cost-effectiveness of the process.

From a waste prevention perspective, a significant advantage is the ability to achieve high barrier properties at significantly lower thicknesses compared to multilayer films produced by lamination. Flexible coextrusion films are most often produced in the form of three-, five-, and seven-layer structures.

Figures 8 through 12 show exemplary structures of this kind for barrier coextruded films. The production of coextruded films using EVOH copolymer, which has high barrier properties, as already mentioned, requires double-sided protection from moisture, that is, a multilayer structure, to maintain barrier properties with respect to oxygen.

Considering that the weld layer is usually formed by polyolefins (various grades of polyethylene and polypropylene), which are not directly bonded to the EVOH layer, it is necessary to use layer binders to bond them. As a result, the introduction of EVOH copolymer into this kind of film requires a five-layer structure.

Seven-layer structures allow both PA and PE to be separated into two layers simultaneously. Which, when introducing EVOH copolymer into this film, allows one to obtain more useful functional properties. In recent years, seven-layer structures have appeared in which layers of oriented films are added to a five-layer coextrusion film by lamination, for example:

OPP, PET, BOPP films, usually filled with reverse text, i.e. ultimately located between the layers. In the case of coextruded films involving a layer of EVOH copolymer with a thickness of about 7 microns, when properly protected from moisture penetration, the oxygen permeability is reduced even below 1 cm3/m2 x 24 h x 0.1 MPa (at a relative humidity of 50% and a temperature of 23 ° C) .

An increase in the oxygen barrier of coextruded films with PA layers, without the participation of the EVOH copolymer, is achieved by increasing the PA layer. An oxygen permeability of 10 cm3/m2 x 24 h x 0.1 MPa under the same conditions is achieved only with a PA layer thickness of about 60 µm.

The coextrusion methods used for injection molding and injection blow molding are associated with high investment costs. However, there are reasons why producing even homogeneous materials is ultimately profitable.

Two or more layers of film better protect the seal of the package from accidental point weakening in the form of microcracks, scars and dents. Even if such places exist in all layers of the film, they overlap each other. The co-extrusion method also produces stretch films, in which the core layer of PE-LLD, and now also of metallocene polyethylenes, provides high tensile strength, and the surface layer provides sufficient adhesion, to protect the load unit or to form a wrapper on the product.

Although at first stretch films were considered as an economical addition to the scope of application of shrink films, their use has now become more profitable compared to the use of shrink films, and has also led to very high dynamics of further growth in their consumption.

Co-extrusion also includes multilayer packaging films, both flexible and rigid, which are composites of polyolefins with mineral raw materials based on limestone or dolomite, which the earth is especially rich in. The start of production of these materials under the general name “ecolin” by the Swedish company Ecolean AB was an expression of the desire to reduce the negative impact on the natural environment during the production and use of packaging.

Currently, these materials are produced in a wide range, intended mainly for food packaging. Now the share of minerals in the composition of ecolins, depending on the assortment, ranges from 30 to 60%. It is expected that the share of mineral raw materials will purposefully increase, ultimately reaching 45-56%.

Such a high degree of use of mineral raw materials in the production of ecolins has led to the fact that as a result of their replacement with other types of packaging materials, 30-60% of scarce fossil raw materials, mainly oil, are saved. Comparative studies of the life cycle assessment of packaging made from eco-friendly materials as an alternative to previously used packaging, carried out by the independent company Franklin Associates from the USA, showed that the negative impact on the natural environment of materials and packaging made from eco-friendly materials is 30-70% less.

In flexible films Lean Pouch, used for packaging milk, Lean Peel, designed for easy-opening closures, as well as used for the production of standing bags called Lean Pack, which form a kind of jug after filling, intended for milk, fruit juices, mineral the raw material contains only a middle layer that does not come into contact with food.

Bohdan CZERNIAWSKI, Joachim STASEK

Structure of lamination film

ламинация

Lamination film is multi-layered and has a complex chemical composition. Its inner side is adhesive with adhesive properties. It is hot-melting, i.e. under the influence of high temperature it becomes soft and can stick to the surface of the printed product without affecting the image in any way. The softened film material firmly fuses with the texture of the paper, which ensures reliable bonding.

The outer side of the lamination film is made of durable polymers, which gives it rigidity. Therefore, it has a certain resistance to external damage, such as scratches. You can draw or print on it, make marks with a marker, which are then removed by washing off.

Between the outer and inner sides of the film there is a middle layer of polyethylene or propylene, making the surface of the material smooth and acting as a connecting link.

Manufacturers provide all the necessary recommendations on the correct selection of lamination film, based on the characteristics of the equipment used for the lamination process.

The method of further processing of the laminated product is also taken into account. If it is subjected to folding or creasing, then a more elastic film will be required, and if, for example, a pass is being made, then a stiffer film should be taken to obtain the effect of a plastic card. Typically films with a thickness of 32-250 microns are used.